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DOE Loan Payoff - Positive PR and Winning Over Conservatives

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by igotzzoom, May 28, 2013.

  1. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    I'm a relative n00b here, so I apologize if this has already been rehashed elsewhere on the forums, but I just wanted to get everyone's thoughts about what the potential affect the early DOE loan payoff could have on Tesla's public perception among those that might not be considered among its "typical" demographic/psychographic.

    I consider myself relatively politically conservative (libertarian-leaning) but have been a big fan and enthusiast of Tesla from day one. Having been an automotive journalist for over a decade, I found it interesting to see the PR boost that Ford got from not taking a bailout, and I think Tesla will receive (if it hasn't already) a similar boost from paying off its DOE loans early.

    I cringed during the debates when Romney lumped Tesla in with the "losers," knowing the inaccuracy of that statement, just like "All Jeep production is going to China."

    Although conservatives are often stereotyped as driving big, gas-guzzling V-8 SUVs, I think there are many that are concerned about our energy policy, if not for CO2 emissions per se, for foreign oil dependence (although that seems like it's rapidly becoming a moot point). I think it was a brilliant move by Musk and Tesla to get the DOE loans paid off, and proving that a new-tech car company can get on its own two feet, free of Uncle Sam's wallet.
     
  2. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    The attack has shifted to the $7,500 federal tax credit (that other plug-ins get too) now. They ignore the countless subsidies and tax credits the ethanol, oil and gas industry have gotten over the decades as well. I agree it's sad this is a wedge issue and people can't actually focus on the problem of becoming more energy independent.
     
  3. GlennAlanBerry

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    Yep. The $7500.00 Federal tax credit, plus any State tax credits, along with the "long tail-pipe" argument. I also see a lot of "talk to me when an EV costs $20K, has a 500 mile range, and can recharge in five minutes", along with "I will drive my F-150 from coast-to-coast, following the speed limit, while you drive your Tesla, and we will see who arrives first" type arguments. I think there are two main camps of anti-EV, anti-Tesla people out there:

    1. People who have never seen a Tesla, much less driven or owned one, who have not even read any reviews or done any research whatsoever, who blindly parrot whatever they have heard on Fox News or read in the conservative blogosphere. Most of these people will be basically inconvincible, no matter what Tesla does or what the objective facts are.

    2. People who probably know better, but have ulterior motives for being strongly against BEVs and Tesla. Maybe they are shorts in TSLA, or maybe they are hoping to protect the status-quo as far as the ICE manufacturers, dealers, and the supporting infrastructure.
     
  4. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    Well, I'd hope the ultimate end-game would be for EVs to be financially viable without tax credits. I know we're a ways off from that, but I believe all industries are ultimately healthier without reliance on market-distorting incentives.

    Having grown up in Silicon Valley, I guess I have a little different perspective than a lot of the rest of the country that see EVs as nothing more than government-subsidized glorified golf carts.
     
  5. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Take a moment to count the win here. It's no longer a Tesla-specific complaint but a general government one. That's potentially huge for Tesla.
     
  6. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    I think Tesla will be the defining automaker of the EV revolution. As low-volume and expensive as the Model S is, I already see a TON of them in California. When the Gen-III sedan hits the roads, I think it will have well silenced whatever critics remain.
     
  7. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    [moderator's note: please continue the policy angle discussion here. There's a parallel thread in the Investor's forum discussing whether the repayment was good for Tesla financially.]

    The ATVM loan raised real issues because it appeared to "pick winners and losers" among companies. One can complain that an EV tax credit is also picking winners and losers, but it's among competing products, rather than supporting a particular competitor. As @brianman points out, this moves the heat away from Tesla specifically, which is good.
     
  8. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    Going off on a bit of tangent, I bought some Sunpower stock and NOT Solyndra. I'm not an engineering expert, but just from what I researched about their R&D and technology, Sunpower seemed like a much more promising long-term bet, and so far, have not been disappointed with the (stock) performance. Wish I would have gotten in on TSLA a long time ago, but like they say, hindsight's 20/20. People can say what they want about Musk being a control freak, but the fanatical attention to detail shows in the excellence and quality of the product. Something it seems Fisker was sorely lacking, with "musical executives" being played every six months.

    However you feel about the DOE loan or the federal credits, the more independent Tesla can be from subsidies, the better off they will be in the long-term, and I think Musk knows it.
     

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