Germany forces 1,050 Tesla owners to forgo electric car bonus

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany has said 1,050 owners of the Tesla Model S must forgo a 2,000 euro electric car subsidy because the value of their vehicles surpasses an eligibility threshold.

The Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control said only vehicles costing 60,000 euros or less qualified for Germany’s “environmental bonus”, intended to encourage the purchase of electric cars.

The Tesla Model S was removed from the subsidy list on November 30, 2017, after the office found Tesla was delivering higher specification vehicles costing more than 60,000 euros,

“The subsidy needs to be repaid by 800 people who had received it, and another 250 customers who had been notified they were eligible and who will now not receive it,” a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Customers who bought Tesla cars costing less than 60,000 euros are eligible to apply for the bonus, the spokeswoman said.

The carmaker said it is appealing the decision and will pay the bonus to its clients in place of the German state until the issue is resolved.

“The arbitrary decision to temporarily remove Tesla from the list of vehicles eligible for the Environmental Bonus (Umweltbonus) was unjustified, contrary to the stated goals of the program, and unfair to our customers,” Tesla said in a statement.

German customers have always been able to order a base version Model S which met the qualification threshold, and such cars were delivered to customers, Tesla said.

Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Jan Harvey and Alexandra Hudson