While the selling price for these credits isn't disclosed (they're private transactions), the market was a lucrative one for Tesla, which generated $129.8 million in revenue from California zero-emissions credit sales and about another $65 million selling US Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) credits last year. All told, California and federal zero-emissions credit sales accounted for about 10 percent of Tesla's sales last year. A Tesla representative didn't immediately respond to a request from AutoblogGreen for comment.
This issue first came up last year when CARB hinted that it wouldn't give Tesla credit for having a battery-swapping option as it's method for quick-fueling compliance. Tesla, which appears to have been preparing for just this scenario, has been collecting revenue on credits since 2010 and achieved its first-ever profitable quarter in the first quarter of 2013 because of such credits.
While the maximum number of zero-emissions credits a vehicle could garner was increased from seven to nine in the new rules, Tesla can't take advantage of that because it meets neither of the most stringent criteria: that the car in question is rated to go more than 300 miles on a full tank or battery and be able to be "filled up" (or fully charged, in this case) within 15 minutes. Those are more hydrogen fuel-cell-like targets, but Tesla has the EVs that come closest to meeting them.