Tesla Motors has apparently gained $295 million in green subsidy emission credits over the past three years for a battery-swapping technology that has not been made available to customers, reports a Watchdog Investigation. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) started with ZEV credits in 1996 to promote electric cars among automakers.
Tesla earning big from credits
It is estimated that the EV firm might have earned almost a half a billion dollars from the 11 states that offer a Zero Emission Vehicle “barter” to attain its aim of green auto industry, says a report from Watch Dog. The report says California gave Tesla credits amounting to $173 million. Tesla reportedly received the credits between 2012 and mid-2014, partially to promote its new battery-swap technology. However, the program does not require Tesla to provide evidence of it actually providing the service.
According to Dave Clegern, a spokesman for CARB, “What they were getting (the credits) for was the demonstration that they had a workable technology. And they do.” The demonstration that Clegern is talking about was in 2012, which was the same year the Model S made its debut.
For selling each Tesla car, the EV manufacturer gets four ZEV credits plus an additional three credits as a part of a rapid refueling program. And according to Watchdog, each credit is worth around $4,000.
Technology still not available
When Watchdog inquired, it got the following response from Tesla headquarters: “We are just introducing the technology,” a receptionist stated. “There is no battery-swap station available.”
When Watchdog inquired about the Harris Ranch station, the receptionist replied, “It’s not open to the public.” In 2014, Tesla set up its first battery-swap station, the Harris Ranch station, in Coalinga, Calif. But later it was found that the battery-swap station is not operative, according to Watchdog.
Last month, the EV firm sent invitations to Tesla owners for the battery swap technology. After contacting the number at the bottom of the invitation, Watchdog found that though the station is working, drivers are required to make an appointment 48 hours in advance.
Doubting Tesla’s progress, CARB initiated a re-evaluation of the program. Last summer, the agency decided to seize the extra three credits after finding out that Tesla is not providing the technology to its customers.