However, the big news is that Tesla is seeking $350 million in low interest loans to develop its (currently on hold) plans for a mass market ($58k) four-door sedan. The parallels to the bailout of the Detroit three are unavoidable.
Despite such parallels, CEO Elon Musk rejects the analogy. As KCBS radio summarized
Tesla needs government capital, but the federal loan the electric car manufacturer wants to use to finance production on a battery-powered sedan does not come from the auto industry bailout now being debated in Congress.So it’s coming from a different pot of money, and (perhaps) the plan predated the recent collapse of demand for consumer durables.
The San Carlos-based company is awaiting a $350 million loan from the Department of Energy under a program Congress approved last year to encourage the development of energy- efficient vehicles.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that money would finance a plant in San Jose where the Model S—to be priced just under $60,000—will be developed.
He was quick to clarify the money would go towards future development rather than existing day-to-day operating costs, a crucial difference between the DOE program and the bailout of the Big Three.
Certainly the Tesla funding is more consonant with existing DOE policy to encourage alternative fuel vehicles, rather than the recent tendency of Washington politicians to offer (as both left and right deride it) a “bridge loan to nowhere.”