This has become longer than I had intended. Bottom line: when Tesla sells 10.000 EVs/year in Europe it might receive €45-90M (US$ 55-110M) or more in green credits. (Unless I'm mistaken, of course)
I've been reading up on US and EU standards meant to reduce the CO2 emissions from cars. The recent EU announcement of a manufacturer target of 95gr CO2/km (which translates to 4.0 ltr/100km or 59 mpg) by 2020 got little or no attention in the main stream media (or none that reached me).
The EU targets for 2015 (130 gr CO2/km; 5.4 ltr/100km; 43.4 mpg) are on par with the US targets for 2016 (5.6 ltr/100km; 42 mpg), but the EU 2020 targets aim for a further increase in fuel efficiency of 27% over five years time. The EU 2020 targets are similar to the US 2025 targets.
For each additional gram CO2 per km - a unit that I haven't yet been able to get used to - above the 95 limit, car manufacturers pay an "excess emissions premium" of €95 (US$ 115). What this means in practice is that a BMW X5 at current (2012) mpg levels minus 20% (accounting for an improved fuel efficiency) would rack up more than €10,000 (US$ 12,000) in excess emissions premium. At current VAT levels that could imply a price increase to the consumer of €12,000 (US$ 14,600)!
BMW can offset this "X5 problem" with the sales of their 1-Series, but even the most fuel efficient 116i is still 26% above the 2020 norm and BMW with their "efficient dynamics" may be considered one of Europe's leading manufacturers in terms of fuel efficiency!
I think - but have not been able to verify - that EVs are factored in at 0 gr/km. As manufacturers are allowed to "pool" their CO2 emissions, each EV is worth 95*€95 = €9,025 in emissions. When the profits of pooling are split evenly between the participating manufacturer (is this a reasonable assumption?) that could still give Tesla a net income om €4,500 per vehicle sold (in the EU).
Is this where the Tesla/Daimler partnership *really* becomes valuable? 10,000 EVs per year in the EU could yield Tesla an additional €45M (US$ 55M) per year (up to €90M / US$ 110M, depending on how Tesla and Daimler split the bill).
Because of above-average weight of the Model S the above calculations might need to be adjusted upwards by ~10% depending on how the EU directive will be interpreted. Also in 2012 and 2013 the value of these virtual "credits" from manufacturing low-exhaust are multiplied by 3.5 (2014: 2.5, 2015: 1.5, 2016: 1.0) which could give Tesla an initial boost.
It seems that starting in 2015 this might provide Tesla with additional "funding" that - spent wisely - could put Tesla firmly in the lead in the EV race.
Should anyone care to comment, please do. I'm pretty much still learning about most of this.
Sources (warning: long reads!)
Reducing CO2 emissions from passenger cars
President Obama Announces Historic 54.5 mpg Fuel Efficiency Standard | The White House