German Tesla Model S owners told to repay $4,650 electric car subsidy

2018 Tesla Model S

Hundreds of Tesla Model S owners in Germany will be required to repay a $4,650 electric car subsidy after the country’s Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control ruled the car does not qualify.

Around 800 owners will be responsible for the sum after the agency declared the Model S is too expensive and does not meet the “environmental bonus” guidelines, reported Wednesday.

The discrepancy came after the agency learned the base Model S, which falls under the 60,000 euro ($69,000) threshold, isn’t available in Germany. Another 250 owners who purchased a Model S won’t receive payment from the government, according to the report.

However, German customers who purchased a Model S after March 6 will qualify for the subsidy. Tesla provided enough evidence to show customers can order a 60,000 euro Model S and take delivery of the base model in Germany. Tesla said it plans to appeal the agency’s decision. Additionally, it will cover any affected customer’s refund cost until the situation is settled.

“As our website demonstrates, anyone in Germany has always been able to order a base version Model S that was below the required price level, and we have delivered such cars to customers,” the automaker said in a statement.

Germany’s rebate program was designed to boost electric car sales in the country as Europe cracks down on emissions and in some areas even bans older diesel cars from traveling in portions of city centers. In Germany, sales of electric cars grew 64 percent in the first half of 2018.

In the United States, Tesla became the first automaker to pass the threshold for U.S. federal tax credits on electric cars. The automaker sold its 200,000th vehicle and the $7,500 credit will now enter a phaseout period.

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