Tesla to Receive Goverment Money to Build Electric Cars

If you thought that Tesla Motors hadn’t hit the big time, that it was just a fringe, even infant car company next to the big boys like Ford, GM, or Toyota, today’s bit of news might help change that notion. Like the major automakers, it too will now receive government funding.
Dozens of auto companies, suppliers, and battery makers have sought a total of $38 billion from a federal loan program to develop fuel-efficient vehicles, an AP article reported this morning. Alongside Ford and Nissan, two automakers that have EVs in the pipeline that will also get government funding in this new proposal, Tesla will receive roughly $465 million to build electric drive trains and vehicles.
“By supporting key technologies and sound business plans, we can jumpstart the production of fuel-efficient vehicles in America,” US Energy Secretary, Steven Chu said. Though, as Chu later alludes to, this will definitely help create more jobs and hopefully reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, it also begs the question if this is the best use of the money.

Wouldn’t it also be worthwhile to dedicate funds to creating an infrastructure that will support EV usage? I mean, we can have all the Tesla Roadsters zooming around our streets as we want, but where are they going to get charged? And if we don’t have the right systems in place, will their use actually be better for the environment, considering that the energy use to recharge the EVs needs to be generated somewhere?
Shai Agassi, the charismatic head of Better Place, has been a major proponent of the EV revolution for quite some time now. However, Agassi argues that without the proper infrastructure in place, without charging stations throughout strategic transportation arteries that source clean, renewable energy, EV usage could actually be worse for the environment and economy.
So then, is this news of Tesla government funding a step in the right direction to reduce the transportation industry’s huge environmental footprint, or yet another moment of missing the mark?

Ashwin is an Associate Editor of Triple Pundit. He recently returned to the Bay Area after living in Argentina, where he wholeheartedly missed the Pacific Ocean. He is a freelance editor and media and marketing consultant.After a brief stint working in the wine world, when not staring blankly at a computer screen, you'll find him working on Anand Confections or at 826 Valencia, where he has been a long-time volunteer.

2 responses

  1. Perhaps its my skeptical nature, but I tend to agree with you and Agassi. What Tesla is doing is great, but as you say, if we achieve nothing more than a few more of them zipping around, then I fear we have achieved too little.
    Working around the edges is fine to prove technologies, but more than just technology is required. Technology coupled with a fundamental shift in thinking and an entire rebuilding of the energy infrastructure is, in my opinion, what is needed. So is government funding of Tesla a step in the right direction? That remains to be seen, if it is thought that the funding in and of itself and getting a few more of them on the road is all that needs doing, then it may be a false step.

  2. Diesel is the most fuel-efficient car. Electric cars will happen with improved 100% PVC that can continuously charge EV batteries. Wasting billion on hydrogen fuel cell driven by special interest that will add billions to their fortunes, on the other hand nanoantennas solar is receiving nothing. Before you fix the economy you need to fix government corruption.

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