Analyst Calls Electric Cars "Great Fraud"

Energy analyst crunches numbers, gives Tesla thumbs-down

By Matt Baume
|  Thursday, Mar 25, 2010  |  Updated 1:45 PM PDT
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Analyst Calls Electric Cars "Great Fraud"

Tesla Motors

The Tesla electric car would be part of the alleged fraud.

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Move over Ponzi and Madoff: according to energy-sector attorney John L. Peterson, electric cars "are all sizzle and no steak." Or all sizzle and no tofu, if you will.

According to Peterson's calculations, gas/electric hybrids like the Prius are several orders of magnitude more ecological than vehicles that can only derive power from a wall-socket. The problem is that while an individual electric car may appear to conserve resources, an analysis of an entire fleet shows minuscule ecological returns.

California electric car manufacturer Tesla gets particularly harsh treatment: "There may be a couple years of splash and spectacle before the inevitable becomes obvious," Peterson wrote, "but Tesla is not a stock that I'd buy and put in a drawer for my grandkids."

The execs at Tesla are unlikely to find Peterson's pessimism persuasive. Their proposed assembly plant in Southern California just got the thumbs-up from a planning commission to build its $57,400 Model S sedan, which could travel up to 300 miles on a charge.

Of course, for any shortcomings that electric car technology might suffer, at least most companies haven't sunk as low as Spark-EV, whose head was arrested in 2008, charged with bilking clients for almost $100,000.

You may now feel free to make your own joke about getting taken for a ride.

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