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Texas brings back $2,500 electric vehicle incentive, but Tesla buyers could be blocked

Just as Texas was shutting the door on Tesla over their direct sale model last week, they relaunched their $2,500 electric vehicle rebate to spur EV adoption.

While it’s good news for EV buyers in general, Tesla buyers are not likely to have access to the program since its going through dealerships, which Tesla is not allowed to operate in the state.

The same rebate, which is applied on top of the $7,500 federal tax credit and brings the total discounts on EVs to $10,000, was first introduced by Texas legislators in 2013, but it expired in 2015.

At the time, Tesla buyers didn’t have access to the incentive since the vehicles had to be purchased from an authorized car dealer and Tesla has been unable to obtain a dealer license in Texas due to its strict restriction on automakers operating car dealerships.

During the current legislative session, Tesla again tried to lobby for a change in the law in order to start selling its cars at its current locations in Texas, but the effort was shut down last week after strong opposition and lobbying from the local car dealers.

They are now bringing the EV rebate program back just as several new electric vehicles are coming on the market like the Chevy Bolt EV, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, and the Tesla Model 3.

Unfortunately, it’s not clear if the latter will be eligible to the rebate since the program is apparently the same. We reached out to Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP) which is behind the EV rebate in order to get a clarification, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were a Model 3 reservation holder in Texas.

The only way it would work is if it would be applied to new electric vehicles registered in the state instead of simply purchased or leased, which wasn’t the case in the previous version of the program.

If it’s still the case, it will be interesting to see if the $2,500 rebate will be enough to convince buyers to go through the dealership system to buy an electric vehicle other than Tesla.

As we reported when Texas legislators rejected Tesla’s latest attempt at direct sales in the state, it complicated things for Model 3 buyers who will now have to go online to order the vehicle through Tesla in California if they want to buy the vehicle.

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