Note: As of 12/22/22, Tesla upped the offer to $7,500 instant discount plus 10,000 miles of free Supercharging for all buyers who take delivery of a Model 3 or Model Y in December, 2022. This offer is only good for the last 10 days of 2022.
With a new year looming, and promises of the new more inclusive EV tax credit right around the corner, EV makers may be worried about finishing the year strong with December deliveries in the United States. Many potential customers with pending EV orders may opt to delay delivery (or at least try to do so) until the new year when their purchase will qualify for the new expanded EV tax credit. This applies only to EVs made by Tesla, GM and Toyota as these are the only three manufacturers that have reached the 200,000 EV U.S. delivery cap, which is part of the current version of the tax credit.
According to a report in Electrek, Tesla may be offering a sweet incentive to customers to take delivery of a Model 3 or Model Y before the end of the year: a $3,750 “price adjustment.” $3,750 is half the value of the upcoming tax credit.* Tesla has never been a company to offer discounts, but with the new tax credit just weeks away, such a move may be necessary in order to maintain strong deliveries to close out the year. As they say, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” Tesla sales staff has reportedly been notified about the offer, which only applies to deliveries taken in December 2022. The price adjustment does not apply to Model S and Model X, as these vehicles are not expected to qualify for the new tax credit due to their higher prices.
To me this makes perfect sense, as no one wants to feel like they could have gotten a much better deal simply by putting off a purchase by a few weeks. In this case, buyers won’t have to wait to enjoy their new Tesla and they can still feel like they are getting a deal. In some cases, a $3,750 discount actually works out to be better than the new tax credit. The new credit can be up to $7,500* but it only applies to buyers within a specific income bracket ($150,000 or less for single earners, $300,000 or less for married couples). Buyers outside that income limit would be better off buying now with the instant discount than waiting for a tax credit for which they’ll never be eligible. Also, to get the full $7,500 tax credit, the buyer has to have at least $7,500 in tax liability, so those with lower reported incomes may not qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit. The price adjustment also comes immediately, at purchase time, whereas a tax credit comes in the year after the purchase is made, when the buyers files his or her tax return (at least this is true for 2023).
Tesla benefitted from the current version of the tax credit until December 31, 2019. The company actually hit the 200,000 US delivery cap in June of 2018, but the current version of the tax credit had a 12 month phase-out period which offered a reduced credit for a limited amount of time after the cap was reached. Tesla vehicles qualified for the full EV tax credit until December 31, 2018, and the credit reduced each six months after that date until it was eliminated at the end of 2019. The new version of the credit removes the previous delivery cap and is scheduled to be in effect for ten years until the end of 2032. This should provide potential EV buyers in the United States with a strong incentive to purchase an EV.
The new law does require vehicle assembly in North America as well as a certain percentage of minerals and battery components mined, refined and processed in the US or a country that has a free trade agreement with the US. Tesla Model 3 priced below $55,000 and Model Y priced below $80,000 are expected to qualify for a tax credit of at least $3,750 next year, possibly $7,500. Details should become clear later this month.
Many critics predicted that demand for Tesla cars would soften after the current tax incentive expired for them but the company has managed to maintain strong sales growth since then. The new tax credit will put Tesla back on a level playing field with other EV makers in the United States and should help the company maintain that sales growth moving forward.
*Tax credit for Model 3 and Model Y in 2023 may be $3,750 or $7,500, depending on how the battery and mineral components clauses in the new tax credit bill are defined and satisfied. More to come on that…
Related story: One More Time: EVs and the Federal Tax Credit
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