While Detroit may be struggling financially, and in turn taking all the headlines by the major news outlets, other car companies are struggling as well, particularly the electric car industry, which has received major press and attention recently due to the amazingly-inflated oil prices that have plagued the nation for several years.
But to say that they are down and out is far from the truth; in fact, electric car manufacturers are trying to jump ahead of the big three auto makers by petitioning Congress to give them a slice of the proposed bailout for Detroit. Sources say that they were first to testify before Congress and last to leave the sessions, while the CEO’s of Detroit’s major manufacturers were busy squabbling over salary prices and business models.
The major difference between the electric car industry and the traditional car industry is exposure. Detroit is known for making big, gas-guzzling SUV’s and trucks, a message that they’ve been slamming down consumer’s throats for quite some time now. However, the electric car, along with other alternative-energy vehicles, is the wave of the future, and some have made the argument that the success of companies such as Tesla Motors and vehicles such as the Chevy Volt and hte Nissan Leaf are more important than giving money to the Big Three in Detroit.
Tesla Motors, a company that we profiled a couple of weeks ago, is struggling to stay afloat, and reportedly has asked Congress to give them $400 million out of the bailout plan so they can keep producing cars. But they didn’t stop there. Among their other needs, Tesla needs the government to step in and start supporting their company and their products, something that the government has been hesitant to do due to the high price tag (see our past articles for more information on Tesla Motors’ vehicles), and the taxpayers are paying the brunt of it.
Another thing that is plaguing Tesla is the fact that the batteries that go in their vehicles are still being made overseas, and shipping prices are as high as ever, forcing the company to mark up their vehicles even more. Couple that with the fact that service centers for their vehicles are few and far between, and you have a recipe for disaster. But you can’t blame them for not opening up more service centers (and, in turn, providing more vehicles to more consumers in more places); it takes money to do that, and money is something they don’t have. A modern Catch-22, if you will.
But Tesla, if it can get the money it needs, isn’t worried about their financial status for too much longer. Electric vehicles are the wave of the future, and even with gas and oil prices where they’re at, people are becoming more and more eco-friendly and eager to jump off the old-school bandwagon and ready to jump on the new one.
But it’s going to take time, and Tesla might be running out of it. Luckily, Tesla Motors is doing exceptionally well today, and the electric vehicle industry is starting to boom as we get deeper and deeper into the 2010’s.