California Governor Gavin Newsom says Tesla might not even exist if not for California’s generous clean-air policies.
The San Francisco Chronicle says Newsom is suggesting the state’s incentives are responsible for the emergence of Tesla.
“There was no Tesla without California's regulatory bodies, and regulation,” Newsom said during a Sept. 12 panel along alongside West Coast governors. He said the company has “been a beneficiary of well over a billion dollars of subsidies” that enabled it to “grow and dominate the electric vehicle space.”
Newsom took his claim a step further last week at the Climate Week summit in New York City, when he said Tesla CEO Elon Musk was “inspired by the regulatory framework in California that created that industry.”
The Chronicle asked the governor’s office to back up his claim that the company has received more than $1 billion in subsidies, and it turns out that Tesla has benefited from state assistance to an even larger degree than he suggested.
Tesla has received more than $3.2 billion worth of direct and indirect California subsidies and market mechanisms since 2009, according to an estimate from Newsom’s office.
That total includes credits the company receives for producing zero-emissions vehicles, which it can sell to other automakers, as well as more direct subsidies like rebates for Tesla buyers and sales-tax credits.
Newsom’s comments about Tesla come as he has increasingly sought to portray California as a global front-runner in the race to dominate the clean-energy technology sector, including zero-emissions vehicles. In recent months, he championed that mantle as the state passed an aggressive slate of environmental legislation and a state budget with a record $54 billion for climate programs.
But a thorn in that narrative has been Tesla’s announcement last year that the company will move its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas.
“California used to be the land of opportunity,” Musk said after announcing the Texas move. “Now it has become and is becoming more so the land of overregulation, overlitigation, overtaxation and scorn.”
California Electric Vehicle Sales By Manufacturer:
- Tesla – 520,798
- Chevrolet – 64,366
- Nissan – 60,102
- Fiat – 29,814
- VW – 21,983
- Ford – 16,288
- Hyundai – 14,568
- Kia – 13,320
- Toyota – 12,831
- BMW – 12,629
Source: California Energy Commission