The Cult of Tesla Survives Another Round of Bad News

Tesla MotorsElon Musk’s quarterly earnings reports for Tesla Motors always offer a little razzle, a little dazzle, soon-to-be-unfulfilled promises, and rationalized failures.

This go-round was no exception, and after yet another shortfall of financial and vehicle delivery expectations, perhaps the biggest surprise was the revelation that $1.3 billion in subsidies from Nevada taxpayers won’t be enough to get the hyped Gigafactory completed.

Spending and construction have only just begun on what is supposed to be Tesla’s battery-making monster. According to its 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, $431 million was spent on the Gigafactory through June of this year, and $520 million is expected to be spent by the end of 2016. Tesla’s partner in the project, Panasonic, said last month it would raise $3.86 billion, with most of it targeted for the Gigafactory. Another $1.7 billion came in via yet another equity sale. Alas, it apparently …

Critic: Tesla HAD to Repay Its Dept of Energy Loan to Avoid Default

Elon Musk IronManWhen it comes to Tesla Motors, an irrational exuberance has overtaken Wall Street, the Department of Energy, electric car advocates, government interventionists, crony capitalists, techie nerds and Elon Musk fanboys everywhere.

The praise comes rapid fire: $20 billion market capitalization! It’s worth more than Chrysler! Its stock price is at $169! They’ve had two consecutive profitable quarters! They paid back their government loan early! The Model S is the safest car of all time! Consumer Reports says it’s almost perfect! Its batteries don’t burn up!

But the media has not tried to mute the celebration too much with the reality that much of Tesla’s “success” has come thanks to government mandates, subsidies, and taxpayer support. NLPC reported last month, for example, that Tesla’s second quarter results included $51 million in zero-emission credits revenue thanks to a warped California vehicle sales …

The Obama Green Failure Train Rolls on With Ecotality

Volt recharging photoThirteen years ago a former executive chef/kitchen manager launched an environmentally friendly cleaning products company to compete with industry giant Ecolab, his former employer, where he had worked and achieved the position of district sales manager.

At the end of 2004 he gave up that money-losing business and turned it over to a partner, who in the first quarter of 2006 turned it into an electric vehicle charging company run by a former hotel chain executive – a self-described “political beast” – who would heavily depend on government subsidies for the revised company’s survival.

With this dysfunctional history, is it any wonder why Ecotality is on the verge of bankruptcy?

The San Francisco-based subsidy sucker had a bad August. It began under the pall of a Department of Energy Inspector General’s report which found that slow electric vehicle sales affected the worthiness of Ecotality’s $135 million taxpayer-funded charging network. Money …

Fisker’s Big Fundraiser is Going Out of Business

Fisker logoThe venture finance operation that raised money for crony capitalist investors Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, and their green tech firms like electric car company Fisker Automotive ($193 million paid in stimulus loan guarantees) and fuel cell manufacturer Bloom Energy, is shutting down, according to a Fortune report.

Advanced Equities, Inc. had recently been reprimanded by the Securities and Exchange Commission and by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for misleading investors and for breach of contract with its brokers. Fortune cited sources that said AEI brokers were told last week that Monday would be their last day. Crain’s Chicago Business confirmed that AEI was shutting down its broker-dealer business following its regulatory troubles, which “made it difficult to run the business.”

The co-founders of the Chicago-based firm, Dwight Badger and Keith Daubenspeck, received a sharp reprimand and severe fines from the SEC in September for delivering …

Consumer Reports: Fisker Karma the Worst Luxury Sedan

Fisker logoIt’s been six months since the taxpayer-subsidized ($193 million) Fisker Karma broke down at the test facilities of Consumer Reports before the publication could even take it for a review spin, but now the researchers have finally been able to put the luxury electric car through its paces and their assessment is complete.

Verdict: fail.

Why did it take so long for the car loved by Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber and Al Gore to get the full evaluation? Consumer Reports explains:

“With the Karma, much attention has been paid to our unfortunately routine problems, including an early failure on our track that left the car immobile and led to the battery being replaced, frequent instrument, window and radio glitches, and recurring warning lights. So far our Karma has made multiple trips back to the dealer (who, by the way, has provided excellent service, flat-bedding the car to and …

SEC Issues Big Fines, Penalties Against Green-Tech Investment Firm

A123 logoThe venture capital redistributionist game that surrounds President Obama’s green energy stimulus doesn’t necessarily require the actual delivery of taxpayer cash to crony corporations. Sometimes the malfeasance appears simply based upon the false promise of government “investment.”

Such was the case with the co-founders of Chicago-based Advanced Equities, Inc., who just received a severe reprimand (including big fines) from the Securities and Exchange Commission for dispensing false information to potential funders in attempts to gain private equity investment. In two separate offerings in 2009 and 2010, co-founder Dwight Badger (who left the firm in June) was accused of telling investors that the financial condition and business orders for Advanced Equities’ client – revealed to be fuel cell manufacturer Bloom Energy by Crain’s Chicago Business – far exceeded reality. Badger’s partner, co-founder and Board Chairman Keith Daubenspeck, was fined for “failing to reasonably supervise Badger.”

Advanced Equities also was the …

Taxpayer-Funded A123 May Get a Chinese Bailout

A123 logoMonths ago, after they issued their most recent dismal quarterly earnings report, A123 Systems officials announced they would explore options in order to save the company, leaving the impression they were looking for a buyer. 

On Tuesday the heavily subsidized electric vehicle battery manufacturer released its latest financial bad news, but also disclosed that it also had a potential buyer – from China. According to media reports, just as A123 reported another $82.9 million in second-quarter losses, good news also magically materialized as Wanxiang Group Corp. was announced as a new investor. A123 had reported recently to the Securities and Exchange Commission that its ability to continue as a viable company was “a going concern.”

The good news/bad news announcements continue a trend by A123 in which every time the company has a negative media hit or stock downturn, a new press release comes out to give the …

Fisker’s Capital Fundraiser Loses $4.5 Million Case, Is Reportedly Removed

Fisker logo

The top private equity raiser for troubled electric automaker Fisker Automotive, which has been the subject of investigations by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Securities and Exchange Commission, has reportedly removed its co-founder and CEO. 

Crain’s Chicago Business, citing “a company insider,” reported Friday that Advanced Equities Inc. has reached an agreement with Dwight Badger for him to leave the investment firm. The separation follows a demand by a FINRA arbitration panel for Advanced Equities to pay $4.5 million to one of its former brokers, John Galinsky, over breach of contract claims. Galinsky brought his complaint against the firm, Badger, and his co-founding partner, Keith Daubenspeck.

“The panel finds that Respondents exhibited a reckless disregard for the warrant rights of the broker and breached their fiduciary duties to the broker,” the FINRA dispute resolution said.

Advanced Equities raised the financing for Fisker, which has boasted that …

First Solar’s Crony Socialism is a Big Failure

First Solar Logo

Renewable-loving Los Angeles is showing that even the power of billions of dollars in taxpayer “stimulus” cannot overcome the dominant hand of government regulation, and ironically it’s costing President Obama more green jobs.

One of the darlings of the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program, First Solar, has seen its stock price take a drubbing, laid off thousands of workers, and left its leadership – with significant influence from Walmart’s Walton familyscrambling to save the company. The latest stumble has led to another setback of worker inactivity at First Solar’s Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project in California, approximately 75 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, despite $646 million in taxpayer-guaranteed loans. At issue is a disagreement with Los Angeles County safety inspector over electrical installations and whether they meet standards.

According to one “Green tech” Web site, approximately half of the workers …

Fisker Insinuates Customer to Blame for Karma Fire

Fisker logoFisker Automotive has implied that the Texas owner of one of its Karma models committed “fraud” or “malicious intent” in blaming the luxury electric vehicle for his garage fire last week, after he had to rescue his wife, mother and child from flames that spread quickly to his house.

The company’s claim could be a fatal public relations move, as the chief investigator in Fort Bend County Fire Marshal’s Office, Robert Baker, has also blamed the fire on the Karma. Fisker, recipient of $193 million (out of a $529 million total guarantee) loan backed by taxpayers via the Department of Energy, has suffered a series of publicity blunders including two recalls, a Karma breakdown at Consumer Reports’ test facility, a SEC investigation of its primary venture capital raisers, layoffs, and a cutoff of its loan by DOE.

According to a report by Autoweek, the fire started shortly after …

Page 1 of 3123