If you want to want to take advantage of Tesla's $7,500 federal tax incentive, you'll have to reserve one before October 15th and pay for it before the year ends. Back in July, the automaker announced that it has already sold 200,000 units, and under the law, that means it has hit the ceiling for federal tax credits. Now, the company has revealed a timeline for the incentive's phase out, so you plan accordingly.
The company guarantees that all orders placed by October 15th will be delivered by the end of the year. You'll have to take delivery -- that is, pay your balance in full "either personally or by way of guarantee from a financing institution" -- by December 31st, 2018, but you will get the full incentive. If you put off your purchase or don't take delivery until next year, though, you can say goodbye to that $7,500 in savings.
Purchases delivered from January 1st to June 30th, 2019 will only get a $3,750 credit, while those delivered from July 1st to December 31st, 2019 will only get $1,875. After that, Tesla will no longer be able to offer tax incentives. In case you were waiting for the $35,000 Model 3 and were hoping to buy it for $7,500 less, consider that dream canceled.
The law could change in the future, though that may or may not be a good thing, depending on whose proposal passes. Vermont Democratic representative Peter Welch wants to eliminate the 200,000 ceiling and instead give EV makers a 10-year limit. Wyoming Republican Senator John Barasso, however, wants to kill the incentive and impose a federal highway usage fee for vehicles using alternative fuel. "There is now a stable and sustainable electric vehicle market in the United States so I think taxpayers ought to be off the hook," he said.