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Tesla Still the Big Winner in California ZEV Credit Sales

As far as the auto industry is concerned, by far the most important state agency in the world is the California Air Resources Board. There’s no way of getting away from its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandates, which dictate an increasing number of battery EVs, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen cars on state roads.

Automakers get credits for selling green cars, and they can sell those credits to the competition. For years, it’s been a major revenue source for Tesla Motors, and still is. A recently released list of ZEV credit transfers between October 2012 and September 2013 shows Tesla the clear winner with 1,311 sold. No one else is even close.
7 Credits for the Model S

Dave Clegern, a spokesman for CARB, said that the 85-kilowatt-hour Model S gets a whopping seven credits, the highest number possible, in part because of its ability to refuel quickly. “We expect the fast-charge credit to go away in the next year or two as that technology gets common enough that it won’t need a special benefit,” he said. Even after selling the most ZEV credits, Tesla still has 276 in reserve.

The 60-kilowatt-hour version of the Model S gets only five credits, but that’s great compared to nearly all the other battery cars—the Nissan LEAF, the Chevy Spark EV, the Fiat 500e, the Honda Fit EV, Smart Electric Drive and Toyota RAV4—which get only three. The Mitsubishi I-MiEV is a 2.5-credit car, and the Scion iQ nets just two. The only other seven-credit vehicle is the Honda Clarity FCX fuel-cell vehicle.


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