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Friday, March 27, 2009

Plugin without the hybrid

Tesla’s Model S sedan is back on again, after Tesla delayed the sedan and cancelled its San José factory.

In Friday’s paper, the LA Times reports that Tesla claims to be close to negotiating a deal for a factory in the LA region. Apparently the government subsidies prompted the move 300 miles south:
The company has applied for $400 million in government loans, which it says it needs to get the plant off the ground and the Model S fully developed. But because the competitive federal programs favor projects situated on previously used industrial sites (so-called brownfields) rather than new construction, Musk said it would be in the company's best interest to find such a location.

"We did a review, and we just don't have a 500,000-square-foot empty building with 24-foot ceilings," said Reed, pointing out that Southern California, with its glut of abandoned aircraft factories, is rife with such spaces.
The hope is that the $57k Model S — derived from the $109k Roadster — will ship in 2011. However, the LAT points out that Tesla has backed out of other earlier deals.

The first version I heard of the story — on the radio — noted that plug-in hybrids are due next year from a number of vendors, including GM and Toyota. Tesla founder Elon Musk has diss’d the plugins before, although they have the advantage of working with gasoline for longer range trips.

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