And, in related news, Obama forces GM's CEO to step down in advance of federal auto-industry bailout for Detroit
Can we put one and one together here please?...
By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2009, 8:51pm PT  

Tesla Motors revealed its all-electric Model S sedan last week in Los Angeles. At half the price of its Roadster model, which was $109,000, the Model S will be priced at $49,900 after tax credits ($57,400 before such credits). "After factoring in savings on gas," Tesla points out, that's "comparable to a $35,000 Ford sedan," the New York Times reports. A blog item from the Times describes the Model S as "sleek, sporty and sexy."

Tesla hopes the price tag will come down to "less than $30,000," as the price "will presumably go down as the technology improves." They plan the manufactured version to get 300 miles to a single charge, with a 45-minute recharge time.

While the company has raised millions from private investors, they need still more to be able to set up a production plant, which they plan to do in Southern California. But, for the moment, they are waiting on federal loan programs, as the credit market has otherwise locked up, according to the Times.

In the meantime, Detroit's big three automakers are also asking for federal funds and, in advance of President Obama's announcement of plans for the auto-industry, he has reportedly demanded that GM's CEO step down. So let's add one plus one here...

From the Times:

Tesla hopes to receive one of two government loans it is seeking. One, a $250 million loan, would come from money Congress authorized in 2005 for clean energy projects. The first loan guarantee under the program was made to solar company Solyndra last week.

The second loan Tesla is seeking, $450 million, would come from $25 billion Congress authorized in 2007 for electric vehicle technologies.

The Energy Department has not granted any loans under that program and has been criticized for moving slowly. But the energy secretary, Steven Chu, has said he plans to distribute some of the money in coming weeks.

So, if the federal government is currently bailing out the Detroit automakers, who have refused (and/or failed) to bring an all-electric car to market since GM abandoned the very popular EV1 in the late 90's, for reasons still-unexplained, and since Tesla is waiting for federal loan guarantees, why not put two and two together and give them the loans, but require that they use Detroit plants to build the cars, in hopes of avoiding the layoffs of thousands of Big Three autoworkers?

And, we'll ask again, what the hell happened to the EV1? Who killed it and why? And why won't Congress or the White House find out for us before giving GM anything in bailout money?

In very related news tonight, AP reports that GM's Rick Wagoner will "step down immediately as chairman and cheif executive." Agence France-Presse says the move comes "at President Barack Obama's behest."

Obama is set to unveil his plan for an auto industry rescue package on Monday, "based on recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, headed by the Treasury Department," says Politico, who reports that the "surprise" announcement concerning Wagoner is due to his being "considered responsible for increasing GM's focus on trucks and SUVs—at the expense of the hybrids and fuel efficient cars that have become more popular in the last couple of years."

So, can we ask his replacement what happened to the EV1? And, in the meantime, since both GM and Tesla want government money and/or loan guarantees, can we use GM's factories and workers to build Tesla's Model S now? Please?

Share article...