A German government program that offers subsidies to EV buyers became the center of controversy over the eligibility of Tesla buyers. Only vehicles with a base price of under 60,000 euros are eligible for the awards. The program was designed in collaboration with German automakers, who are providing part of the funding, and some observers have charged that the price cap was specifically designed to exclude Tesla.
In order to make Model S eligible for the €4,000 incentive, Tesla created a new trim level for Germany, which unbundled a bunch of features that are normally standard, and brought the base price down to €60,000. The Germans cried foul, and some in the media called it a “scandal,” accusing Tesla of gaming the system. In December, the German government clarified that Tesla is not eligible for the subsidy.
Now, Germany’s Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) reveals that the program is hardly being used – a total of 46,897 EV buyers have submitted applications for the subsidy.
“For this program, a total of 600 million euros are available. To date, about 65 million euros are committed,” BAFA President Andreas Obersteller told the German magazine Welt (via Electrek). At this rate, the money allocated for the incentive program may not even be used up by the time the program ends. “Currently, there are some indications that the funds will not be exhausted by the end of the promotion in mid-2019,” Obersteller said.
German automakers are now theoretically committed to electrification, with a selection of new models in the pipeline, but those new EVs are unlikely to become available until late 2019, when the inventive program will be over. One new EV that might just arrive in time? The Tesla Model 3, which is scheduled to reach the German Market in late 2018, at a price well under €60,000.