Tesla says there's still time to get $7,500 tax credit

October 15 is the deadline to take advantage of Tesla's $7,500 vehicle tax incentive

Buyers of electric cars get full tax credit for the quarter in which the company hits the 200,000 delivery mark and the next, according to Internal Revenue Service regulation http://bit.ly/2NxwsXn.

In July, Tesla said it delivered 200,000 electric cars to buyers in the United States, meaning tax credits will now begin to be lowered while rivals such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW AG (BMWG.DE) and Audi AG (NSUG.DE) will bring electric models to the market with a full tax credit in place. This week, Tesla let customers know that they should act quickly if they want to claim the credit.

Vehicles have piled up in lots around California awaiting transport, and Musk said last month that Tesla had moved from "production hell to delivery logistics hell". All vehicles sold in the second half of 2018 are eligible for the fully $7,500 credit. Then on July 1 it will drop in half again to $1,875, before going away altogether at the end of the year.

Buyers who get Teslas in the first half of next year will receive half the credit, or $3,750. That gave customers reason to worry that they could order a auto in October and not have it arrive until January, costing them $3,750 in tax breaks.

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That rule allows Tesla to give out full tax credit on each auto it delivers by the end of the year and is the reason for Tesla promising full tax breaks for all buyers who order by October 15. At the end of June, Tesla was scrambling to meet its self-imposed goal to manufacture 5,000 Model 3 cars per week. In the third quarter, Tesla says it delivered 83,500 vehicles, 80% more than the company delivered in all of 2017.

Though the full tax credit will most likely technically exist for orders placed past October 15, Tesla is clearly trying to avoid backlash by warning customers ahead of time that cars ordered after that date may not be delivered in time to qualify for the full incentive.

So far, no other carmaker has announced that it has reached the cap.

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