By Chris Morris
October 12, 2018

Consumers who are considering ordering a Tesla and hope to get the full $7,500 federal tax credit that goes with that need to get off the fence.

The automaker on Friday said orders placed by October 15 will be eligible for the full credit. After that, the amount drops to $3,750. Orders delivered after June 30 next year will only receive an $1,875 tax credit.

Cars ordered by Oct. 15 will be delivered by the end of the year, the company said.

That could put a strain on the company’s production. In the third quarter, Tesla says it delivered 83,500 vehicles, 80% more than the company delivered in all of 2017. Demand is certainly still strong, though. Last quarter, Tesla sales beat Mercedes Benz for the first time in the U.S.

The looming reduction of the full tax credit could work against Tesla in the long run. Competitors, including Mercedes Benz, are coming out with electric models in the near future. And the particulars of the tax overhaul mean those cars will be able to offer the full tax credit, when Tesla is offering one that’s substantially less.

That could mean Tesla is seeding the market for its own competitors.

The end of the tax incentive caps a rocky month for Tesla. Profitability is near, says founder Elon Musk, and production records are being shattered. But Musk also recently reached a deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission after a series of Tweets and was forced to step down as chairman of the company.

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