Tesla, Awaiting U.S. Aid, Unveils Its Electric Car – NYTimes.com

Tesla, Awaiting U.S. Aid, Unveils Its Electric Car – NYTimes.com. (subscription required)

A Silicon Valley startup, called Tesla Motors (can’t help but notice the similarity in name to Nicola Tesla, the inventor of the radio … any relation?), has a fully electric sedan that they’re itching to build. They can’t get their design past the modeling stage without a $450M loan from the Feds. Fed loan money has pretty much dried up thanks to the credit crisis, leaving us gas guzzlers laying down our trail of carbon monoxide and other noxious fumes as we drive our fossil fueled sedans, SUVs, and Keystone Kops Kars through the streets.

Tesla has spent $50M developing their new electric sedan — the Model S — and needs $250-300M more. They’ve gotten $186M from investors and need the rest on loan from the government.

The government isn’t lending money right now. This is choking Tesla and other green-energy startups … I hope not completely to death, since I like the idea of a fully electric sedan. I hope it has the power to handle highway speeds.

I also hope that their new fully electric car will be priced and made available such that Real People like you and me can afford to buy it, unlike Tesla’s other product, a $109,000 Roadster that is out in a very limited edition of 300 cars (with 1000 wannabe owners waiting in line). This is a product that everyone needs to be able to afford. Gasoline prices will skyrocket again soon enough (supply and demand requires that; gasoline is a finite resource) and gas-powered internal combustion engines are eating the planet alive. A fully electric car, powered with renewable energy, is just the ticket.

IF they makes its new car affordable and powerful enough to handle highways, Tesla just might have a herd of Proboscidea by the very large collective tail. If they price it and do limited production runs such that only multi-millionaires can buy it, the planet and the public will suffer.