SAN FRANCISCO -- Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk hammered the California Air Resources Board over its emission credits program, saying the standards need to be raised.
It was a rare public tirade against an agency that has done more than any other state in the U.S. to promote the adoption of electric vehicles.
California has the authority to set its own air pollution rules and requires automakers to sell electric or other non-polluting vehicles in proportion to their market share in the state. Automakers can earn credits to reach those goals and companies that exceed the standard, like Tesla, can sell their extra credits to those that don’t.
“The California Air Resources Board is being incredibly weak in its application of ZEV credits,” Musk said on the company’s earnings call Wednesday, referring to the state’s zero-emission vehicle program.
“The standards are pathetically low. They need to be increased. There’s massive lobbying by the big car companies from increasing the ZEV credit mandate, which they absolutely damn well should. CARB should damn well be ashamed of themselves.”
In the last quarter, Tesla reported $57 million of Zero Emission Vehicle, or ZEV, credit revenue. But this quarter, ZEV credits were so negligible that Tesla didn’t break them out. California is expected to issue an evaluation of how the ZEV mandate is working out in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Representatives for the board didn’t immediately reply to e-mailed requests for comment.