Tesla getting fed(eral loans)
Tesla Motors just got a $465 million loan from the DOE. California is waiving sales tax for over $300 million of Tesla's purchases. Since when did the government try and become a venture capital firm?
Saturday, January 23, 2010 - 19:41
Tesla Motors recently announced that it had received $465 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) also recently announced it would assume title of $320 million worth of manufacturing equipment purchased by Tesla directly from vendors so Tesla does not have to pay the sales tax. The intent, supporting green-energy proliferation through investment in Zero Emission Vehicles, is right. The investment, however, doesn't make sense.
I love everything behind Tesla. J.B. Straubel, one of the co-founders, is a fellow Stanford Cardinal. The cars are classy, have a sleek design, and can go from 0 to 60 MPH in less than four seconds. 900 Roadsters have already been delivered at over $125,000 a pop. The cars go at least 200 miles between charges (although the charging situation still is in trouble — it takes a typical wall plug an hour to add five miles of range).
Tesla said that they just reached profitability after seven years, but making one million in profits doesn't really help when you have $465 million to pay back soon. I don't see their business growing fast enough; the infrastructure simply isn't there in the United States to allow for these cars to be anything other than toys for California's richest and most energy conscious. After all, take a look at this — the directory for electic vehicle chargers in North America. There are some in California, Arizona, and ... Georgia? I'd love to test drive a Tesla, and maybe I'd buy one if I knew two things: I had the money and that I would be staying in California. I sure wouldn't invest in it.
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