Tesla’s rumored sale of its regulatory credits to Volkswagen to help the German automaker reach emissions targets is likely to last “two to three years,” according to VW Auto Group CEO Herbert Diess.
The sale of credits will help Volkswagen align with regional emissions targets that could affect the company’s ability to conduct business in China and the United States. The emissions targets are different in every country, some with more strict regulations than others. China has some of the toughest emissions regulations globally due to the massive number of passenger vehicles that operate in the country. Due to this fact, some automakers, like Volkswagen, must purchase regulatory credits from other automakers to meet the emissions targets. It helps the purchasing automaker avoid hefty fines, while it can help the selling automaker solidify financial safety and fund projects.
Tesla doesn’t have an issue reaching these targets due to its environmentally-friendly electric powertrains. For over a year, Tesla has been selling regulatory credits to other automakers, a deal that has helped Tesla fund some of its international projects. One of the most notable deals is Tesla’s sale of credits to Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, requiring FCA to pay Tesla $2 billion through 2023. The sale was to help FCA reach the European Union’s CO2 requirement of 95g per kilometer in 2020. This deal recently ended after Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares stated that the company would no longer need to purchase the credits from Tesla. This was due to the merger between Peugeot S.A. (Groupe PSA) and FCA in January 2021, which ultimately birthed Stellantis. Stellantis now controls 14 traditional automotive brands, including Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep, Maserati, and Peugeot.
However, Tesla isn’t losing all of its deals for its regulatory credits. It appears Volkswagen will still purchase credits from Tesla. Although it hasn’t been officially confirmed who VW will get its credits from, recent reports indicate that Tesla will be the seller. Recent comments from Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Auto Group, on the company’s Earnings Call earlier today seem to indicate that the company will continue for several years.
🚨@VWGroup ‘s Diess confirms they are paying regulatory credits in China and US (likely to @tesla) and says they will continue to for the next “two to three years”, phasing out as the EV roll-out ramps up.
Chinese Q1 BEV volumes just 6,244 units compared to 42,421 in Europe. pic.twitter.com/KrCdgjOafy
— Matthias Schmidt (@auto_schmidt) May 6, 2021
“In Europe, we are confident that we will comply with the fleet targets,” Diess said during the Earnings Call. However, the case is different in China and the United States, and Diess says that the automaker will need to rely on credits to avoid the fines for “the next two or three years.” With VW’s expanding EV strategy, it appears that the German company will no longer need to purchase these credits by 2024 at the latest.
In China, VW will likely be purchasing the credits from Tesla. After a report from Reuters in April indicated that VW’s joint venture with state-owned Chinese carmaker FAW, called FAW-Volkswagen, would be purchasing credits from Tesla to meet the environmental standards set by the Chinese government. Three individuals close to the matter informed Reuters of the deal.
Concerns regarding Tesla’s financials and its ability to remain profitable without the excessive sale of EV credits continue to rage on. However, Tesla has shown that it generates revenue through several mediums, including automotive sales, car leases, and other investments, including the automaker’s Bitcoin purchase in late 2020. The $1.5 billion Bitcoin purchase was a way for not immediately used cash could generate “some level of return…but also preserve liquidity,” Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn said during the company’s most recent Earnings Call.
Ultimately, it isn’t known who Volkswagen will purchase the credits from globally. However, if recent reports are correct, Tesla will be sending its credits to VW in return for hefty $56 per green credit prices.