Dirty green fingers? GM and Fiat admit to buying emission certificates – from Tesla


Carmakers General Motors (GM) and Fiat Chrysler (FCA) have admitted to the purchasing of emission certificates from electric carmaker Tesla, in order to avoid being fined for excessive CO2 emissions.

Emissions regulations in both Europe and the US are tightening, and the price for automakers failing to modernise their model lineup timeously can face millions in fines, but automakers found a loophole.

In 2019 alone, Fiat Chrysler are expected to pay Tesla €.18 billion for emissions certificates, something a Reuters report from 2015, said that started that same year, with purchases from Tesla, Toyota and Honda, in order to meet US regulations.

Now, documents submitted in the US state of Delaware name GM as well as FCA purchased emissions certificates from Tesla, with Fiat Chrysler telling Bloomberg that the purchase mechanism provides an effective tool whilst US environmental regulations are not aligned with demand for EVs.

 Fiat Chrysler’s European purchases apparently total “hundreds of millions of euros”, but figures are not confirmed.

From 2020, new vehicles sold in the European Union will be limited to emissions not in excess of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre, and by an average of all vehicles of a manufacturer, thus less emissions-friendly can be offset against zero-emissions models, which has led some to speculate that carmakers are holding back on EV releases as a means of manipulating their CO2 emissions.

The alternative? Massive changes to model lineups that would have eaten into profits.

Without dramatic changes to the fleet that would have reduced profits. According to Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley, the company would have been facing about €390 million.

“The path we have taken has drastically reduced this figure and we will achieve compliance,” he said.