GM and Tesla have been indirectly penalized for selling too many EVs too fast.
There has been a lot of talk about an updated US federal EV tax credit thanks to the Biden Administration, though details are not clear at this point. The current credit offers up to $7,500 to people who purchase an EV in the US, as long as it isn't produced by General Motors or Tesla. While there are some other US automakers producing EVs, many of these credits could go to buyers of foreign cars, rather than US brands like Tesla and GM.
GM and Tesla were integral in diving into the electric car future well ahead of most rivals. While the two automakers should get credit for that, instead, they lost credit. More specifically, once Tesla and GM had each sold 200,000 EVs, their cars were no longer eligible for the credit, though there was a slow "sunset" built into the original credit.
Nonetheless, the honeymoon has long been over for these two US automakers. Meanwhile, EV laggards are taking advantage of the credit to promote and sell their cars, going so far as to remind people that they can no longer get the credit if they buy a Tesla. GM has resorted to deeply discounting its Bolt EV for some time now, due in part to make up for the loss of the credit. It has also announced that its 2022 Bolt EV and Bolt EUV will carry much lower starting prices despite numerous updates.
It comes as no surprise that GM wants the federal government to reinstate its credit, or at least change the rules in some way to allow GM buyers to once again benefit. Tesla hasn't been vocal about the credit, and it continues to sell its EVs in huge numbers compared to the competition, despite the credit situation being stacked against it.
According to Automotive News, President of GM North America Steve Carlisle said the automaker is requesting that Biden and his administration fix the credit so that it becomes "a level playing field" for all brands involved. Carlisle shared:
"Given all the potential barriers to adoption and the fact that we need to get moving along that curve, I think incentives in many different forms enter into the conversation. A level playing field is a reasonable thing to aspire to."
GM CEO Mary Barra has also said that the company shouldn't be punished for bringing electric cars to market ahead of other brands. She made it clear that she believes the $7,500 credit plays a big role in an EV buyer's decision. Barra wants the cap lifted so that car shoppers can decide which brand they'll support, rather than incentives helping brands that were late to the game and hurting brands that were early adopters.