Want a Tax Credit for Buying an Electric Vehicle? Move Fast

For many Americans, New Year’s Day means a new set of resolutions, a slight headache, and a refreshing tabula rasa. At Tesla, the electric vehicle maker, January 1, 2020 will mark something else: the official end of its vehicles’ eligibility for federal tax credits. For the first time since 2009, new Tesla buyers won’t receive a little extra incentive from the American government to buy the company’s electric cars…

What’s more, losing access to the federal tax credit may also imperil automakers’ ability to meet state “zero emissions vehicle” targets. That program requires anyone selling cars in California and 14 other states to sell a specified number of electric vehicles, or to purchase “ZEV credits” from another manufacturer, like Tesla, that has hit its electric target. The state program “is a big driver of electric vehicle sales,” says Jeremy Michalek, a professor of engineering who studies EV policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Without the credit boost, hitting electric vehicle targets might get harder.