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The Government's Buffett-Less Tesla Warrants

Stocks in this article: TSLA GM F BAC GS GE BRK.B BRK.A

Depending on the financial recovery of the restructuring of Fisker, a struggling loan recipient, the DoE's Tesla's warrant might have put the overall loan program at a modest profit.

Because of the DoE's tight management of ATVM purse strings, Fisker only drew on $193 million of the $529 million the DoE offered in financing to the company, amid production issues and a weak consumer reception for its Karma electric sports car.

While it's uncertain whether Tesla's newly unveiled financing arrangement to interested Model S customers will drive sales, or if expectations of the company's profitability are a lasting phenomenon, it is slightly disappointing that taxpayers won't see a gain in the increasingly likely event of the company's success.


Mitt Romney was both factually and economically incorrect to lump Tesla and ATVM within a list of stimulus "losers" such as failed solar panel manufacturer Solyndra.

A better gripe for the former Bain Capital head would be that the program was structured so taxpayers received only indirect gains from successes such as Tesla.

"The purpose of the DOE Advanced Technology Manufacturing Program was to serve as a catalyst for accelerating sustainable transport technology, which is in the best interests of all Americans and ultimately people throughout the world," Musk said in his Oct. 3 blog post.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York.

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