Tesla Death Watch 40: Or Should That Be Suicide Watch?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Bloomberg reports that Tesla Motors’ self-appointed CEO Elon Musk is threatening to not build its [theoretical] $57,499 four-door electric vehicle at a $250m San Jose factory if Uncle Sugar doesn’t fork-over $350m from the soon-to-be-depleted (or not) U.S. Department of Energy $25b loan program. This must please CA officials no end, as they risked the wrath of the entire Golden State business community by extending “special” tax credits galore to Tesla to “convince” the EV maker to locate production of their [theoretical] WhiteElephant sedan in The People’s Republic of California. (Hey! Didn’t New Mexico do the same thing? With the same result?) “We can’t move forward with that without a major amount of capital,” Musk told Bloomies. “If we don’t get any government funding then what we need to do is we need to wait until the capital markets recover, which could be a year or two years from now.” Or, in Tesla’s case, never. Hang on; $350m? Wasn’t that $400m the last time we looked?

“In addition to the $350 million loan application for the new sedan, Musk said Tesla is seeking $100 million to expand its drive train business in which it sells parts to other automakers and $200 million for a battery-cell production factory.”

So I make that $650m in taxpayer funds for a Silicon Valley start-up that’s sold– by its own count– 100 cars. Where do I sign?

Meanwhile, I’m glad to see that MSM has added the word “about” to Tesla’s range claims for their lithium-ion-powered trinket. “Musk today handed over the keys to Tesla’s 100th Roadster at its showroom in Menlo Park, California. The $109,000 car, which can travel about 240 miles on a single charge, was bought by Sam Perry, a Silicon Valley business consultant who was seen on television during President-elect Barack Obama’s election night acceptance speech being leaned on by talk show host Oprah Winfrey.”

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Stuki Stuki on Dec 10, 2008

    healthy skeptic : No one will put up 10 digits on spec, especially now. Unless The One is promising them a backstop, that is. If Your development needs 10 digits, you need to find ways to sell incremental advances until you get there. License, build components, whatever. That way, when you finally go full monty, you are doing so with a good share of already proven and debugged parts. As the software guys say, release early and often. But then again, contrary to popular belief, Musk is not really a software guy, but rather a fast talking megalomaniac who happened to be situated advantageously at a software company when it took off.

  • Fallout11 Fallout11 on Dec 12, 2008

    Tesla is selling pre-fabricated electric "kit cars" for an outrageous sum and deserves neither accolades nor tax dollars. What they do have is chutzpah and hubris.

  • Lou_BC Maybe if I ever buy a new car or CUV
  • Lou_BC How about telling China and Mexico, we'll accept 1 EV for every illegal you take off our hands ;)
  • Analoggrotto The original Tassos was likely conceived in one of these.
  • Lorenzo The unspoken killer is that batteries can't be repaired after a fender-bender and the cars are totaled by insurance companies. Very quickly, insurance premiums will be bigger than the the monthly payment, killing all sales. People will be snapping up all the clunkers Tim Healey can find.
  • Lorenzo Massachusetts - with the start/finish line at the tip of Cape Cod.