Tesla Motors IPO: The Electric Car’s New Lease On Life?

Carmel Lobello :: Monday, June 28th, 2010 6:00 pm

Tesla Motors is now less than a day away from its highly anticipated IPO. The company’s deeply broke founder, Elon Musk, has big ambitions for what to do with the earnings. High on the list are buying  the Toyota’s Fremont California manufacturing plant, building a network of 50 Tesla stores world wide, finishing manufacturing on the Model S, and of course, bailing himself out after spending the last year or so couch surfing and borrowing cash from friends to get by. The estimated $244 Million in expected earnings will most likely not come close to meeting these goals. From here, Tesla Motors does not look like the white knight it did in 2003. It’s starting to look more like a big fat waste of cash and public optimism.

After co-founding PayPal and then using that capital to create SpaceX, Musk, the brilliant South African Engineer and professional risk-taker, dumped all of his $300 Million earnings into Tesla Motors with the idea that he would head the electric car revolution. But with insane amounts of research and just one super slick model, the Roadster Sport, which sells for just over $100,000, Tesla has lost $260.7 Million since its inception. Already doused in venture capital and a $465 million dollar federal loan from the Department of Energy, there is very little to suggest that and extra $244 will be enough to keep the company above water for long.

Optimism and enthusiasm for green technology fuels inspiration, and inspiration that leads to new technology is our last hope. It has been for decades now. But is harnessing the enthusiasm in the form of cash for a company that can’t turn a dime and that makes a car nobody can afford a waste of a headline? Musk is the real-life figure who inspired Robert Downy Jr.’s Iron Man character, Tony Stark. If this cash does keep him afloat for a little while, he’ll have limited time to prove that his sensational, rich-guy inventions will someday translate into cleaner air.

Tesla’s IPO may be testing not the power of commerce to come up with and execute a new way to use energy, but the power of charisma. Does seeing George Clooney in a Roadster really inspire young engineers to make affordable electric vehicles? As a society, do we think with our hearts on this topic, or our dicks?

The forthcoming Model S does have a base price half that of the Roadster Sport. If we’re lucky, we’ll find that Musk is using our dicks to get to our hearts, and that he’ll be able to turn sex-appeal into cashflow and cleaner air in the end.

One Response to “Tesla Motors IPO: The Electric Car’s New Lease On Life?”
  1. I see it’s your passion. :)

    Posted by: MichaelBobson June 29th, 2010 at 12:28 pm