Senor was supposed to be the guy to convince Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney that electric cars were a good idea, but at last night's third and final debate between Romney and President Obama, Romney again said that investing in electric vehicle companies is not a good idea. Specifically, he attacked both Fisker and Tesla. According to the transcript, he said:
As our friends at Green Car Reports point out, the feds did not invest in these companies. Instead they got low-interest loan guarantees as part of a Department of Energy loan program. For what it's worth, Tesla is preparing to start paying back its loan early and Fisker didn't even get all of the money it was allocated.
We in this country can compete successfully with anyone in the world. And we're going to. We're going to have to have a president, however, that doesn't think that somehow the government investing in - in car companies like Tesla and - and Fisker, making electric battery cars - this is not research, Mr. President. These are the government investing in companies, investing in Solyndra. This is a company. This isn't basic research. I - I want to invest in research. Research is great. Providing funding to universities and think tanks - great. But investing in companies? Absolutely not. That's the wrong way to go.
As happened in the first debate, when Romney called Fisker a "loser" and compared the automaker to Solyndra and Ener1 (as well as Tesla), online reactions came fast and furious. One of the funniest: "TeslaMotors and Big Bird, you gotta band together. No more funding for you under Mitt."
Romney's "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" opinion column from 2008 also came up in the debate. If you haven't yet, you can read the original text here.