The budding Trump administration so far has been short on policy specifics. But just two days after the election, automakers' chief lobbying group, the
"The short answer is that we don’t know what will happen with the Trump administration and electric vehicles," said Dave Reichmuth, senior engineer for the
Reichmuth points out that the EV tax credit is embedded in the larger federal tax code, so removing it would require action from Congress. So it’s not likely to be changed soon, even if that was the direction that was chosen.
It’s worth noting that many of the cars receiving the credit come from U.S. assembly lines — Tesla in
The Bolt EV comes off a week when it won two Car of the Year awards, one from
"We have six now and four are already sold. Mid-December is the target week for when we get any more," said Brian Satterlund, new car sales manager at Ron Tonkin Chevrolet in
About 1,100 miles south in
"Those people have paid a $1,000 deposit that holds your place in line," Little said. "We're expecting to receive 39 Bolts the week of Nov. 28 and another 14 on Dec. 12."
Despite the turmoil in
California alone accounted for 54.5%, or 62,119, of the plug-in electric vehicles sold in 2015, according to hybridcars.com. The nation's largest state also has its own EV tax credits — $2,500 for battery electrics and $1,500 for plug-in hybrids.
In addition, the
Nine other states have the same targets. They are Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.
But plug-in hybrids such as the
This year through October, Americans bought or leased 54,816 plug-in hybrids, up 64% from a year earlier, and 64,932 pure EVs, a 12.6% increase from the same period of 2015.
Tesla has more at stake. So far it is selling the Model 3 on the charm and media manipulation of CEO
Musk plans to produce Model 3s at an annual rate of 200,000 by 2018, which means he's assuming a lot of those depositors will be patient.
Despite earning $21.9 million on revenue of $2.3 billion in the third quarter, only its second quarterly profit ever, Tesla must prove it can produce affordable vehicles in high volumes to establish its sustainable business model.
Musk, who publicly endorsed
Indeed, on Thursday Musk taunted GM for its modest production targets for the Bolt, saying, "A car like that should be aiming at shipping 300,000 to 500,000 per year."
Unlike Tesla, GM's profitability doesn't depend on
“GM is using a similar approach to what they’ve done for 100 years. Tesla is following its own playbook," said Stephanie Brinley, an industry analyst with IHS Automotive. "Tesla has been very interesting, but it hasn’t proven it can be profitable over the long term."
Dan Sperling, founding director of the University of California Davis Institute for Transportation Studies, said the industry's letter to the Trump transition team should not be interpreted as a plea to drop emission or fuel economy standards altogether.
These are global companies, and China and Europe are moving forward with their incentives for non-gas-burning vehicles. Whatever the Trump administration does, the rest of the world won't abandon the Paris Agreement to reduce the global growth of carbon emissions.
"The industry has made a massive investment in electric vehicles," Sperling said. "While some would prefer to slow it down, most companies are going to continue along that path."