While the traditional auto industry appears to be in a free fall with industry giants like General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford take the brunt of the hits; electric car companies are also facing similar hardships. DailyTech reported last week that the electric car industry is also noticing a steep downturn in sales.
Tesla Motors has been a headliner when it comes to electric vehicles thanks to its Roadster which features a $100,000+ price tag. However, the downturn in the economy forced the company to fire 90% of its employees in Rochester Hills, Michigan. In an incredibly tacky move, employees first found out about the layoffs from automotive blogs and then later from the corporate website.
It appears that the worst is not over for Tesla Motors. According to The Detroit News, the company is joining GM and Chrysler and is asking for a cash infusion from the government. Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk is asking the government for a $350 million loan.
"We can't move forward with that without a major amount of capital," proclaimed Musk. "If we don't get any government funding, then what we need to do is we need to wait until the capital markets recover, which could be a year or two years from now."
According to Musk, the money will used to build a $250 million assembly plant in California and develop its four-door, all-electric Model S sedan which will be priced less than $60,000. Without the low-interest loan, the company will have to delay the introduction of the vehicle.
If Tesla Motors is indeed approved for the $350 million, the money will come from an existing $25 billion Department of Energy fund that was put in place to stimulate the development of "green" vehicles.
Tesla Motors' sole current offering is the Roadster. The two-seater is priced at $109,000 and has a driving range of 220 miles. The vehicle can accelerate to 60 MPH in less than four seconds and can reach a top speed of 125 MPH.
quote: A year ago Tesla was being lauded as visionary, providing a clearly green alternative while bringing an electric car to market that provided performance on par with fossil-fuel-powered vehicles.
quote: then I think they are entitled to something.
quote: How in God's name do you expect Tesla to market something we can afford right off the bat?
quote: You gotta start somewhere!
quote: The batteries are not ready and there is no infrastructure to support away from home recharging.
quote: The Volt has a limited range like any car. Last I checked, infinite-capacity gas tanks don't exist.
quote: There are literally billions of electrical sockets around the world.
quote: You need to go back and read the definition of 'unlimited'.
quote: That $100k Roadster with help fund cheaper cars.
quote: Well, it helps to fund the 'upcoming' $60,000 Tesla sedan. That's cheaper.
quote: While we're at it, why don't we bail out John DeLorean too.
quote: C) $350 x10^ 6 in existing money, already budgeted for green vehicle R&D, to help bring a whole new technology to production and onto American roads.
quote: They want to produce more, but can't secure the funds to make more.
quote: Also, you've already paid for it.
quote: You can call it strings...and you can even call it a loan -- if it makes you feel better.
quote: And if the company NEVER makes money fron now until they go under - how is it a loan that BENEFITS the taxpayer?
quote: Even those given loans the 90s, 00s that couldn't afford homes at least put SOME sort of down payment.
quote: Is a BMW chasis worth $20k more than a Chevy Malibu chasis?
quote: .even if the Malibu can beat the BMW in road tests?
quote: The general welfare of the United States.