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      特斯拉的秘密财源首披露:卖环保积分

      这几年,特斯拉靠向其他汽车制造商卖碳排放积分赚了不少钱,直到最近外界才略知一二。

      这几年,特斯拉靠向其他汽车制造商卖碳排放积分赚了不少钱。根据美国的碳排放积分制度,一家汽车厂商只要向美国消费者销售了污染环境的汽车,就要被扣除一定积分。一直以来,特斯拉的这种交易都是在幕后进行的,直到最近才略被外界所知一二。

      今年早些时候,通用汽车与菲亚特克莱斯勒曾经向特拉华州政府披露,它们已经与特斯拉就购买联邦温室气体排放积分达成协议。虽然相关文件缺少细节,但这件事以前从未见诸报端。在美国环保措施越来越严的大背景下,通用汽车和菲亚特克莱斯勒也是第一批公开承认向特斯拉购买了排放积分的车企。

      听到通用汽车从特斯拉那里买积分的消息,很多人可能会感到诧异——通用汽车旗下有插电式混动的雪佛兰Volt,有纯电动的雪佛兰Bolt,这两款车已经卖了好几年了,按理说通用汽车在环保领域搞得还是不错的。不过有了这几款新能源车型,通用汽车也只是目前尚不需要额外的信用积分。另一方面,通用汽车旗下的这几款新能源车型,远远没有它的皮卡和SUV等“油老虎”卖得火。随着美国的排放规定越来越严格——尤其是考虑到2020年民主党有可能击败特朗普,夺回白宫,现在为未来几年预存一些积分,还是很有必要的。

      “这种对冲风险的方法并不是一个坏主意。”休斯敦的环保积分咨询中介机构Emission Advisors的创始人及董事长迈克·泰勒表示:“如果民主党人在2020年夺回政权,通用汽车很可能会需要这些积分,而它的价格可能也会上涨。”

      这些文件几乎没有提供关于特斯拉向通用汽车或菲亚特克莱斯勒卖积分的任何细节。至于这两家公司以前有没有买过积分,目前也无直接渠道能够证实,不过从美国环保署的报告上也能推测得八九不离十。特斯拉的发言人未及时就此事置评。

      通用汽车靠买积分对冲风险

      通用汽车签订购买温室气体排放积分协议的日期是2月25日,次日它便向特拉华州政府作了报告。通用汽车的发言人帕特·莫里西表示,公司购买这些积分,是为了防止“未来监管领域的不确定性”。

      据菲亚特克莱斯勒在四份文件中披露,该公司在2016年、2018年和今年年初,数次与特斯拉签订了购买积分的协议。菲亚特克莱斯勒的发言人埃里克·梅恩表示,美国的环保标准正在变得越来越严格,其速度“远远超过”消费者对电动汽车的需求水平,仅靠公司自身的电动汽车销量,是难以满足政府的监管要求的。

      梅恩表示:“除非需求赶上了监管要求,而且监管也有所放松了,否则我们仍然会在合适的情形下使用积分。”

      特斯拉的重要财源

      自2010年以来,特斯拉通过销售排放积分,已经创造了将近20亿美元的收入。在特斯拉的老家加利福尼亚州,政府有一项强制规定,要求汽车厂商必须参照自己的市场份额,生产等比例的“零排放汽车”。同时加州也是美国最大的汽车市场。

      如果制造商没有卖出足够数量的无污染汽车,他们就得向特斯拉等竞争对手购买排放积分,以弥补这一差额。在联邦层面,美国环保署和国家公路交通安全管理局也有类似的积分制度。

      通用汽车购买排放积分一事,表明了美国对汽车的环保要求达到了多么严格的程度,就连这些接连推出零排放车型的厂商也会感到压力山大。今年3月,通用汽车的首席执行官玛丽·巴拉宣布,该公司将斥资3亿美元,在底特律北部的通用汽车工厂增加400名工人,以促进另一款全电动车型的生产。

      美国环保署在今年3月的一份报告中指出,虽然所有汽车制造商在2017年度都遵守了美国的环保规定,不过多数大型汽车厂商都是购买了积分才过关的。美国环保署还表示,在各大厂商2017年年底持有的积分中,有90%以上如不使用,到2021年就会到期。

      更重要的收入源

      目前,特斯拉卖积分的生意仅仅在美国和加州能做,但也许要不了多久,它也能从欧洲获得收入了,因为欧洲目前也正在实施更严格的排放法规。今年4月,菲亚特克莱斯勒表示将与特斯拉在欧洲结盟,以确保符合欧盟日益严格的排放标准。

      本月早些时候,特斯拉的财务总监扎卡里·柯克霍恩在与潜在投资者就发放新股和可转换公司债券一事召开电话会议时表示,未来几年,积分销售将成为特斯拉业务中更重要的一部分。

      特斯拉在4月的一份文件中披露,今年一季度,特斯拉除了获得2.16亿美元的积分销售收入,还获得了与积分销售有关的1.4亿美元的递延收入。

      至与这些收入究竟来自于特斯拉与通用汽车和菲亚特克莱斯勒的“美国协议”,还是来自于特斯拉与菲亚特克莱斯勒的“欧盟协议”,从文件中目前还看不出来。特斯拉在以前的季度和年度财报中,都没有报告过递延的积分销售收入。(财富中文网)

      译者:朴成奎

      For years, Tesla Inc. has hauled in revenue by selling credits to other carmakers that needed to offset sales of polluting vehicles to U.S. consumers. These sorts of transactions have largely been shrouded in secrecy—until now.

      General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV disclosed to the state of Delaware earlier this year that they reached agreements to buy federal greenhouse gas credits from Tesla. While the filings are light on detail, they haven’t been reported on previously. They also represent the first acknowledgments from carmakers that they’re turning to Tesla for help to comply with intensifying U.S. environmental regulations.

      The deal with GM will come as a surprise to those who thought years of sales of plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volts and all-electric Chevy Bolts would leave the largest U.S. automaker in the clear with regard to regulatory compliance. But while sales of those models have put GM in a position where it doesn’t need extra credits today, demand for its battery-powered vehicles are dwarfed by its gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. And the company wants to bank the credits for future years when emissions rules get tougher—especially if a Democrat beats President Donald Trump in 2020.

      “This might not be a bad hedge,” said Mike Taylor, the founder and president of Emission Advisors, a Houston-based environmental credit consultant and broker. “If a Democrat gets elected in 2020, GM may need the credits and prices may go up.”

      The filings offer almost no detail on the terms of Tesla’s credit sales to GM or Fiat Chrysler, whose past purchases of credits haven’t been disclosed directly but could be inferred from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports. A Tesla spokesman didn’t immediately comment.

      GM’s Hedge

      GM’s agreement to buy greenhouse gas credits was dated Feb. 25 and reported to Delaware the following day. Pat Morrissey, a GM spokesman, said the company is buying the credits as insurance against “future regulatory uncertainties.”

      Fiat Chrysler disclosed agreements to buy credits from Tesla that were reached in 2016, 2018 and earlier this year, in four separate filings. Eric Mayne, a spokesman for the Italian-American automaker, said U.S. standards are getting stricter at a pace that “far exceeds” the level of consumer demand for electric cars that is required for compliance.

      “Until demand catches up with regulatory requirements, and there is regulatory relief, we will use credits as appropriate,” Mayne said.

      Tesla’s Haul

      Tesla has generated almost $2 billion in revenue from selling regulatory credits since 2010. Its home state of California has a mandate that requires carmakers to sell zero-emission vehicles, or ZEVs, in proportion to their share of the state’s auto market, which is the largest in the country.

      If manufacturers don’t sell enough non-polluting vehicles, they have to purchase credits from competitors like Tesla to make up the difference. A similar credit system is administered at the federal level by the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

      GM’s credit purchases illustrate how challenging the U.S. fuel efficiency requirements are getting, even for automakers that are adding more zero-emission vehicles to their lineup. In March, Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra announced the company would spend $300 million and add 400 workers at its plant north of Detroit where the Chevy Bolt is built to add production of another fully electric model.

      While all automakers complied with U.S. rules in model year 2017, most large manufacturers cashed in credits to get there, the EPA said in a March report. Of all the credits held by the industry at end of the 2017 model year, more than 90% are set to expire at the end of 2021 if not used, according to the agency.

      More Meaningful

      While Tesla’s sales of regulatory credits have been limited to the U.S. and California, it also has opportunities ahead to generate revenue from Europe, which is implementing tougher emissions regulations. In April, Fiat Chrysler said it will pool its fleet with Tesla’s to comply with European Union standards.

      During a call with prospective investors in Tesla’s offerings of new equity and convertible bonds earlier this month, Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn said credit sales will be a more meaningful part of Tesla’s business in the coming years.

      In addition to reporting $216 million in first-quarter revenue from the sale of regulatory credits, the carmaker disclosed in an April filing that it had booked $140 million in deferred revenue related to credit sales.

      It’s unclear from the filing whether that revenue relates to the U.S. agreements that Tesla reached with GM and Fiat Chrysler, or the EU deal with Fiat Chrysler. Tesla hasn’t reported deferred revenue of credits in past quarterly or annual financial filings.

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