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Transportation The Almighty Buck

Tesla Motors Getting $10 Million From California For Model X Production 191

Posted by Soulskill
from the apparently-building-cars-is-expensive dept.
The California Energy Commission has awarded a $10 million grant to Tesla Motors for the company to buy equipment necessary for the production of its Model X electric SUV. Tesla will have to match the funds with $50 million of its own money. From the article: "It was something of a love fest for Tesla at the energy commission meeting in Sacramento as commissioners and other regulators praised Tesla as an innovator that has brought automotive manufacturing back to California while creating clean cars and more than 1,500 jobs. 'Tesla has the unique distinction of being the only automaker to actually ask us to increase our targets under zero emission rules,' said Ryan McCarthy, the science and technology policy advisor to the chair of the California Air Resources Board. ... 'Tesla’s Gen 3 vehicle could ultimately be a game changer for electric vehicles and air quality and public health in California,' added McCarthy, referring to Tesla’s plans to build an electric car in the $30,000 range. Its latest car, the Model S sedan, sells between $50,000 and $100,000 and the Model X, which is based on the Model S platform, is expected to sell in that price range."
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Tesla Motors Getting $10 Million From California For Model X Production

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  • Cool. (Score:5, Funny)

    by dtmancom (925636) <gordon2@dtman . c om> on Saturday October 13, 2012 @12:40PM (#41642171) Homepage
    Nice to see California is flush with cash.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sometimes the only way to make money is to spend money. Austerity is not necessarily a path to prosperity. I know there's a lot of people who think they can cut cut cut and that'll make things work out for the best, but sometimes you need to expand your offerings, or invest in yourself to reduce costs.

      Think of somebody with a house. Say they spend a lot of money on heating because their house isn't well-insulted. Now they could just cut down their heating, but that has the cost of making the person unco

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by houstonbofh (602064)

        Think of somebody with a house. Say they spend a lot of money on heating because their house isn't well-insulted. Now they could just cut down their heating, but that has the cost of making the person uncomfortable, and less able to work. Wouldn't it be feasible for said person to go into debt in order to improve their house's ability to retain heat?

        We are way beyond "going into debt." We are spending like a drunken frat boy at a bachelor party with a new Amex Gold card. (New card because all the old ones are full.)

      • Sometimes the only way to make money is to spend money. Austerity is not necessarily a path to prosperity.

        If someone had $500,000 in debt and told you that they were considering using the deed to their car to secure a $30,000 loan to try to start a new business from the ground up, would you say they were:
        A) A savvy businessman
        or
        B) Out of their mind?

        Sometimes that idea of "spending to make" is utterly retarded, and one of the scenarios is when you are deep deep in the red and cannot afford the consequences of losing out on the risk you are taking.

        • Re:Cool. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by aaarrrgggh (9205) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @02:09PM (#41642781)

          Sometimes that idea of "spending to make" is utterly retarded, and one of the scenarios is when you are deep deep in the red and cannot afford the consequences of losing out on the risk you are taking.

          The risks are ever diminishing as you get deeper into debt below your net worth. Taking measured risks is ok, but the extra components are knowing what the potential reward is, and understanding any second and third order risks (such as the losing your car and not being able to get any other work).

          California is spending money to keep jobs in-state. They will recover half the money they spend through sales tax revenue from the equipment purchase. The remaining $3,400 per employee will hopefully be recovered in income taxes, at least over a 2-3 year period. If there happens to be any economic ripple effect then the payback will be much faster.

          Selling a kidney for money to start a business from the ground up on the other hand...

          • California is spending money to keep jobs in-state.

            They can keep jobs in state by relaxing ridiculous regulation. California is number one in the nation in term of losing jobs and productive people in the last few years and the main cause is the overbearing business regulation and taxes. A 10 million grant to a specific hand picked oh so green and wonderful company isn't going to make a slightest bit of difference. In any case, as soon as Tesla becomes a mature auto maker instead of a novelty comp

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Constantly analogizing the financial position of a government to that of an individual or a household is of limited value. Macroeconomics is not like household economics. On the personal scale, reaching zero debt is a nice goal. For a government, which is immortal, achieving zero debt is unnecessary and actually unwise. Yes, it's best to keep debt down to a low percentage of GDP, but the reality of economic cycles is such that in a down economy, debt will -- and should -- go up, in order to ensure econo

      • by hendridm (302246)

        Except that most people don't want an electric vehicle. Expensive (especially Tesla!), batteries that need (expensive) replacement, can't tow anything, can't drive long distances.

        My VW Jetta TDI is cheaper, doesn't run on batteries, gets great mileage, and can drive anywhere. It can't tow stuff, though, but could you imagine an electric truck? You'd be lucky if the thing had enough to power itself, much less haul anything.

        Families need an economic distance vehicle with great mileage for commutes and trips,

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 13, 2012 @02:29PM (#41642923)

          Ah, somebody is thinking they can get some stories past us.

          Your Jetta DOES run on an energy storage system, that's why you have to keep buying gasoline. Much of which is wasted in terms of heat. But don't pretend it's any different than a battery.

          Most people drive short distances most of the time, they don't take long trips, they don't need to tow, they don't need to go a hundred miles at a time. And no, they don't need to haul hundreds of pounds of stuff. Sorry, but the reality is most people need a lot less car than you think.

          As for maintenance, an electric motor IS a lot simpler than an internal combustion one. They're not expensive to maintain at all, and yes, the batteries can be recycled.

          Unlike the pollutants spewing out the back-end of your Jetta. Those are just going to pollute the air.

          And yes, there ARE electric trucks. And Tractors. Goodness me, don't you know anything?

          • by hendridm (302246)

            Most people drive short distances most of the time, they don't take long trips, they don't need to tow, they don't need to go a hundred miles at a time. And no, they don't need to haul hundreds of pounds of stuff. Sorry, but the reality is most people need a lot less car than you think.

            I'm curious, is this the Slashdot consensus? Anybody else want to chime in, because it certainly isn't true for me or really most of the people I know.

            As for maintenance, an electric motor IS a lot simpler than an internal combustion one. They're not expensive to maintain at all

            Oh, how much does it cost for a set of new batteries? (I'm genuinely curious as I have no clue)

            And yes, there ARE electric trucks. And Tractors.

            Indeed, but I'm concerned that it won't pull my boat [travelpete.com]. :/

            • Hard to tell what "consensus" is, but I've got a pretty long commute -- it's about 45 miles in each direction. Counting for inefficiencies and the fact that MPGs lie, if I could buy a reasonably-priced 200 mile EV, I'd jump on it. That said, my family would probably keep at least one gas vehicle. Right now, we have 3 gas vehicle -- going to 2 EVs, 1 gas would be delightful.

              Replacing Prius batteries is either a $1000 job if you want to do it yourself and get it from eBay or about $2300 for the new battery

              • by hendridm (302246)

                Hard to tell what "consensus" is, but I've got a pretty long commute -- it's about 45 miles in each direction.

                Well, that's not too shabby, but there are times when I want to visit family or drive somewhere for a staycation.

                Right now, we have 3 gas vehicle -- going to 2 EVs, 1 gas would be delightful. Replacing Prius batteries is either a $1000 job if you want to do it yourself and get it from eBay or about $2300 for the new battery pack (plus some dealer work -- figure on a total of about $3000).

                That doesn't sound too fiscally friendly to me, but if you are a handy person and your main concern is the environment, I say kudos. Do you feel that the emissions on a higher-efficiency gas/diesel powered vehicle are lower than a vehicle charged by coal power plants (which is the primary source of power generation in my area, sadly)? I have no clue as I haven't read any studies.

                Some people say

                • by amorsen (7485)

                  Do you feel that the emissions on a higher-efficiency gas/diesel powered vehicle are lower than a vehicle charged by coal power plants

                  For one thing, an electric vehicle can just about run on the amount of electricity needed to refine the amount of petrol a petrol car uses to go the same distance... However you are unlikely to place a refinery where energy is expensive, so that is probably hydro power or similar.

                  But no, in most cases an electric car run on pure coal power loses out to a typical efficient less-than 100g CO2/km car. If you charge it at night you can win though, because it is likely that the power plants will still be idling,

            • by rgbrenner (317308)

              slashdot concensus? try Facts
              http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/facts/2010_fotw615.html [energy.gov]

              average: 10 miles
              average to work: 12.6 miles

              • by hendridm (302246)

                Wow, I stand corrected. I'm amazed that the average trip length is only 10 miles. We folks in Wisconsin must be busy folks!

                I drive more than 10 miles to get my mail. Do you people ever go anywhere? We road trip to the cities all the time.

                • by sumdumass (711423)

                  You are not really corrected. The definition of a trip is from one address to another. If you drove to the bank, then to the movies, perhaps dinner out, and a stop at the store on the way home, it would count as 5 trips. I would consider it as one trip. Using the average of 10 miles, it could be about 50 miles in reality.

                  Just yesterday, I drove to my brothers (12 miles), picked him up and drove to a business to pay a bill (9 miles) then we got lunch, (4 miles), went into town to see some politicians think o

                • by Smidge204 (605297)

                  Wow, I stand corrected. I'm amazed that the average trip length is only 10 miles. We folks in Wisconsin must be busy folks!

                  I drive more than 10 miles to get my mail. Do you people ever go anywhere? We road trip to the cities all the time.

                  Here's the problem: Apparently you folks in Wisconsin live in the middle of fucking nowhere! Of course even the most basic of errands will require a full compliment of rations and an overnight stay. The majority of the country, however, lives in a neighborhood where most if not all of the things you need are within a few (under 10) miles at least. That includes most recreational needs.
                  =Smidge=

          • by hendridm (302246)

            Unlike the pollutants spewing out the back-end of your Jetta. Those are just going to pollute the air.

            Oh, I forgot to ask - Does driving an electric vehicle (power largely by coal plants where I am) have a net benefit in terms of pollution? Again, I am genuinely curious.

        • by Luckyo (1726890)

          Indeed, how do those huge, mining transportation trucks ever power themselves. Or trains. Surely not with electric motors?

          Electric engines are in fact cheaper to maintain, can do distance runs and hauling far better then internal combustion engines. They have far better range of high torque, far higher torque, far simpler engine designs resulting in having a lot less points of failure and cheap maintenance.

          The only problem they have right now is energy storage density. Everything else, electric engines demo

          • by hendridm (302246)

            Electric engines are in fact cheaper to maintain, can do distance runs and hauling far better then internal combustion engines. They have far better range of high torque, far higher torque, far simpler engine designs resulting in having a lot less points of failure and cheap maintenance.

            The only problem they have right now is energy storage density. Everything else, electric engines demolish ICE:s on. That is why those huge mining haulers actually run on electric engines which are powered by diesel generators rather then hooking those diesels directly to the wheels.

            So which EVs do you recommend a person like me purchase that needs one vehicle for mileage (I generally would want to make a 200 mile trip without stopping to plug it in) and one work vehicle (capable of pulling a boat, trailer full of stuff, or maybe a piece of furniture that I've impulsively purchased)? I'd rather not be limited in what I can do by the capabilities of my vehicles.

            • by Luckyo (1726890)

              The problem of energy storage is not yet solved, as stated in the last paragraph of the post you quoted. Therefore, none.

              Granted, with your attention span I would recommend not driving a vehicle at all. If you can't hold attention long enough before hitting reply with quote to read through the entire thing you're going to quote, you must be one hell of a risk factor to both yourself and other drivers when behind the wheel on long rides.

              • by hendridm (302246)

                Granted, with your attention span I would recommend not driving a vehicle at all. If you can't hold attention long enough before hitting reply with quote to read through the entire thing you're going to quote, you must be one hell of a risk factor to both yourself and other drivers when behind the wheel on long rides.

                Wait, I'm really confused (probably due to my short attention span)...

                Electric engines are in fact cheaper to maintain, can do distance runs and hauling far better then internal combustion engines.

                (emphasis mine)

                The problem of energy storage is not yet solved, as stated in the last paragraph of the post you quoted. Therefore, none.

                So do I want an EV, or should I stick with my fuel-efficient diesel?

                • by Smidge204 (605297)

                  So do I want an EV, or should I stick with my fuel-efficient diesel?

                  You can split the difference and get a hybrid. They do make hybrid SUVs and pickup trucks for your towing needs, and something like the plug-in Toyota Prius might be a good fit for your long commute vehicle - if they need to be separate vehicles. In terms of fuel efficiency you're quite near the edge where the Prius outperforms the Chevy Volt, which has a longer all-electric range but slightly worse fuel economy so for longer trips the Prius wins out.
                  =Smidge=

      • by khallow (566160)

        Sometimes the only way to make money is to spend money. Austerity is not necessarily a path to prosperity. I know there's a lot of people who think they can cut cut cut and that'll make things work out for the best, but sometimes you need to expand your offerings, or invest in yourself to reduce costs.

        Here's the thing the anti-austerity people tend to ignore. The private world is a hell of a lot more effective at investing than the public world. All that cutting is putting money back in the pockets of the people who actually know how to invest it. So of course, cutting ill-directed public spending (which I might add frequently has no connection to any sort of Keynesian strategy, even a "Pay people to dig ditches and fill them up" approach) means economic growth.

        One only needs to look at today's world

    • Nice to see California is flush with cash.

      Well California "saved" money by buying bridge components (cables, towers, deck, etc) for the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge from foreign sources. That "frees" up money for other pet projects.

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        The Golden Gate Bridge was built in Pennsylvania. Not a foreign country, but the money was not exactly kept in the local economy.

        • >>new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
          >The Golden Gate Bridge

          uh, and what does the the later have to do with the former?

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            I assumed that the post was a sarcastic critique of the decision to buy foreign-made parts for the new bridge. I was just pointing out that the most famous bridge in CA was also built outside of the local economy.

      • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

        That was an asinine decision in retrospect. But, at the time, the construction industry was flush with cash and likely thought they could charge a little extra.

        At least the technology isn't there yet to build a five-mile long bridge in China, test it, and float it over to the US, set it in place, and be done. At that point, it won't be loss of $200MM to the local economy, it will be $7B.

    • Nice to see California is flush with cash.

      Californians ARE flush with cash. The State of California just needs to get it from 'em. Recent events have shown that Californians will pay any price for a gallon of gas. So the State should just add $1 of Tesla Tax to every gallon of gas. The State can use the money to buy Teslas for the poor any needy. Since everyone will be poor and needy after paying that tax, that will make Tesla high volume producer and the costs of the Teslas will fall. Yep. That should work as well as other government altern

    • by Locutus (9039)
      as one of the comments on TFA site states, 700 jobs at even $50K each and just over 9% State tax is $3.5 million annually. So the State makes their money back just in direct employment taxes in about 3 years. Add to it the sales tax on the vehicles and all the money moving around by building them in CA and it seems like a no brainer considering Tesla has proven they can build good cars already.

      LoB
  • The Tesla design is still too expensive, the future of electric powered LUV's (light utility vehicles) will be decided by John Deere and Harley Davidson with the able assistance of the Argonne Laboratory vehicle group and the price point will be $15,000. Stick that in your Silicon Valley you tofu eating, suckers! HOOAH!

    -Outrider-6 out

  • I can't think of a single instance where I'd need to accelerate from a dead stop to 60mph, as quickly as possible. Every time I take my car out, though, I drive a couple of hundred miles at least.

    Once electric cars have comparable performance in both speed *and* range to conventional vehicles, they'll be a much easier sell. Until now, I'll stick with diesel.

    • They use it because it's about the only thing competitive with a combustion car.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      I can't think of a single reason I'd want to drive a couple hundred miles. Every time I go on my delivery route I need to stop and go very quickly.

      • by Gordonjcp (186804)

        Right, but you don't need to accelerate from 0 to 60mph at absolute wide open throttle. Well, unless all your deliveries are at the far end of the drag strip?

        • I do actually accelerate hard on a regular basis - highway entrance ramps are very similar to drag strips, except that you stop accelerating once you get to the speed of traffic (70-80 mph). One of the things to remember is that the current market for these cars is not people in rural areas; they simply don't have the range and charging speed yet. In town I'll get on the highway for my 6 mile trip to work, or if I want to go to a specialty store. And since they're targetting people in places like Califor

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @01:13PM (#41642435) Homepage

    In Bob Lutz's "Car Guys vs. Bean Counters", Lutz writes that it was the Tesla roadster that woke up GM. Tesla made the first electric that could really zoom. That shook up the car guys; they thought electrics would be wimpy forever. GM was wary after the EV-1, where they lost money on every car. Lutz describes the session where the Chevy Volt was sketched out on a napkin.

    Tesla is making rapid progress on price - a $100K car, a $50K car, a $30K car... That's very Silicon Valley. At last, batteries are good enough. Now they just cost too much.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      GM was wary after the EV-1, where they lost money on every car.

      GM could have sold the EV-1s for essentially any price. But they didn't even try to recoup their costs by selling the cars. Granted, they'd have had to support them. If they didn't use mostly off the shelf components for the parts they're obligated to replace, that's their own fault.

      • That's an ugly story. GM wanted to source known good parts for the EV1 from Siemens, Panasonic and others. But Delco and Delphi, GM's part suppliers and sister companies, insisted on being able to supply the parts, so GM spent millions of dollars designing and custom-building motors, controllers and batteries through its subsidiaries instead of using off-the-shelf components.

        Even then, the cost to develop the EV1, including the design of the car and all of its custom components, as well as the advanced
    • Tesla is NOT RESPONSIBLE for GM developing it. Lutz says that he was able to start an 'electric' car line in response to it. However, it is lutz that was responsible for the start of it, and sadly, it was the financial idiots that gutted the volt and turned it into the nightmare that it is.
  • So, the only car manufacturer that stands to gain if California increases targets for electric vehicles also happens to be the only one asking California to increase those standards? I'm shocked!

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