Want $42K Off A New Tesla Roadster? Call Your Colorado Cousin

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2009 Tesla Roadster

2009 Tesla Roadster

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[REVISED UPDATE, October 23: For awhile, it seemed too good to be true. The full text of Colorado House bill 09-1331, "An Act Concerning Incentives For Efficient Motor Vehicles," turns out to include a cap of $6,000 on the tax credit available for any low-emission car.

The all-important phrase, "not to exceed six thousand dollars," can be found on page 7 of the 26-page act. The cap can also be found in a chart from the Colorado Governor's office within an explanatory page on Motor Vehicle Incentives.

It applies, however, to the 2010 and 2011 tax years--not to the current year. Which means that Colorado Tesla buyers remain eligible for a credit up to $42,000 if they complete their purchase by December 31. And that has caused some upset in Colorado this week.

Our thanks to Gary Gastelu of Fox News, Jay Friedland of Plug In America, and our reader "Ed" for their research assistance. As they say: Buy now, supplies are limited!]

It sounds too good to be true, but here it is: You can buy a 2009 Tesla Roadster, with a list price of $109,900, and pay just $67,800 for it.

At least, you can if you live in Colorado and buy it before December 31.

That's when a special Colorado tax credit, designed to encourage the purchase of low-emission cars, is due to be capped to eliminate the huge credit end.

$42K Tesla tax credit

The measure gives Colorado residents a credit on their 2009 income tax for up to 85 percent of the difference between the price of certain alternative-fueled vehicles and the price of an equivalent vehicle running on liquid fuel.

2009 Tesla Roadstser

2009 Tesla Roadstser

Enlarge Photo

2009 Tesla Roadster

2009 Tesla Roadster

Enlarge Photo

Pricing for the Tesla Roadster starts at $109,000 without any discounts

Pricing for the Tesla Roadster starts at $109,000 without any discounts

Enlarge Photo

The car's materials costs had previously exceeded its list price by tens of thousands of dollars

The car's materials costs had previously exceeded its list price by tens of thousands of dollars

Enlarge Photo

2009 Tesla Roadster, Skyline Boulevard, San Mateo, CA

2009 Tesla Roadster, Skyline Boulevard, San Mateo, CA

Enlarge Photo

In the case of the 2009 Tesla Roadster, the tax credit is $42,083. Which translates to a healthy 38.6-percent discount on a brand-new Tesla.

(That's better than the best incentive you could get on some deeply undesirable model from the most desperate dealer in the country.)

And as anyone who's driven a Tesla will tell you, the car's all-electric power is addictive. The tradeoff: the more power you use, the lower the range.

Boulder store opens Friday

Tesla will open a new store in Boulder, Colorado, this Friday with an invitation-only VIP cocktail gala. Kimbal Musk, brother of Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, wrote enthusiastically about the car and the event in a guest article on HuffingtonPost.

Why Colorado? Well, inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Nikolai Tesla spent many years in Colorado Springs.

Lighting up the state

As Kimbal Musk notes, "While in Colorado, Tesla proved that earth was a conductor of electricity, produced artificial lightning with discharges consisting of millions of volts...and performed long distance power transmission experiments that lit up banks of lights around Colorado Springs."

But it's equally important that the state has many wealthy, green-minded residents. The kind who buy Tesla Roadsters.

Especially if the state funds almost half the purchase.

[Huffington Post]

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Comments (13)
  1. Could anyone please elaborate on CO state income rax rate and min annual salary required to be able to make full use of the 42k tax credit? I'm considering having my CO aunt helping me out but am not sure if she makes enough money. Thanks!!

  2. I have investigated this but not found out what happens to the tax credit if the car is taken outside Colorado and registered somewhere else. Anyone knows this?

  3. Illegal and unconstitutional ; but then, the damned lib's don't care much about the constitution.
    It is unconstitutional to use taxpayer money as well is it unconstitutional to reduce tax basis for anyone simply for doing what the government deems an ideal. You could conversely say that "anyone who does not purchase this car in colorado will have 42,000 in taxes taken from them..." could you not?

  4. @Brianvincent: This is exactly as unconstitutional as allowing mortgage interest on a residence to be deducted on your tax return.
    If the Feds in their wisdom choose to subsidize our purchase of homes, why should they not choose to subsidize our purchase of vehicles that pollute less?

  5. Huge difference between tax deduction (mortgage) and tax credit (Tesla).

  6. his name was Nikola

  7. @Daniel: Many thanks for catching my typo! Not sure where the trailing "i" came from, but I've fixed it.

  8. The article is incorrect. The maximum possible credit is $6000.

  9. @Ed: Thank you for pointing us to that reference. The $6,000 cap appears nowhere in the document describing the tax credit program; do you know its history?
    I do see a note in the one we cited saying, "If the credit allowed exceeds the net tax liability for that year, any excess credit may be carried forward and claimed on future year returns for up to five years until the credit is fully utilized."

  10. Has anybody figured out how much money Colorado and the FED looses in gas Tax when everyone drives electric???? How are they going to recover that lost revenue? So far, with my home built EV I figure I've taken $200/year out of the FED's coffers! When everyone has them, how are the roads going to be maintained?

  11. @Ed: The cap you describe applies only to the tax years beginning on January 1.
    There is no cap for the 2009 tax year. See revised note at the start of the article for full details and citations.

  12. I would like to buy a Tesla now.live in Wash DC canI get an Obama discount of $42000...serious...

  13. The "State" does not fund ANYTHING, taxpayers do.
    I like the Tesla, but government has NO business subsidizing them. At least Tesla hasn't gone bankrupt...yet.

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