Tesla leads California green-car credit sales image

The local electric-automaker, headed by Elon Musk, was the top seller of California zero-emission vehicle credits in the past year, while Toyota spearheaded hybrid-car credit trades, according to a state tally.

Tesla moved away 1,311.52 ZEV credits from Oct. 1, 2012, through Sept. 30 of this year, 32 times more than Suzuki, the next biggest seller, according to a California Air Resources Board report released yesterday. Toyota meanwhile transferred 507.5 AT PZEV credits, thanks to its Prius hybrid, while General Motors bought the same number, the report said.

Prices and specific sales between the companies aren’t watched by California, said Dave Clegern, a spokesman for the Sacramento-based agency. All automakers included in the program were “in compliance and that to us is the goal,” he said.

California, with state authority to put its own pollution rules, has made them more stringent than U.S. standards, which compels automakers to sell electric or other non-polluting vehicles in the same proportion to their market share in the state. The state’s goal is to put 1.5 million zero-emission cars on the state’s roads by 2025.

Each Tesla Model S, priced from $70,000 to more than $100,000, makes as much as seven ZEV credits, the maximum allowed by California’s rules. That’s because of its driving range of as much as 300 miles (483 kilometers) per charge and the ability to be rapidly refueled by swapping its battery pack with a charged one.

Via Bloomberg