Solyndra not surprisingly got a mention in the first Presidential debates on Wednesday night as a symbol of misplaced spending. But another cleantech company surprisingly got lumped into the mix, too: Tesla. My thoughts: Tesla is no Solyndra.

The first Model S customer is driven off

The ghost of Solyndra could not escape a mention in the first Presidential debate on Wednesday night — Mitt Romney yet again used Solyndra as an example of inappropriate subsidies from the Obama administration for clean energy. But Romney also called out another more surprising cleantech company: electric car maker Tesla.

Customer rides of the Model S Beta

Romney lumped Tesla in with Solyndra, Fisker Automotive and Ener1 as examples of misplaced spending. It’s true that Solyndra and Ener1 went bankrupt, and Fisker Automotive has clearly been struggling. But Tesla in general has been a success story of the stimulus, and is producing a widely praised electric car in Fremont, Calif, at the rate of 100 vehicles a week (for the last week of September). (To clarify, Tesla’s loan was from the Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing Program, not The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that bailed out the auto industry).

In addition, Tesla has been paying back its loan, it created jobs in California, and it’s helping customers move off of oil for transportation. The company had a successful IPO back in 2010, and its stock has been trading surprisingly high for months, if not years.

Yes, Tesla made an announcement last week that it is about four to five weeks behind production schedule for its Model S electric sedan, and that meant the company had to cut its annual revenue guidance. But Tesla is still largely on track, and I believe it is a game changer in the industry. At an event a few weeks ago Tesla investor Nancy Pfund, a partner with DBL Investors, said she thought Tesla would emerge as one of the defining success stories of Obama’s stimulus. If Tesla continues on its current path, I would agree.

Tesla is certainly not Solyndra.

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  1. Found this on Google, that is the only way I found this but is google running out of material to post your BS blog, story, fairytale!

    1. It would be better if you didn’t make this comment.

    2. Guildenstern Isdead Rich Thursday, October 4, 2012

      English, m*therf*cker, do you speak it?

  2. Romney’s wife probably still winds his watch for him in the morning.

  3. On more of a biz note, the success story of the stimulus is GM. By a country mile.

    And Tesla will begin paying off federal loans EARLY.

    1. You are kidding right? We have lost billions on GM and if they floated the stock owned by “we the people” on the open market, the stock would be worthless. I have nothing against GM, but the whole bailout was a payoff to UAW. That is what is wrong with it. It did not address the problem which was the union bloat. The taxpayers will never see the money from the GM “investment”.

      1. GM paid us back in 2010, remember?

        We haven’t lost billions, we’ve gained the first Big Three EV of the 21st century, for America.

      2. Suan, please read in full the article you posted, If you manage your own home finances I can’s see how anyone can say that GM paid back their loans. To put it simply… GM used a their visa card to pay for their discover card.

        For those that don’t want to read the link Suan Posted, here are the key points:
        Yes, it’s true that GM paid back its loan [ 6.7 billion ] from the Treasury Department, in full, ahead of schedule.

        But the debt was only part of the automaker bailout package. Through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Treasury gave GM $49.5 billion, most of which was converted into an ownership stake in the form of stock. Through this equity stake, the government still owns 61 percent of GM.

        So can you please tell me how that, in anyway constitutes a payback to the taxpayers?

      3. @ Susan Kraemer: “Right now, the federal government owns 500,000,000 shares of GM, or about 26% of the company. It would need to get about $53.00/share for these to break even on the bailout, but the stock closed at only $20.21/share on Tuesday. This left the government holding $10.1 billion worth of stock, and sitting on an unrealized loss of $16.4 billion.”


        As I stated, if we put the 500 million shares “we” owe on the market, the stock would be worthless and we would lose billions more than mentioned above. Also, as the article above states, GM is probably headed back to bankruptcy. You should not get your news from the WH.

  4. i am hopeful for tesla, but they may end up a solyndra if the EV market remains a niche. certainly they are doing as well as can be expected, but in the end if the non-early adopters continue to say NO to EV, then the entire EV ecosystem is in trouble. Now, if a miracle battery comes along…

  5. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy because the Chinese government subsidized the Chinese solar companies who then were able to sell at a much lower price on the world market. Romyan does not see this, as well as the other tea drinkers.

    1. Which is precisely why we should not have invested tax dollars in it. Private industry can see those series of events a mile away, which is why no one is throwing billions at the solar/wind/fantasy energy market. Boone Pickens (an oil man from way back) lost his ASS (billions)on wind, and got out of the wind market. As he said; “alternative energy sources are not ready yet, and pretending that they are with government money is folly.”

  6. No it’s not Solyndra, but the government has no business in business.

    1. So let GM and all its suppliers go bankrupt? What about the banks … should those have gone under too? The fed is the lender of last resort that should protect the foundations of the economy.

      Oh … and the Internet was a government project … so there’s that.

      1. The fed is the lender of last resort that should protect ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶f̶o̶u̶n̶d̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶s̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶e̶c̶o̶n̶o̶m̶y̶ those who make large campaign contributions. FTFY

    2. The government builds an airport. Who do you think that subsidizes? AIRLINES. The government builds a road, who do you think that subsidizes? Auto companies, oil companies and property owners along the new road. You really are clueless

    3. Ok, you want socialism, you’ll probably get it.

  7. Note to Katie:
    Romney was referring to the 90 billion dollars given to the clean energy companies (many of whom either failed completely or have certainly NOT returned the money with interest) vice the 2.8 billion dollars in tax breaks given to oil and gas companies. 90 billion. And all you can do is focus on this one company who has not completely failed and is . . . oh my gosh. . . paying back the loan? That’s it? That is all you have? 90 billion dollars. . . .

      1. I am not peddling anything JimBob.
        I like truth. Truth is good. Truth works.
        Not going to read or site a CNN fact check.
        CNN lost credibility with me in the mid 90’s.
        But, I would say that around a 13% failure rate is still staggering when considering the 90 billion dollars involved. That is a 13% FAILURE rate. Not taking into account companies who took the money and are barely afloat IE not paying it back.

    1. Yes. Thats the point of this article. His mention of Tesla. If you want to read an article on Romney’s endless criticism of incentives for clean energy companies there are a million other articles to read on that on that Interwebs.

      1. No thank you.
        I would like to read a story that has no bias, but just some objective facts regarding the context of the statement.
        I am not keen on a picking apart of words so that you can prop up your agenda.
        No wonder 60 percent of the public distrusts the media.
        This issue is not black and white.
        Learn to take the good with the bad, and don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong.
        I know it rarely happens that leftists are wrong, but I am willing to bet that the clean energy movement is far from perfect since, you know, human beings are behind it.

    2. Sorry but most of those funds are currently backing very successful companies. Solyndra was an anomaly. Obama failed to point that out. That 2.8 billion is every year. That 90 billion is a program started years ago that continues.

      1. Newsflash.
        Private industry is always better at generating winners and losers.
        If the government wanted to get involved with clean energy, it could have done a lot more with a lot less money.
        The act of taking smaller sums of money and offering grants to small groups such as college science clubs and small interested companies would have been much more likely to produce acceptable results. 500 million dollars for just one company that failed is far too much. We could have had 500 one million dollar grants that would have been a much better investment.
        I have nothing against clean energy. I think it is a wonderful idea.
        The difference is, I would like to go about getting there in a financially responsible and intelligent way.
        Defending an ideal is a great thing, but defending an ideal that is being implemented poorly for the sake of defending it is simply drinking the Kool Aid.

      2. Unfortunately the story that is never told is what happens to markets or products (or potential markets and products) when government invests in it. Defense endeavors aside (as a first responsibility of government, defense is unique, and investing in things like the space program or the precursors to the Internet do not belong in the same conversation), when government throws a few billion or a million at a company, private investors generally back away, because it’s like competing with a rich uncle, who doesn’t know how to invest wisely, he just gives his sisters kid a bunch of money with no strings. Investors want plans, they want returns, they want equity, which is what makes business development work. Who knows what innovations are either stalled or never started because of government involvement. Does anyone believe that the PC industry would be where it is now if the feds had thrown billions at IBM or one of those other companies (many that went belly up)? We’d have nowhere near the innovation in that market that we do. Bottom line is that government investment crowds out wise, successful investors.

  8. Let the free markets decide GM’s fate. If you want to live in a soviet style communist paradide, get out of my country

    1. It isn’t just about GM (or Chrysler) but also the supply chain. If the auto industry went under you would have a cascade series of bankruptcy. Many of those firms also design and supply materials for other industries. Even if some firms survived, they would be seriously set back and job losses would have been much higher.

  9. Perhaps… But the fact is…you can’t criticize Exxon/Mobile tax breaks and at the same time spend 50yrs worth on pretty much failed endeavors. B.O. Looked extremely outmatched and ill prepared without his TelePrompTer. You can vote for inexperienced politician for your countries CEO or you can vote for an experienced and successful businessman for your countries CEO. It’s obvious why companies hire experienced executives….why would our country deserve less? The last 4 yrs shows exactly what hype gets you…and your kids (future).

    1. The president is not a CEO! Lets play along with your analogy of prez=CEO and say that congress and the judges are VP. in any corporation a CEO can fire a VP. a president can’t.
      Romney doesn’t have an answer on how he will move legislation through a party of no (which the dems will become if he wins).

    2. The last four years show you what doing a good job is all about. maybe you missed October 2008. Would you like a reminder?
      October 10 2008 Dow Jones 8,451.19
      September 28th 2012 Dow Jones 13,437.13

      October 2008 job losses 240k for a year to date total of 1.2 MILLION
      August 2012 job gains 96,000 In the last 30 months that number has been 4.2 MILLION jobs.
      The previous 8 years there were a TOTAL of 3 million new jobs created.

      By the way, the government is NOT a business. It should not be run like one. If you think it should, then I all military spending should end, and we should hire it out to the cheapest bidder.

  10. Katie, are you working rapid response for the Obama team? It is not working. The point Romney is making is the government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers and all of these are losers and the ultimate loser is the taxpayers. I think the Tesla cars are pretty cool. I saw a Fisker recently, wow was it nice. But taxpayer money should not go into these enterprises. Does the government invest in Apple to make iPhones? NO. Let these car makers go out in the open market and find investors and let the market decide if they should make more.

    1. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-federal-bailout-that-saved-mitt-romney-20120829

      I will also point out that the Salt Lake CIty Olympics were a failure intil Willard went begging for money from you guessed it, the FEDERAL government. So in Willards eyes, the Olympic athlete is more important than a company that employees MILLIONS.

      1. Wow. Pointing to RollingStone for facts about anything?. . . . Really?. . . . RollingStone?. . . .

    2. Katie Fehrenbacher Doug Thursday, October 4, 2012

      I’m not making the argument that the loan programs were a good or bad idea. I also don’t think the government should be loaning that much money to high risk startups. We’re discussing if Tesla is the equivalent of Solyndra, Fisker, Ener1. Which I don’t think it is.

      1. I agree with you Tesla is cool. So is Fisker. Solar panels and windmills are cool too. I like Corvettes with gasoline engines as well as jet aircraft. But I am making the argument – The U.S. government should not be making investments in consumer startup companies. A NASA engineer I know says Elon Musk sure knows his way around the government trough. It does not matter if they pay the loans back. They should not be getting them in the first place. That is what banks and VC firms are for in a free market.

    3. CleanEnergyAuthority Doug Thursday, October 4, 2012

      The government has a roll in helping developing technologies ESPECIALLY when they support policies the admininistration feels are important, in these cases they are trying to combat carbon emissions thru EV’s, solar power. better batteries etc. If you bothered to look into ALL the investments and loan made thru this program you might change your tune. Sorry but music players are not quite as important to our economy as finding new sources of energy or developing industries that will halt slow down climate change.

      1. Do you think batteries are clean? I guess so if you ship them to be discarded in a open landfill in a remote area of China far away from your safe liberal neighborhood. How is that battery charged? Either through a nuclear or coal energy plant. We have plenty of energy here, but you do not want anything that uses oil and coal. You are not going to get your electric car charged with a windmill and solar panel. Oil and coal are cheap and effective. I am a free market guy and when the technology you prefer is viable, the free market will speak and people will buy it. But what you advocate for is not ready for prime time and my tax dollars should not go to subsidize it.

        As for the iPhone or similar products not being “quite important to our economy” look at this article that says the iPhone will boost GDP:


        Your comment proves the point that Romney made last night. You and Obama want to pick the winners and losers in our economy. Without the iPhone, it would seem our economy would be worse than it is.

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