Texas restores $2,500 electric-car purchase rebate, except for Teslas

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Tesla owners & supporters gather in Statehouse in Austin to support company [photo: John Griswell]

Tesla owners & supporters gather in Statehouse in Austin to support company [photo: John Griswell]

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Ah, Texas, the state that was formerly a nation and continues to do things slightly differently.

Its politics is bare-knuckle, its hats are big, and so are its ranches. It also generates more renewable wind energy than any other state in the union.

Its auto-dealer lobbyists, however, are equally large and powerful.

DON'T MISS: Tesla Loses Legal Battles To Texas, North Carolina Dealers (Jun 2013)

At the end of the last session of the Texas Legislature in May—a body that meets only every other year, it should be noted—buyers of electric cars got a bonus.

The state reauthorized a $2,500 rebate for the purchase of an electric vehicle, to apply to purchases during 2018 and 2019.

That rebate had been created under the Texas Emissions Reduction Program during the 2013 legislative session, and then discontinued in the 2015 session.

Elon Musk signs new 2013 Tesla Model S at Tesla Store opening, Austin, Texas [photo: John Griswell]

Elon Musk signs new 2013 Tesla Model S at Tesla Store opening, Austin, Texas [photo: John Griswell]

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There's a kicker, though: the program is operated through franchised auto dealers.

And Tesla Motors, which sells the luxury all-electric Model S hatchback sedan and Model X crossover utility vehicle, doesn't have any of those.

That means, of course, that Tesla buyers are shut out of the rebate altogether.

READ THIS: Tesla Vs Franchised Car Dealers In Texas, Arizona: Battles Continue (Feb 2015)

The exclusion was confirmed to Green Car Reports by Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, who called the 2017 legislative session otherwise "a pretty lousy session for the environment" in the state.

“The Legislature further weakened local and citizen rights to fight pollution, a win for the big polluters who fund their campaigns," Metzger explained, "but a clear loss for public health and the environment.”

“Electric vehicles are creating real benefits for Texas, cleaning the air and helping our climate,” Metzger added.

Tesla owners & supporters gather in Statehouse in Austin to support company [photo: John Griswell]

Tesla owners & supporters gather in Statehouse in Austin to support company [photo: John Griswell]

Enlarge Photo

He noted that more Texans will be able to afford mass-priced battery-electric vehicles by adding the $2,500 state rebate to the federal $7,500 income-tax credit to reduce the effective price of the vehicle by $10,000.

The additional state incentive should make Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, and Volkswagen—and perhaps their dealers—very happy.

Tesla is likely to be somewhat less happy.

CHECK OUT: What it took to buy an electric car in Texas: the good, the bad, and the ugly (Sep 2016)

We've reached out to the company to see if it has a statement on the Texas incentive; we'll update this story if we receive one.

Texas has now seen two contentious battles between Tesla advocates and owners and the lobbyists for franchised auto dealers, who have banned online sales of Tesla cars at the 10 Tesla galleries and stores now open.

It's still possible to buy a Tesla online from any private computer, but the car must be delivered outside the state—although it can be serviced at Tesla Service Centers, which are now operating in five locations in the state.

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