The Real Reason Tesla Is Still Alive (And Other Green Car Companies Aren’t)
Say goodbye to another green car start-up. Vehicle Production Group, which planned to build thousands of wheelchair-accessible vans powered by natural gas, has called it quits. According to Bloomberg , the company ran out of money and couldn’t pay its 100 employees anymore.
Add VPG to the growing list of recent green car failures: Bright Automotive (electric delivery vans) , Carbon Motors (clean diesel-powered police cars), Aptera Motors (three-wheeled electric cars), Coda Automotive (inexpensive electric sedans) and, arguably the most infamous, Fisker Automotive (plug-in hybrid sports cars).
All had applied for financing under a $25 billion U.S. Energy Department loan program to promote development of cleaner cars, but only Fisker and VPG managed to draw the lucky tickets. Fisker was awarded $529 million (but received only $193 million before the DOE cut them off because of missed milestones) and VPG received $50 million. But now, they’re all dead, or almost dead. (One exception: tiny Wheego Electric of Atlanta, an EV start-up that started out making glorified golf carts and now sells a handful of bubble-shaped two-seaters with a top speed of 65 mph. The company is talking about introducing a $44,000 electric SUV next, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.)
That leaves only Tesla Motors (TSLA +10.61%), maker of the plug-in Tesla roadster and the new Model S sedan, still standing. Which begs the question: why has Tesla made it when so many others have not? - Read On ****