The Government’s Clean Car policy has helped Tesla revenues skyrocket to nearly half a billion dollars from a relatively paltry $66m in 2020, the year before the policy was introduced.
Tesla New Zealand’s financial statements for the 2022 calendar year showed revenue of $499.5m, double the $230.7m posted in 2021. The rebate began on July 1 of that year.
Revenue was $66m in 2020, up on just $5.4m in 2019, and $4.9m in 2018.
The skyrocketing income is largely thanks to the Clean Car Discount, which uses a levy on polluting cars to fund discounts on EVs and other clean cars.
Acting Transport Minister Kieran McAnulty said the scheme was working to decarbonise the fleet.
“With over 100,000 rebates granted since the scheme came into effect in 2021, we have one of the fastest uptakes of EVs in the world,” McAnulty said.
“Since the full scheme was up and running, in April 2022, nearly half of all used imports were hybrids. These have rapidly become the affordable vehicle of choice and help families with their costs of living through reduced fuel bills. They also lower CO2 significantly. These vehicles will now be making their way through to many New Zealanders.
“The cost of EVs has reduced significantly over the past couple of years. Several popular models are now available for $50,000 to $60,000 whereas previously EVs tended to be closer to $80,000.
“Rebates for used-import EVs will rise from $3450 to $3507.50 – as the supply of used-import EVs remains restricted. The increased rebates will encourage suppliers to continue to focus on securing supply for New Zealanders,” he said.
But National’s transport spokesman Simeon Brown said the data showed the biggest beneficiary of the scheme was Elon Musk, one of the wealthiest men in the world.
“It has taken money from hardworking farmers and tradies to subsidise Tesla,” Brown said.
He said the scheme should be scrapped.
Data analysed by the Herald showed since the policy began in 2021 until March this year, the rebate paid $83m to people who bought 9730 Teslas.
Under the initial scheme, the system gave up to $8625 off the price of the cleanest, fully electric new EVs when they are first registered, which is paid for by slapping a $5175 fee on the dirtiest new vehicles. The subsidies are now smaller and the fees are larger.
Tesla does not declare large profits or pay large taxes in New Zealand - most of that money heads offshore.
Tesla is becoming more profitable here however. In 2021 it posted a net profit of $2.2m on $230.7m in revenue. In 2022, its profit roughly quadrupled while its revenue merely doubled. The company posted an $8m net profit.
Polling by Drive Electric showed most voters support the policy, including about 42 per cent of National voters.