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Tesla Nabs $465M Government Loan To Build Model S

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the let's-call-it-the-people's-car dept.

Businesses 505

SignalFreq writes "Tesla Motors, based in San Carlos, California, was approved yesterday for $465M in loans from the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. Tesla plans to use $365M of the money to finance a manufacturing facility for the Model S (review, Letterman video) and $100M for a powertrain manufacturing plant in the SF Bay Area. 'Tesla will use the ATVM loan precisely the way that Congress intended — as the capital needed to build sustainable transport,' said Tesla CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk. Tesla expects the Model S to ship in late 2011 and the base cost to be $57,400 ($49,900 after a federal tax credit). Ford received $5.9B and Nissan received $1.6B under the same program."

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More bullshit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458037)

courtesy of the U.S. Gubmint!

Re:More bullshit (-1, Troll)

slummy (887268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458095)

Uh... courtesy of The Bilderberg Group [wikipedia.org] .

'nuff said

Re:More bullshit (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458403)

Please keep your conspiracy crap off the Internet.

Re:More bullshit (-1, Flamebait)

slummy (887268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458473)

That's like asking you to stop being gay.

Not going to happen.

Re:More bullshit (5, Funny)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458117)

More bullshit courtesy of the U.S. Gubmint!

I know. Just like those silly Interstate highways, the US Marine Corps, the US Postal Service that'll deliver a package of paper to any door in the US within a day or two for an affordable flat fee, and those terribly inefficient and socialized Firefighters and that neo-communist socialized Police Department. Government. Pah! Who needs it?

Re:More bullshit (0, Troll)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458273)

But..... RON PAUL?

(am I doing it right?)

Re:More bullshit (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458875)

Were you imagining that you were slurping Ayn Rand's kipperbox while you were posting?

If not then no, you fail it.

Re:More bullshit (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458311)

> I know. Just like those silly Interstate highways

Roads are specifically mentioned in the US Constitution. Pass

> the US Marine Corps

A Navy is specifically mentioned. The Marines are a sub unit of the Navy. Pass

> the US Postal Service that'll deliver

Postal service is permitted. Pass. But note that most packages use private carriers these days, the postal service is mostly for bills and junk mail.

> and those terribly inefficient and socialized Firefighters and that neo-communist socialized Police Department

Those services are not provided by the US government. Federal money for those purposes are unconstitutional. Good luck getting enough literate Supremes to be able to figure that out any time soon.

US Taxpayer money to a private automaker? Fail. Unless you can point me to the clause I missed that specifically grants the US government that power the 10th Amendment forbids it. Again, good luck finding five Supremes who can read.

Get The Fuck Off Slashdot Nutcase (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458383)

Go crawl back under the fucking rock you came from wacko.

No one gives a shit about your fucking loony ideology.

It's a Loan. (4, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458533)

It's not a handout. It's a loan. You know like the loans you can get for small businesses from the feds and state governments.

Re:It's a Loan. (2, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458715)

> It's not a handout. It's a loan.

It must be great to be young and naive. You probably think the TARP money will be paid back too. It will only be paid back if Tesla makes a crapload of profits instead of losing their ass on the deal. But if it was a sure fire moneymaker they could have raised the money on the private markets. Even in a recession and credit crisis there is venture capital looking for places to park. SO we must assume it is a high risk investment being financed with a very sweetheart low interest government loan. Essentially a gift to Tesla of the spread between the low rate the government loaned at vs the higher rate the open market would have charged for the risk.

Must be great to own a Congressman or Senator. Does it make me a bitter old cynic to just assume the facility in the "SF Bay area" will be in Speaker Pelosi's district?

Re:It's a Loan. (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458917)

But if it was a sure fire moneymaker they could have raised the money on the private markets. Even in a recession and credit crisis there is venture capital looking for places to park.

No, there was a liquidity crisis, so there weren't any banks making loans, and VC has been skittish for a while. I don't know what your problem is, but the TARP thing was needed.

Re:More bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458659)

interstate commerce clause??

Re:More bullshit (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458721)

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and *general Welfare* of the United States" U.S. Const. Article I, Section 8, Clause 1.

Libertarians, most. annoying. fanboys. ever.

Re:More bullshit (1)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458759)

There is always the good old general welfare clause. It is not hard to argue that getting us off of oil is beneficial to the general welfare of the nation.

Re:More bullshit (1)

bagorange (1531625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458899)

since i imagine this user is the most lunatic i will ever come across, i should ask here:
as a newbie scum commie, I can't find a way of ignoring posts by specific users.
Can anyone point me to a way of starting an ignore list.
It would be good not to waste bandwidth and screen space with the Fevered Founding Father Fundamentalism of this complete and utter loony.
(I wonder if jmorris's goal is to get left of centre people to waste their mod points on him?)

Re:More bullshit (0)

abroadst (541007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458343)

How is funding a boutique luxury car manufacturer at the rate of half a billion similar to funding interstates, military, postal service, etc.? Tesla does not even hope to provide shared infrastructure or essential services to the country as do these programs. I don't get it.

Re:More bullshit (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458553)

Is this really so hard to understand? This move is to ensure that the US has the best technology in the world for low-energy transportation. It increases US independence, in terms of finance, technology, and energy. That could be a lot more powerful than the interstate system, in the end.

Re:More bullshit (1)

abroadst (541007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458689)

Do you own shares in the company or something? It's awfully hard for me to believe that a boutique car company selling 50k+ vehicles is somehow going to transform the economy and have more impact than the interstate highway system. There is no new technology required to build electric cars. Even the batteries are good enough to provide enough power for most commuters today. If you want electric cars to be delivered next year you just have to do one thing -- increase the price of fuel dramatically. Until that happens none of this matters and no efforts short of that to move to electric cars will work.

Re:More bullshit (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458799)

"This move is to ensure that the US has the best technology in the world for low-energy transportation."

Not even half a gigabuck will convince Americans to ride bikes. *ducks*

Re:More bullshit (2, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458363)

More bullshit courtesy of the U.S. Gubmint!

I know. Just like those silly Interstate highways, the US Marine Corps, the US Postal Service that'll deliver a package of paper to any door in the US within a day or two for an affordable flat fee, and those terribly inefficient and socialized Firefighters and that neo-communist socialized Police Department. Government. Pah! Who needs it?

The Republicans are involved at the highest levels of government. If anybody would be in a position to fix it instead of complaining about it then it would be them, or at least them when they had control of all three branches not too long ago. So why didn't they do anything about it? And if it's a system that cannot be fixed and they do not believe in it, why are they still a part of it?

If us IT geeks went about our jobs like Republicans, we'd be saying stuff like "Bah, stupid computers! Management wants to do another IT project. Just another pointless boondoggle that will get screwed up, mark my words! We'd all be better off going back to paper! Who wants some pencil-necked geek standing between you and your work telling you what you can or can't do with some stupid blinking box?"

Re:More bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458447)

Give that man some mod points. He's right on the mark.

Re:More bullshit (0)

ThePlague (30616) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458411)

I'll bite. The Interstate Highways, Marines, and post office are all in the constitution. The first is largely funded by the individual states, but promoting commerce is one of the main duties of the feds. Likewise, defense is written in there as well as the post office. All three are hugely expensive and mostly a waste of money, but at least there's a direct mandate for them in the defining document of this republic. Firefighters and police are local, nothing to do with the federal government at all. And neither should throwing money at idiotic ventures, but that's pork spending for you.

And people wonder how we got to have a trillion dollar deficit, and 13 trillion in national debt. Amazing.

Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458649)

Do everyone a favor and just shut the fuck up.

k?

Re:More bullshit (1)

saider (177166) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458591)

Correct me if I am wrong, but the Postal Service is funded by postage, not taxpayer money. All the other stuff is typical government stuff.

A better analogy would be NASA. Most of the work of building an launching things is done by contractors, not the government itself. Having the government pay a company to develop something is not unheard of. The only thing I hope they did is stipulate that the technology is free to all takers since it was funded with public money.

Re:More bullshit (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458639)

More bullshit courtesy of the U.S. Gubmint!

I know. Just like those silly Interstate highways,

Highway construction is mostly managed by states: Federal subsidy reduces the incentive to keep costs down and effectively eliminates the consideration of other alternatives like rail.

the US Marine Corps,

Needed to maintain the oil supplies that support the fuel-inefficient transportation system. They're not defending the borders.

the US Postal Service that'll deliver a package of paper to any door in the US within a day or two for an affordable flat fee,

They were the best alternative because federal law prohibited competition. FedEx and UPS are doing a pretty good job in niches where they are allowed.

and those terribly inefficient and socialized Firefighters and that neo-communist socialized Police Department. Government. Pah! Who needs it?

Those are local government, not U.S. government.

Just because the Federal government did something which we are now dependent on because the subsidies helped destroy the alternatives, doesn't mean it was a blessing.

Of course government is necessary, and all entrenched power is wasteful, whether its government, corporations, or otherwise. And government does do useful stuff that wouldn't get done otherwise. But it also wastes an enormous amount of resources.

So now luxury cars are being subsidized, paid for by the confiscated earnings of people who can not themselves afford such cars. At least its a loan and not a grant.

A requirement for the loan (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458079)

should have been a 25K car cost cap.
That way most people could only barely not afford it.

Re:A requirement for the loan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458179)

why put a cap on Tesla? $500 million is nothing compared to the $6billion the government flushed down the toilet when they gave it ford, nobody is going to buy a ford anytime soon regardless of the price.

Re:A requirement for the loan (3, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458229)

Um, as far as I know, Ford hasn't taken any of the bailout money, nor is Ford bankrupt, unlike Chrysler and GM.

Re:A requirement for the loan (1, Troll)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458291)

Fail. [bloomberg.com]

Re:A requirement for the loan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458503)

fucking dumbass. That's not 5.9B in bailout money it's the 5.9B that this story is talking about. It's a loan to development a more fuel efficient car not stay afloat like chrysler or gm.

you likewise fail.

Re:A requirement for the loan (-1, Troll)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458873)

"Fucking dumbass" back at you -- the GP never said it was bailout money. Your imagination inserted that in there.

Re:A requirement for the loan (1)

louiswins (1017272) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458733)

From the first sentence of your link:

Ford Motor Co., the only U.S. automaker not receiving emergency federal loans,

Ford will go bankrupt. (0, Troll)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458309)

Yet... trust me, they will be bankrupt within 3 to 4 months with the current depressed state of new car sales in America.

Ford got in trouble before the depression started, and sold off their assets while they still had value. That was dumb luck, not foresight.

Re:A requirement for the loan (1)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458449)

Of the [formerly] big 3, Ford seems to be the only one who managed to maintain profitability. As my economist pal tells me, they did it by pushing their fleet vehicles heavily. The F-series work trucks and E-series commercial vans are a particularly profitable market segment for them, and Chrysler never had much in that sector, and GM's offerings were never really taken seriously outside of GMC heavy trucks (>5ton) and Suburban/Tahoe for "security contractors"

Re:A requirement for the loan (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458247)

As far as I know, Ford declined to take any bailout money from the government, they just said they might need to take a loan.

Also, since about the year 2000, Fords have been hugely improved over earlier years, and they've been much more reliable.

Re:A requirement for the loan (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458329)

The article is about Tesla, that's why I named them.

Really, I can solve the auto issue.
In fact, the administration should hire me, give me "too much latitude" ahve me solve it and be terribly sorry for me action.
Meanwhile I will be put on a trial in the media and by the time I resign, people will be used to my changes and feel good something was done.

BTW I ahve been talking to people and a lot of them have bought fords in the last 2 months.
If I was in the market, I would buy a Ford. Fords reputation is largely undeserved.

Re:A requirement for the loan (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458373)

True... ish. 500M is not much compared to 6B.

Ford does have the distinction of the Detroit 3 of being the only one to not take bailout (ahem... loan) money for the core business. In fact, Ford's done a hell of a job getting their act together and they do have 3 of the top 10 spots in new car sales in the US (including the 1 overall). So... Not quite.

source: A little Google-ing - http://jalopnik.com/5277118/top-ten-best-selling-cars-may-2009 [jalopnik.com]

Re:A requirement for the loan (2, Insightful)

speroni (1258316) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458385)

Do government car-maker loans work the same way as student loans? For a student loan, you have to pay it back with interest regardless of what happens. Can't get out of a student loan going bankrupt or anything?

Re:A requirement for the loan (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458303)

You want to restrict their ability to get paid back for their R&D? Their expensive cars are paying for the R&D for them to make cheaper cars.

Re:A requirement for the loan (3, Informative)

ivucica (1001089) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458857)

Well, at least they're having more luck squeezing money out of people than real Nikola Tesla... [wikipedia.org]

Despite having sold his AC electricity patents, Tesla was destitute and died with significant debts. Later that year the US Supreme Court upheld Tesla's patent number, in effect recognizing him as the inventor of radio.

Immediately after Tesla's death became known, the government's Alien Property Custodian office took possession of his papers and property, despite his US citizenship. His safe at the hotel was also opened.

...

Tesla's family and the Yugoslav embassy struggled with the American authorities to gain these items after his death due to the potential significance of some of his research.

Re:A requirement for the loan (5, Insightful)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458393)

The technology does not exist yet to make a $25k electric car that can succeed in the American market. Tesla is right to start with the high-price, high-profit end of the market and work their way down to the high-volume mainstream as the technology matures and the supply chain scales up. Trying to start out by making a capable electric car for the mainstream American market is a much riskier move, and requires much more up-front money - hence the much larger handouts that have gone to the more established automakers. Tesla, on the other hand, has already established their electric vehicle business as profitable, and can use their profits and experience from the Roadster to help subsidize the development of the Model S.

Re:A requirement for the loan (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458629)

Exactly. Tesla's approach is perfectly cogent. Starting a car company is a *huge* expense. Look at what Coda is having to go through to bring a new car to the US -- they mentioned that they still need to crash another *30 to 40 cars* to get certified. And that's just the half of it. There are no volume parts producers for EV components. Look at the Roadster transmission fiasco -- there literally was no multi-gear transmission in the world that would work with their motor, and when they spent a fortune trying to get a company to engineer one for them, what they ended up with couldn't take the stress.

The logical approach, then, is to piggyback as much work as you can onto that of an existing manufacturer (in this case, Lotus), focus only on what's different, and start at the high end so that you can absorb the capital costs into the vehicle price without creating sticker shock. People expect a carbon fiber car that does 0-60 in 4 seconds to be expensive. The fact that low-volume EV drivetrain components are super-expensive doesn't matter there, because so are the low-volume ICE components that they compete against.

This is the next logical step: an independently developed, not-piggybacked, luxury sedan. This means building a large-volume factory, with a chassis developed from scratch that's designed for your EV needs. Of course, this is incredibly expensive. Hence the need to raise a ton of capital. In the middle of a financial crisis. :P

Once they've retired that risk, even higher volumes/lower prices become realistic. Which is their plan with the Bluestar.

That seems to be the same approach being taken by Fisker. I think a reasonable alternative approach is that being taken by Aptera. Three wheels to skirt the federal requirements, but put a heavy *independent* focus on safety, with a vehicle that's so uber-streamlined and lightweight that it simply doesn't need a powerful drivetrain or large battery pack to perform well. Hence they can start at near the bottom of the market, where there is a lot less competition. Once they're rolling off the lines, you can expect to see from them what Tesla is doing now -- raising large amounts of money to build a factory for a more mainstream, higher volume sedan (although they'll almost certainly keep their extreme-efficiency focus).

Re:A requirement for the loan (4, Insightful)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458445)

should have been a 25K car cost cap.

In the electric car industry, that's simply too big a jump to make all at once. If your ultimate goal is to produce 200,000 $25k cars a year, and the current state of the art is 2,000 $100k cars a year (the Tesla Roadster), then it's only reasonable to expect to produce 20,000 $50k cars (the Tesla Model S) as a stepping-stone. The market is there, and those early adopters will facilitate the eventual availability of the $25k mass-market car you're talking about. If you do the math, the "rich" purchasers of the Model S will be kicking in about one billion dollars a year towards this goal, double the government loan amount. So think before you knock 'em.

Re:A requirement for the loan (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458607)

Hence the reason those of us who could purchased a Roadster and put money down on the Model S. It's not like you can invest in Tesla personally to help the EV cause out unless you know Elon personally.

Re:A requirement for the loan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458749)

It's a luxury sedan. That's about in line with other cars in its class.

I still wouldn't buy it even if I was in the market (I occasionally have trips longer than the range, so I'd rather not drive almost all the way there, get towed the rest of the way, charge, drive most of the way back, get towed the rest of the way...)

Model S (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458129)

The S is for socialism.

Re:Model S (1, Insightful)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458235)

Obama socialist?
Even the head of the America's Socialist Party [washingtonpost.com] doesn't think so. Propaganda rule #1: At least get the disinformation believable. Otherwise it just makes Obama haters appear stupid. Just sayin..

Re:Model S (5, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458287)

Obama socialist?

People who claim that Obama or the American Democratic party for that matter is socialist needs to take a trip around the globe. In many European countries the Democrats would be considered a right wing party.

Re:Model S (0, Troll)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458361)

Yes, and we all know that because of all the privacy issues in Europe mostly because of their more socialist policies we really need to adopt that!

Re:Model S (5, Funny)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458375)

People who claim that Obama or the American Democratic party for that matter is socialist needs to take a trip around the globe.

The kind of people who claim that Obama is socialist aren't the kind of people that travel around the globe. Well OK, Gov. Sanford does, but the REST of them...

Re:Model S (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458609)

Being less socialist doesn't change anything. That is like saying I am not a murderer if I only kill one person as opposed to that guy over there who killed 10. Give me a break.

Re:Model S (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458673)

Being less socialist doesn't change anything. That is like saying I am not a murderer if I only kill one person as opposed to that guy over there who killed 10. Give me a break.

You're equating socialism with murder? Really? That's like saying you're a fascist if your political preference is slightly to the right.

Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458655)

Slightly less socialist than the Socialist Workers Party or Europe.

Noted.

Re:Model S (0, Flamebait)

blhack (921171) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458895)

This ridiculous argument makes my blood boil.

The term "liberal" or "conservative" is relative to what is considered normal for the country. Centerists are right down the middle, liberals are to the left, conservatives are to the right.

Relative to Stalin, yeah, Obama is a hard-line conservative; relative to what is considered normal for American politics, he is an ultra liberal in favor of major social programs OR! wait for it.....a socialist.
 

Re:Model S (-1, Troll)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458369)

Obama socialist?

Taking money from successful business ventures (those who can still afford to pay a slave's tax) and giving it to failed business ventures just to keep them open? That is socialism. I don't know what Alice-and-Wonderland sort of definition you're operating under that doesn't think so. The only thing wrong with saying "Obama is a socialist" is that you're keeping the list too small. Obama isn't the only one writing these punish-the-smart-to-save-the-stupid-and-greedy checks.

Re:Model S (0)

philipgar (595691) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458437)

I don't know why you're being modded up for this comment... The parent poster never said that Obama was a socialist. Instead, he referred to this program as a socialist program. It's hard to argue that it isn't. It's definitely the government interfering with private enterprise for no good reason.

Besides, I could care less whether or not the leader of the socialist party considers Obama a socialist or not. Many of his policies are in line with socialist viewpoints (for that matter, many of McCain's and Bush's policies were in line with socialist views). He is expanding the government's reach in industry, and this is being done at a remarkably fast pace. It's no wonder the deficit is growing by leaps and bounds and other countries are threatening to stop loaning the US government money. We're on a quick path to either bankrupt the government, or reexamine double digit inflation (there just aren't enough rich people to soak up all the increased pork spending being proposed). Of course it's all good because in 10 years we'll have greener engines that no one can afford to buy. Have fun with that.

Phil

Wasted taxpayer dollars (0, Troll)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458137)

In other words the taxpayers just had half a billion stolen from them and given to some idiot Californicators to waste on building overpriced cars that will only sell if they are subsidized with yet more taxpayer dollars.

Seriously, if these cars were such a great moneymaking venture I don't think California is lacking in venture capitalists even in a recession. You only go to the government with hat in hand if you know it is a losing idea but can be made politically appealing anyway. These days you just have to say "green!" to crack open the piggy bank.

Re:Wasted taxpayer dollars (4, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458433)

Wrong in so many ways.

1) It's not a grant. It's a loan.
2) The Model S is right in the price range of high-end luxury sedans (which is what they're making).
3) Tesla got the overwhelming majority of their Roadsters when there was no EV tax credit. Sure, it'll increase their Model S sales volume, but they'd still sell a ton without it.
4) The whole world is lacking in venture capital right now. It's called a financial crisis. About the only entity that investors trust to loan money to these days are major world governments. Hence, that makes them effectively the only entity able to give loans worth half a billion dollars to all but the most established large businesses.
5) If you have such a problem with half a billion dollar loan, I'd hate to see how you'd react to the $5.9 billion loan Ford just got from the same program.

Re:Wasted taxpayer dollars (3, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458613)

> If you have such a problem with half a billion dollar loan, I'd hate to see how
> you'd react to the $5.9 billion loan Ford just got from the same program.

I'm pissed off about that too. I'm pissed off at the money we are pissing away on the auto bailouts in general. We spent all that money.... and they went bankrupt anyway. But since they cheated and didn't let them do a proper bankruptcy it's going to be f&%king Groundhog Day in Detroit for the next 3 1/2 years as they keep going bankrupt over and over again and the US taxpayer keeps stuffing money down the UAW rathole and relaunching the zombie automakers.

Re:Wasted taxpayer dollars (3, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458463)

In other words the taxpayers just had half a billion stolen from them and given to some idiot Californicators to waste on building overpriced cars that will only sell if they are subsidized with yet more taxpayer dollars.

Seriously, if these cars were such a great moneymaking venture I don't think California is lacking in venture capitalists even in a recession. You only go to the government with hat in hand if you know it is a losing idea but can be made politically appealing anyway. These days you just have to say "green!" to crack open the piggy bank.

Who built the Interstates?

Re:Wasted taxpayer dollars (3, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458703)

People, with machines.

Re:Wasted taxpayer dollars (4, Insightful)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458627)

You remind me of my Dad in 1975 when new cars were required to have catalytic converters and could no longer use leaded gas.

It is a Willy on Wheels! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458149)

Imagine your willy being smacked by j.delanoy until it cums in oragemikes mouth.

Green Car on a Budget - Innovation Not Required (2, Interesting)

abroadst (541007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458165)

I'm anti-subsidy for luxury car manufacturers. Starting at $49,900 -- bah! How about spending a fraction of this to rip out the engine of a Chevy Aveo and put in an electric motor? How about an electric car people can actually buy? Innovation not required!

Re:Green Car on a Budget - Innovation Not Required (5, Informative)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458321)

Tesla is the only company in the world selling production electric cars that are fully street-legal. They started with a $100K car, and now they're doing a $50K car. They have a $30K car planned for after that.

Basically, you need economies of scale to get the cost of these cars down. Tesla's riding that curve, and plans to eventually have cheaper cars than Ford. This is a potentially great place to invest in American innovation, not to mention the environmental benefits or jobs.

Re:Green Car on a Budget - Innovation Not Required (0, Troll)

abroadst (541007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458465)

I just don't know why we have to keep on waiting for an electric car we can buy off in the future. Electric cars aren't new. This isn't about innovation. There is no new technology required to deliver electric cars. Just retool the factories and get started. Now that the government owns a big part of GM why not have a cheap electric car for 2010?

Re:Green Car on a Budget - Innovation Not Required (1)

JonBuck (112195) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458699)

You want them to develop a whole new vehicle in six months? Really? Do you realize that includes factory tooling, creating supply chains, training workers?

A friend of mine works for GM. In 2007 they had re-tooled the factory he worked in at a cost of $2.5 billion. The interest on the loan for that retooling is more per day than every employee in the plant combined.

What is lacking, and what Tesla and other startups (like Aptera) are trying to do, is create electric cars cheap enough and with competitive performance levels (longer ranges, short recharge times) with IC vehicles.

Re:Green Car on a Budget - Innovation Not Required (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458777)

Tesla is the only company in the world selling production electric cars that are fully street-legal.

BYD F3DM? Mitsubishi MiEV? Subaru Stella EV? AC Propulsion E-Box? Etc?

Re:Green Car on a Budget - Innovation Not Required (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458453)

AS it turns out, electric cars people will buy are costly to make.
Not teslaa expensive, but expensive.

How about selling a 45MPG car base model at cost +2000. If they have a working trad in more then 10 years old, drop the price to cost.

Re:Green Car on a Budget - Innovation Not Required (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458477)

Though it's not exactly inexpensive, the cost of ownership of these things is very low. They have 10% of the moving parts of a standard ICE vehicle. No transmission. Batteries will last 7-10 years. No oil changes, no belts, no nothing. Only thing you need is electricity (which with most utilities you can get a time of use nighttime rate which is extremely cheap), and tires every few tens of thousands of miles. Over its lifetime, the Model S will compare favorably to a car costing more like $35k (not cheap, but getting there), particularly if you charge on cheap nighttime rates.

A point about nighttime rates. Most utilities actually have this, but are not allowed to offer it publicly to customers (regulators don't want customers to feel pressured into signing up for these rate classes which help the utility balance load more easily). However, if you call your utility and ask, you'll find many have a residential rate class which will give you peak rates during the day (maybe 10-15 cents/kWh) and night time rates after 9pm (2-4 cents/kWh). This is huge if you have an EV. The most basic charging set up these days has a built in timer so you can set them automatically to charge only during certain times, on a preset schedule, so you get home, plug in as soon as you get there, and the system handles the rest.
 

My Unstoppable Tesla Prediction: +1, True (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458195)

Tesla will be out of business ( a.k.a. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy) by Jan. 1, 2012 along with Chrysler and General Motors.

Go China.

Yours In Communism,
Kilgore Trout

loans for everyone! (2, Interesting)

SEAL (88488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458221)

Anyone left wondering why our tax dollars are funding a loan for Nissan while U.S. auto companies are struggling?

Re:loans for everyone! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458293)

They gave the most money to Ford. GM and Chrysler didn't get money in this round because only viable companies were considered for Loans. Tesla is considered viable because they're backed by Daimler (you know, Mercedes Benz?). Chrysler and GM are in bankruptcy court, so they don't exactly qualify. Call me again when they can cover the debts they already owe.

Re:loans for everyone! (5, Insightful)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458405)

just a guess, but it could be because of the 3 manufacturing plants and 1100 dealerships Nissan has in the US.

Congrats! You're 'That Guy' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458843)

Before anyone even opened up this article you knew there were going to be idiots who:

1. Didn't bother to read the fucking article

2. Saw a Japanese company name

3. Immediately posted an idiotic 'US loan going to Japanese company? WTF???' post

Re:loans for everyone! (1)

JM78 (1042206) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458885)

Anyone left wondering why our tax dollars are funding ANY car company not showing considerable focus on sustainable tech? Tesla I get - the other two don't deserve a penny.

News for nerds, not ideologues. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458241)

Good grief. This is awesome. What's wrong with you people?

Why are you such knee-jerk ideologues? A government spending money is socialism? Are you that stupid?

This is an honest-to-goodness American technology company building some very cool 21st century vehicles.

I'm really ashamed of America sometimes.

Re:News for nerds, not ideologues. (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458709)

Why are you such knee-jerk ideologues? A government spending money is socialism?

It is! What, you want this country to turn into Cuba?

By the way, would you mind putting out my flaming shoe [youtube.com] so I don't have to rely on a socialist fire department?

Overpriced. (1)

r1v3t3d (1266554) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458359)

Seems silly to dump such a large sum into a company that is in fact making luxury cars. Sustainable? Sure, if you're upper-class white America. What about those of us who want a reliable, energy efficient car without sacrificing our children's education to get it? Tesla is doing good work, but I don't think they should be getting taxpayer dollars for something that ultimately I won't be able to afford anytime in the foreseeable future.

Re:Overpriced. (4, Insightful)

kagaku (774787) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458425)

Cars are cheap because nearly everybody in this country needs a car. You need a car to get to work, you need it to get to school and you need it for recreation. Sure, if you happen to live in a major city there is also mass transit, but for a large percentage of the population a car is a necessary reality.

Now, with that being said - what happens when something is produced in such great numbers? Economies of scale - the price is driven down due to mass production. Vehicles that cost $13,000 USD are a reality and they're not half bad either. A pretty decent car can be purchased for $20,000, and a really good car for $30,000. Luxury vehicles are nearly anything $40,000 and above.

What about electric cars? They aren't mass produced in any great number just yet, because so far everyone is content with dropping $13,000 on a car that's just "good enough" for their needs. Why do I need an electric vehicle? What benefit does it give me _right now_? Fuel costs decrease significantly, yes - but enough to offset the price of the car? Probably not, even over the lifetime of the vehicle. Therein lies the problem.

Electric vehicles - especially from a non-big 3 startup - are something I believe the government should assist. Your tax dollars are helping fund the future, because while you may not be able to afford this vehicle at $50,000, you might be able to afford the next car they produce using the profits of the Model S.

When the world is filled with "good enough" and people who like "good enough" - how do you convince people to switch to something better?

Re:Overpriced. (1)

r1v3t3d (1266554) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458559)

You make an excellent point, and I agree. Thing is, I live near downtown Salt Lake City, but my office is located in such a place as to make mass transit a damn joke (two and a half hours each way, with a one-mile hike included, for what should be a 10-to-15-minute drive). If it were up to me, I'd never own another car again. I like walking. I like using mass transit for the fact that it lets someone else feel the road rage on my behalf. I like being able to read or get some work done on the way to work. But sadly, I'm also a single parent, and money does not come easily for me. My car just gave up on me, and while I qualify for financing, they want 10% down, which is going to be more than I bring home in a single check. The auto and banking industries do not make it easy or sustainable for people like me to get the help we need. All I want is to be able to provide for my child and not spend 1/4 of my day commuting, when I could be spending that time with him or engaged in one of my many hobbies. Oh, well. Some things never change, even when they do.

Re:Overpriced. (3, Insightful)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458823)

When the world is filled with "good enough" and people who like "good enough" - how do you convince people to switch to something better?

Ask Apple — that is, once they recover from the devastating choices of entering the saturated mp3 player and smartphone markets.

Re:Overpriced. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458861)

Seems silly to dump such a large sum into a company that is in fact making luxury cars. Sustainable? Sure, if you're upper-class white America.

      If you look at the history of cars, they were always owned by the rich people first. EVENTUALLY Joe Average was able to afford one. But as GM and Chrysler (and numerous banks) have proven, you can't make money by selling something to the poor - by definition they don't have any money. If you want a poor person's car, TATA motors has a vehicle for you. But for under $3k, expect it to be a disposable piece of garbage. But hey, it beats waiting at the bus stop, and if you're not THAT poor, just buy two.

ABOUT freakin' time (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458381)

We need electric cars, and they will only "happen" with economies of scale. This money will get the ball rolling and hopefully a viable electric vehicle will result. We need them. NOW. Not 10 years from now. NOW.

Now, if eeStor's ultracapacitors can ramp up, we might actually have a private transportation sector in 10 years.

RS

Re:ABOUT freakin' time (2, Informative)

WinPimp2K (301497) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458827)

Electric cars will be nice, but putting the plant in California is massively wrong and stinks of rotten pork.

If Tesla is going to succeed in the long run, they need to be in a pro-busioness climate, and not in a state that needs money so badly the punitive tax burden combined with out of control state regulators will force them to either go belly up, or move their facilities to another state later (at great expense and possibly triggering additional fallout from the Feds for not staying in CA).

Tesla Fanboi (2, Informative)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458389)

I've been watching Tesla since day one. The make cars the way they should be made. You place an order for your car, then the car is built. It was privately financed until this infusion of funds. For what the model S is and does the price isn't to high. I looked at buying a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo and it clocked in at $42,000, while I was shopping I noticed that entry level BMW's and Audi's were also at the $40,000 mark. So I saved $22,000 and bought a 2009 Corolla. My next car will be a Tesla as soon as they start selling them on the east coast. The Model S is as nice a car as an Audi or BMW, without the need to change the oil or pay at the pump. It makes the Chevy volt look like a joke and puts all the hybrids to shame, it is the ultimate commuter car.

Re:Tesla Fanboi (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458787)

without the need to change the oil or pay at the pump.

      You do have to pay for a new battery every once in a while though. Don't remember the estimated price (I think it was every 6 or 12 months), but it was steep. Hopefully if they make more cars the prices for those parts will come down, and it will turn into a real savings. But for now you're substituting fuel costs for battery costs and other maintenance fees.

solar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458399)

What... all that money and no solar panels?

Nissan? (1, Troll)

SiO2 (124860) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458459)

"...Nissan received $1.6B under the same program."

Nissan? Why is the United States government giving money to Nissan? Shouldn't the Japanese government do that and not the U. S. taxpayer?

I know that I'm going to catch hell for this and probably get modded a troll. So be it. However, as a currently unemployed U. S. citizen who has had a job and paying into the system since I was twelve, I have to wonder where the hell is my federal government bailout money? State unemployment doesn't pay hardly anything. The U. S. government gave over a billion dollars to a foreign company, but a hard working citizen like myself, who really wants to work, gets next to nothing.

I apologize for the rant.

If anybody is looking for a systems/network administrator, who has over twenty years of solid experience, in the NE Ohio area, let me know.

SiO2

Re:Nissan? (4, Insightful)

bagorange (1531625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458677)

SiO2 (124860)

Why is the United States government giving money to Nissan? Shouldn't the Japanese government do that and not the U. S. taxpayer?

They are getting money because they are trying to produce a car that might help the US reduce its dependence on dangerous, foreign, terror-funding oil.
They are getting money because they might employ you, and many other US citizens.
They are in a better position to employ you and others than 2 of the 3 major American car manufacturers because they are not shite.
Surely you don't think they are taking the money back to Tokyo to spend on kimonos?

Fisker Karma (1)

supermegadope (990952) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458545)

Hopefully Fisker can get the same deal from the feds to make the Karma !!! Which would really help me because I am loaded up on QTWW stock ;)

Fleet Car (5, Insightful)

W.Mandamus (536033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458555)

At $50,000 the Model S is more likely to be used as a fleet car then something you use at home. For those who say this is a waste of money I'd like to point three things out: 1. GM spend 1.2 BILLION to build a PROTOTYPE electric car, which they didn't put into productions. This is money to build a factory that will actually um make cars. 2. Tesla is going to use this money to build electric vehicle components in the US for other companies. Having that kind of production is the US is BIG DEAL for our balance ot trade. 3. Tesla is more likely to pay

Re:Fleet Car (1)

W.Mandamus (536033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458583)

back the money then the only one of the big three US automakers not to seek bankruptcy protection (yet). I wish slashdot had an edit feature.

Battery replacement cost? (2, Interesting)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458623)

That thing looks hot.

My only concern is battery replacement. Replacing a UPS battery is roughly half the cost of the UPS. If cars like these get the same battery economy that would mean $25k every 5-7 years according to their FAQ. (I'm just guessing here based on battery life; they made no mention of battery replacement costs)

Their FAQ claims the car is a great lasting investment due to lack of complexity and moving parts, but having to drop $25k every 6 years for a new battery would be a deal breaker.

I do wish them luck though, it's way past time we stopped supporting extremists in the middle east. Not to mention that fact that a complete 300 mile recharge would cost about $4.

Re:Battery replacement cost? (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458905)

Fewer moving parts would imply less maintainance (not enough to offset that battery cost), but that brings up the question: what do you do to get your car repaired? I don't know if dealers would be equipped to deal with it, assuming there even would be dealers instead of having to buy the car direct. Low maintainance would be great, but that would quickly be offset if you have to send it to California whenever it does have problems.

Model Tee Hee Hee (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#28458743)

If they are on "S" now, then the next model in line is "T". The potential confusion cannot be good for marketing. Reminds me of the door company that made a "Commodoor-64".
       

Gaycart (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458791)

Gaycart. Wankermobile. Teabagtrolley.

gn44 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28458909)

Disturbing. If you
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