Tesla Has Sold 32-Times More ZEV Credits Than Next Biggest Seller

A report Wednesday by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) shows Tesla Motors sold 32-times more “green car credits” than the next-highest seller between Oct 31, 2012 and Sept 30, 2013.

Specifically, Tesla sold 1,311.52 Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) credits during this 12-month period, and for the period of this year through June, ZEV credit sales accounted for 12 percent of Tesla’s reported revenues, or $119 million.

At this stage, automakers are as likely to need to buy ZEV credits to stay in compliance with CARB rules – and currently they all do comply – and the market for sellers has been uniquely enjoyed as a leg up for the yet-fledgeling Tesla.

Because Tesla is now so small, it is not required to stockpile any of the ZEV credits its Model S earns – up to seven per car.

Next on the list was Suzuki – which is not even selling cars, having left the car business in the U.S. last year, but it’s still reporting a profit thanks to CARB’s rules intended to be a carrot and stick toward 1.5 million ZEVs on the road by 2025.

Tesla has said its reliance on ZEV credits will decline, and intends to sell 21,000 Model S sedans globally this year, but refused to comment on this week’s news.

Another credit seller of note – for PZEV credits – includes Toyota which transferred 507.5 by its Prius full hybrids, and General Motors was reported as having purchased the same amount – though it would be only a guess that GM needed more credits to stay in compliance, and cut a deal with Toyota, as the CARB list did not say who supplied whom.

Prices for the PZEV and ZEV credits are held in confidence and at the end of the day, money that changes hand is a negotiated sum between buyer and seller – a pure free market taking place under the eyes of legislators that effectively created it – is there any irony in that?

Others listed as purchasing ZEV credits for the period Oct. 1-Sept. 30 are Honda, Chrysler, Jaguar Land Rover, Subaru, and Volkswagen.

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