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Tesla Model S  (Source: Tesla Motors)
Let the money flow...

The federal government seems to be quite happy with dishing out money for environmentally friendly ventures, and there are plenty of companies that are willing to take the funds and put them to good use. One such company is Tesla Motors.

Tesla Motors is probably most notable for its sexy all-electric Roadster. The $100,000+ sports car, which is based on the Lotus Elise chassis, has a driving range of 244 miles – one Tesla Roadster, however, was able to travel 313 miles on a single charge -- and can zip to 60 mph in less than four seconds. However, Tesla is looking to take its electric car-building prowess to a somewhat more mainstream audience with its four-door Model S electric sedan.

This is where the federal government steps in to work its magic. According to the Detroit News, Tesla Motors today closed on a deal to secure $465 million in low-cost loans from the Energy Department. The funds will be used to build manufacturing plants in California for the Model S and its powertrain.

The company was originally approved for the loan back in June of 2009. The $465 million will come from the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program which is providing a total of $25 billion to automakers that develop new fuel efficient vehicles. Other notable names to get in on the loans include Nissan ($1.6 billion) and Ford ($5.9 billion).

"This is an investment in our clean energy future that will create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

"It will help build a customer base and begin laying the foundation for American leadership in the growing electric vehicles industry. This is part of a sustained effort to develop and commercialize technologies that will be broadly deployed throughout the American auto industry."

As previously reported by DailyTech, the Model S will have a driving range of up to 300 miles and can dash to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. The fetching sedan weighs in at a portly 4,000 pounds (1,200 pounds of which comes from its lithium-ion battery pack). If all goes according to plan, the base Model S will cost around $50,000 after a government-backed $7,500 tax credit is taken into consideration. For comparison, the Chevrolet Volt is expected to cost in the “low 30s” after the $7,500 tax credit is applied. At that price point, GM still contends that it can make a profit.

The Model S is scheduled to go into production in 2012 and yearly output is pegged at 20,000 units per year.

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RE: clue me in on this...
By Targon on 1/22/2010 8:22:48 AM , Rating: 2
And, the problem people have with the US government right now is that the national debt keeps growing due to not bringing in enough tax revenue to cover what is being spent. Basically, the US government is in debt, and has NO business spending taxpayer money until they have paid off the debt and actually makes a profit.

I am all for donating to charity if you have money to spend, but when your debts are greater than your income, and there is no sign of having a year where there is a net profit for decades to come, then you should NOT be spending money on charity. The government should operate the same way, where until there is a budget surplus for more than one year, the money being spent on 'charity' and good will programs just shouldn't be spent at all. Let the PEOPLE who have money spend on charity. Or let the government have an official charity department that will accept donations for this or that cause, and distribute it in the name of the 'American people' or something.

You don't feel that those on welfare should be buying flat panel TVs and other electronic toys, do you? How would you feel if people on welfare were getting more nice things than those working their butts off just to pay their rent and avoid being thrown out into the street? If that doesn't seem right to you, then why do you support the US government spending money right now?

Now, on the subject at hand...

I don't find it a bad thing to invest in research and development, but is what Tesla and these other companies REALLY doing work to make all-electric cars that are cost effective? The Ford EcoBoost system does more for helping fuel efficiency than Tesla or these other companies are with their all electric cars that use current-generation batteries. What about using nanotube batteries as a true R&D effort?

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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