Manny Lopez has a cow about Tesla’s $465 million Department of Energy loan over at the Detroit News, concluding that tax dollars shouldn’t “be spent, propping up millionaires and billionaires, who, unlike their Detroit CEO brethren, fly in private planes when they’re not toying around town in their electric cars.” And why is it that Detroit’s CEOs don’t fly on corporate jets? Oh, right. Sweet Pete DeLorenzo lays into Tesla as well, saying it got the loans “so that it can become a real car company instead of a boondoggle that makes outrageously overpriced battery-eating kit cars.” MLive‘s Rick Haglund even figures Elon Musk’s divorce-by-blog reflects an unseriousness that makes his firm undeserving of taxpayer support.
And it’s not like the Detroit team doesn’t have a few valid points amidst the factual errors, misleading turns of phrase and all-out smear. Tesla is a $100K sportscar manufacturer that is trying to branch into the $50K sports sedan game. That’s not the most egalitarian business model, which makes it an easy political target (green halo aside). But notice that none of the Motown cheerleaders are arguing against loans in general. Their point is that the money should go to the Detroit firms. But is a $40K Volt, or an off-the-shelf, Austrian-engineered Focus EV more patriotic or folksy? There’s no moral high ground in sight here, folks.