Texas EV Rebate Law Slaps Tesla Again, Musk Courts India


The Texas legislature wrapped up its latest session by passing a law renewing a $2,500 rebate for Texans who purchase a qualifying low- or zero-emissions car. The program began in 2013 as part of the state’s Emissions Reduction Program and applied to electric cars, fuel cell cars, and cars powered by compressed natural gas.

tesla store texas

The rebate was done away with by the legislature in 2015, but now it is back. There’s just one kicker — the program is administered by franchise car dealers in the Lone Star State. Since Texas law prohibits Tesla from selling cars directly to customers within the state, the rebate will not apply to Tesla.

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, tells Green Car Reports the 2017 legislative session was “a pretty lousy session for the environment. The Legislature further weakened local and citizen rights to fight pollution, a win for the big polluters who fund their campaigns, but a clear loss for public health and the environment.”

Tesla Cozying Up To India

It is common knowledge that Tesla is looking to build more factories and some of them will be built in foreign countries. Elon Musk has said recently his company will be building up to 6 million cars a year soon. The Fremont factory is very near maximum capacity now, with little room for expansion.

India is projected to be the third largest automobile market soon and its government has announced it plans to restrict new car sales to only electric cars by 2030. Since Tesla manufactures only electric cars, the allure of building and selling cars in India is obvious.

But before investing in a new factory, Musk would like to test the waters in India first to see if his products appeal to Indian consumers. And he would like a little help from the government to do that.

“They want to start selling the vehicles to understand the market in India,” Abdul Majeed, partner and national auto practice leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, tells Quartz. “From a niche play, they want to get into the mass market.”

And why would India relax its import tariffs for one company and not others? Because Tesla’s corporate philosophy aligns perfectly with the goals of the national government and a Tesla factory would add plenty of new jobs for the citizens of the country.

If Elon feels comfortable tweeting that discussions with the government are in progress, it can be assumed they are going well. When it comes to prognosticating about where a future Tesla factory will be built, it is probably safe to put India in the “Highly Likely” category.

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I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • Bee in my Bono Bonnet

    Awesome! That’s wonderful news!

  • RMartens

    This is the third article I have seen with this info but no where can I find comfirmation on any Texas gov site. Where are you getting this information that this program is coming back?

    • dogphlap dogphlap

      Electrek has the same story but also no attributed source.

    • Steve Hanley

      After looking at several articles about this, I went with Green Car Reports as my source. It’s editor, John Voelker, is pretty reliable when it comes to green car news and he was the only one who included a quote from a source within Texas who seems to follow what its legislature is up to. See link in the body of this story.

      • RMartens

        Thanks for the clarification, GCR shows 2018-2019 so that may explain why I can’t find any mention of the program being renewed yet. Though it may be a blow to Tesla owners (myself) it is still great news, plenty of new EVs coming in that time frame.

  • dogphlap dogphlap

    Spacex has a rocket-development facility in McGregor, Texas; and offices in Houston, Texas plus a Space Port is being developed in Boca Chica Village near Brownsville, Texas. You may think that those sites employ a number of texans and generate a fair amount of tax revenue for the state. A lesser man than Mr Musk might reconsider how much more he would like to invest in that state. Even if the story of the incentive turns out to be false (I have no idea either way) there is no disputing the fact that again Tesla has been refused the right to sell its vehicle in Texas short of selling through a dealership.

  • MB

    So is the Texas $2500 rebate applicable to Chevy Volt or Toyota Prius Prime? Is any other details available on it?