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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 NobleKain on 1/22/2010 8:26:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's easy to say the US should do more as a "government entity" when you don't live here.

There's very serious reasons why they DON'T do more... namely it would piss off a large portion of the population (dare I say majority?) for them to do so.

Why? because it's not our government's responsibility to do so. This is what makes us different than most of the other countries on that list: we're a largely capitalist nation, not socialist in nature. (It's leaning that way though)

What this means, as it relates to this discussion, is that the Government currently has limited power and responsibility to spend our tax money on things that don't help our own citizens (something that most of our representatives have forgotten). The American people, far and wide are a very very generous people, and it shows across the world. But that generosity lies in the hands of the people, not the government.

Truthfully, in a very legalistic sense, our government shouldn't be giving anything to other nations to the extent that it doesn't benefit the people here in this country. Realistically, that can't be possible though, due to much of what we offer would be outside the abilities of most all of our charities, private citizens, and churches. (Consider things like the Navy ships currently acting as floating hospitals in Haiti... not exactly a feasible option for the private sector). It's for that "real" reason that our government should be given any leniency to give away our money at all.

Don't get me wrong... this isn't a selfish thing I'm talking about. It is simply based on the charter of our Government... how we as a nation are structured vs. anywhere else in the world.

With that difference in mind, if you were take into account the private sector (including charities, corporations, individuals, and especially churches), you'd be hard pressed to find any other nation that gives as much. Add in our government, and I can guarantee you we top the list.

All that to say, I think it is safe to say the US government is doing more than enough.

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