Tesla, Tesla, Tesla

I was in Houston Texas. The land of big oil. But the car company that kept popping up was big oil’s arch enemy Tesla.

First, I was in Galleria mall doing a little shopping when I stumbled upon a Tesla store. Well it is not really a store because you can’t buy a Tesla there. It is a showroom where you can get up close with the cars and ask any questions your heart desires. I was told that according to Texas law they are unable to sell cars from the mall however they are there to educate the public. I love the concept. Go shopping for shoes and a cute dress but one can also find out about more about the environmentally friendly cars with kick. If you wish to purchase one, they direct to their web site.

Then I decided to catch the Romney-Obama debate. Did you watch it? If not, you can get a transcipt here

Or you can watch it here.

(To my american readers, see I got you covered. Just make sure you do me a favour and vote.)

I watched it with a bunch of young professionals. Quite a few of them work for oil companies. It is pretty hard in Houston to get a bunch of individuals together and not have someone from the oil industry present.  So we bunkered down with food, drinks and watched. It was only a matter of time before the subject of energy to popped up.

Obama kicked off with the following: “The oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare. Basically, they get deductions that those small businesses that Governor Romney refers to, they don’t get. Now, does anybody think that ExxonMobil needs some extra money, when they’re making money every time you go to the pump? Why wouldn’t we want to eliminate that? I looked around to gauge the reaction from the oil industry types. One caught me glancing,  smiled a said “He is right we are not hurting” Wow I wasn’t expecting that.

Romney was quick to counter with: “But don’t forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years’ worth of breaks, into — into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right? So this — this is not — this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy secure.”

Now Mitt may have a partial point here. One cannot dispute the fact that both Solyndra and Ener1 tanked thus can be categorized as not successful. But can you truly call Fisker and Tesla losers?
Elon Musk, Chairman, Product Architect & CEO of Tesla posted this on the Tesla website.
Tesla is actually on the verge of becoming cash flow positive and will not have to spend any of the money raised, at least until we embark upon a major new vehicle program. In the public call with investors, I tried to make this point, but perhaps should have emphasized it more: we expect Tesla to become cash flow positive at the end of next month.

Fisker may have had some troubles in the past but seems to be overcoming them nicely.  And like most industries 50% of all startups fail. Which seems to be the way this playing out.  So can we really say that these green automotive companies “losers”?