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Vice-Presidential Debate: Tesla Escapes, Fisker Only Nodded To

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Representative Paul Ryan

Representative Paul Ryan

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There's probably relief in Palo Alto this morning, as Tesla Motors executives quietly give thanks that their company was not named in last night's vice-presidential debate.

The startup electric-car company in Silicon Valley was explicitly cited in last week's presidential debate by candidate Mitt Romney, who deemed Tesla a 'loser'.

Romney's criticism of Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] last week--along with Fisker Automotive, cell maker Ener1, and solar panel maker Solyndra--came as he attacked the Obama Administration's investments in green energy.

Last night, vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan only alluded in passing to the those Administration programs--and he only indicted one company, indirectly at that.

Ryan said, according to the complete debate transcript:

Was it a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland or on windmills in China?

The phrase "electric cars in Finland" refers to Fisker Automotive's use of subcontactor Valmet, located in Finland, to assemble its Karma range-extended electric luxury sedan.

After Ryan's question, incumbent vice-president Biden interjected, but Ryan continued:

Was it a good idea to borrow all this money from countries like China ... and spend it on all these various different interest groups?

Biden responded:

Let me tell you it was a good idea. It was a good idea -- Moody’s and others said that this was exactly what we needed that stopped us from going off the cliff. It set the conditions to be able to grow again.

We have -- in fact, 4 percent of those green jobs didn’t go under -- or went -- went -- went under -- didn’t work. It’s a better batting average than investment bankers have. They have about a 40 percent -- (inaudible) -- loss.

But when Ryan continued by questioning an Administration projection of 5 million green jobs, moderator Martha Raddatz firmly moved the topic to Medicare and entitlements.

And that was the end of it.

Fisker has said that of the Department of Energy loans it received before further disbursements were suspended, none of the money went toward the Finland facility.

The company has purchased a defunct GM plant in Wilmington, Delaware, which it intended to use to manufacture its next car, the Atlantic mid-size sedan.

Whether that will happen, and when, remains unclear.

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Comments (12)
  1. wow, possibly the dumbest article ever. Of course tesla is relieved, they're all chickens anyways. The EV industry needs bulls. Gas is 5 bucks people! playing "oooh, we weren't called out by the p**sy school yard bully" is weak! Check out real balls... see our fight... ElectricCars.com
     
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  2. I agree that the EV industry needs bulls. We need to demonstrate that EVs are fun and exciting. A bit of drift and burn out action will help. So will electric motor sport.
    Also, if we focus on benefit to jobs, energy security and health, that will help get more people advocating for EVs.

    Check out what Arnold had to say http://www.misselectric.com/2011/11/27/arnold-schwarzenegger-wows-at-zero-conference/
     
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  3. I didn't know the situation regarding Tesla & Fisker being mentioned in the US debates, so this article was useful for me, certainly not dumb.
     
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  4. Has anyone from the EV community lobbied all politicians and showed them the benefits of EVs? Have all the presidential and vice-presidential candidates been offered a ride in an EV?

    Attitudes can change really quick after a ride in an EV.
     
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  5. "Attitudes can change really quick after a ride in an EV."

    -Tiger Woods
     
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  6. @Randall: Not clear what you're trying to say here. I'm not finding that quote attributed to Tiger Woods. Can you source it for us? Or are you attempting to make some kind of joke?
     
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  7. All golf carts are electric. Tiger Woods does Buick commercials...get it? Yes...it was a joke.
     
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  8. Most golf carts are 2-stroke gas, actually.

    Neil
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  9. At least Paul Ryan looks slightly less ill informed than Mitt Romney because though he is mistaken/lying about US tax money being spend on car production in Finland at least he doesn't call Tesla a looser like his boss where there are no clear signs so far that it is. Model S production is ramping up rather slower than expected but with a rather amazing 13000 orders on tap things look actually pretty good for Tesla so far.
     
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  10. Why isn't Tesla a company Americans can be proud of?
     
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  11. That's an excellent question. Maybe because Elon Musk is seen as a liberal?

    Neil
     
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  12. I happen to be proud of Tesla. I hope to own a Tesla some day.
     
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