Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Even with Billions of Dollars of Taxpayer Support, Elon Musk Is No Thomas Edison

Without an emoticon for bizarre or laughable, CNBC favorably compared Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors, to Thomas Edison. If nothing else, Musk should receive the chutzpah award for naming his company after Nikola Tesla, creator of modern alternating current (AC) electricity systems. But after 12 years of operations and $4.9 billion of taxpayer subsidies, as calculated by the Los Angeles Times, Tesla Motors will produce only 45,000 vehicles for all of 2015 compared to Ford and GM which will sell 225,000 and 246,000 vehicles, respectively, for July 2015 alone.

Matching Tesla's underachievement in sales, investors in Tesla stock will earn $1 every $80 of investor cash in 2015. Alternatively, investors can purchase $1 of earnings from Ford and GM for less than $8.

In other words, the rate-of-return for Ford and GM investors is approximately 15 times that of Tesla stockholders. Furthermore, the only reason Tesla is earning a rate-of-return less than 1% is taxpayer subsidies of almost $5 billion.

Think of what Thomas Edison could have done with billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies. He would not produce fewer than 50,000 vehicles per year that have a range of less than 270 miles. Only Hollywood celebrities can afford a $125,000 vehicle that cannot transport them beyond their award ceremonies in Las Vegas. I did not know Thomas Edison - he grew up in New Jersey and I in Georgia - but I think I can confidently say that, "Elon Musk, you are no Thomas Edison."

Ernie Goss

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