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« SANTELLI: "When A Spending Cut Isn't Really A Cut" | Main | Detroit To Obama: We Voted For You, Now Bail Us Out! »
Thursday
Dec062012

How Taxpayers Lost Big On Fisker Karma And A123

Leo DiCaprio's and Justin Beiber's Fisker Karmas were among 2,000 recalled.

---

A123 Got Taxpayer Funds Even AFTER It Filed For Bankruptcy

By Green-Energy Analyst Barbara Durkin

Funny Business At Fisker Karma And A123

Vice President Biden spoke on camera about the Obama administration's billion dollar loan to Finland’s Fisker.

"This is seed money that will return back to the American consumer in billions and billions and billions of dollars in good new jobs."

Does the VP recognize that Finland is a long commute for American workers?

The WSJ reported that due to Hurricane Sandy, 300 cursed Karmas now rest undersea at a port in New Jersey, and are a total loss.  But when did the loss of 300 Fisker Karmas technically occur?

Was it when 239 Fisker Karma were recalled in January of 2012 due to A123 battery defects blamed for car fires?

Or was the loss incurred when the Karma car was “undrivable” to the Consumer Report's testing site in March of 2012?

Or does the loss date back to when the Fisker Karma was conceived as a publicly-funded-luxury-sports-car-retailing-for-$100,000 to buyers like Leonardo D., and the Justin B?

Or did Fisker fail conceptually when our billion-dollar-loan failed to create “billions and billions and billions of good new jobs” as promised by VP Biden during October of 2011?

Fisker Karma also might be considered a preexisting loss by stockholders whose investments in the hybrid car’s battery-maker, AONE, have tanked.  AONE Investors have responded with a lawsuit alleging securities laws violations in connection with certain financial statements made by A123 Systems.

The theater of the absurd waste of taxpayer dollars continues with 16 Karma car fires now blamed on seawater that short circuited the Karma’s A123 batteries--with 300 cars swamped, all insured.

Well then...it is established that A123 batteries cause electric cars to catch fire on land and under the sea.  And, A123 has burned through much of their $249.1 million federal grant for battery technology now in the hands of China.  The court has recently approved A123’s request to borrow $50 million from China’s Wanxiang Group Corp.

While the saga of the Obama Administration's ill-conceived Fisker Karma under water continues, A123 Systems does have its winners.

After Layoffs, Execs Get Big Raises at Taxpayer-Funded A123

Big Raises at A123

A taxpayer-funded electric vehicle battery company, that is considered in great danger due to its dependency on troubled EV company Fisker Automotive, has awarded its top executives big salary increases despite a steep downward trajectory in its stock price.

DOE Awards $1 Million to A123 on the Same Day They Filed for Bankruptcy

Battery maker A123 got U.S. funds as it sought bankruptcy

The Obama administration provided struggling battery maker A123 Systems Inc with nearly $1 million on the day it filed for bankruptcy, the company told lawmakers investigating its government grant.

The company, which makes lithium ion batteries for electric cars, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month after a rescue deal with Chinese auto parts supplier Wanxiang Group fell apart.

That same day, October 16, A123 received a $946,830 payment as part of its $249 million clean energy grant from the Energy Department, the company said in a letter, obtained by Reuters, to Republican Senators John Thune and Chuck Grassley.

A vindicating video of Secretary Chu getting chewed out by Representative Gordon:

http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/FINAL-DOE-Loan-Guarante...

---

Barbara Durkin is the green-energy reporter for the Daily Bail.  She has spent the past decade interfacing with regulators and stakeholders in the Ad Hoc review of the "world's largest" Cape Wind offshore wind project.  Her independent investigation of wind energy cost vs. benefits has expanded beyond the shores of Nantucket Sound to include land-based renewable energy.

 

 


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Reader Comments (24)

$1 million was not enough to make payments. If executives did not get a "retention" bonus, they would have left, and a domino effect of all employees would occur. The business would be stopped and such attempt to continue operation would not be possible. I am just hoping companies other than Wanxiang and JCI make offers. JCI's offer was ridiculous!
Nov 29, 2012 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterNewbPro
Income should be given on value added. Those A123 "executives" would never be employed by me as potato pickers.
They gained ISO approval while not maintaining the production records against batch numbers so every battery pack had to be scrapped when one spot welder was found to be damaging the cells internally, causing spontaneous fires. Also some were found to have conductive FOD between the sheets also causing this condition.

The real production was being done in China but the money was to create "green" US jobs. The Livonia plant was just a pretty face. The cells do not give their rated capacity and many are released well below rated capacity which makes it very hard to keep the cells in a safe working order. A battery packs capacity is only as good as the weakest cell in the string.

The "executives" appear to be nothing but charlatans. Should of gone to prison over this. The company could of survived better if these sort were not employed at all, soaking all the money up.

$250M of carbon credit scam money to make a pouched lithium battery ffs! It's not as though the raw materials or machines had to be manufactured especially for the job!
Nov 30, 2012 at 5:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndyj
Dynamite job Barbara! Thank you!
Nov 30, 2012 at 7:08 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Excellent post Barbara!!!

Not that I am pro stimulus, but there are very distinct differences between the old version vs. the new version. The Work Projects Administration (WPA) was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency, employing millions of unskilled workers to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. It also employed artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects. Writers documented local and state histories, artists painted murals and other works for new federal post offices and other buildings.

The WPA provided food for children and redistributed food, clothing, and housing. Almost every community in the United States had a new park, bridge or school constructed by the agency. The WPA's initial appropriation in 1935 was for $4.9 billion (about 6.7 percent of the 1935 GDP), and in total it spent $13.4 billion.

At its peak in 1938, it provided paid jobs for three million unemployed men (and some women), as well as youth in a separate division, the WPA provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression in the United States. Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA provided almost eight million jobs.

The WPA was a national program that operated its own projects in cooperation with state and local governments, which provided 10%-30% of the costs. The WPA sometimes took over state and local relief programs that had originated in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) or Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) programs.

Fast forward to today, and it seems that this new stimulus is used to attempt to prop up failing corporations, golden parachutes in a manner of speaking for the executives of those failing corporations, and foreigners.

Meanwhile the taxpayer pays on and the real economy sits in its coma...
Dec 1, 2012 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers
"Meanwhile the taxpayer pays on and the real economy sits in its coma..."

And will stay that way as long as the criminally corrupt, greed infested present rulers ( AKA the elite 1% ) control the puppet show in Washington D.C. and the pathetic excuse for journalism that is America's MSM.
Dec 1, 2012 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSagebrush
Thanks for your well informed and supportive comments.

The value never seems to be where the feds put our money. Americans funding jobs overseas is unacceptable. As with "Goldwind USA", that is Goldwind of Xinjiang, China is where manufacturing creates jobs funded by Americans. Maine Central Power is Iberdrola of Spain to whom we have donated $1 billion.

Some interesting quotes about A123 can be found in the Boston Globe 'Cash-fueled climb led to fall of A123 Systems' "Waltham battery maker found no niche", like this one:

"Most notably, longtime investor North Bridge — which today employs Fulop and A123 board member Jeffrey McCarthy — sold all of its A123 stock by Sept. 10. Neither Fulop or McCarthy, who resigned from A123’s board earlier this month, responded to repeated requests for comment."

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2012/10/23/the-rise-and-fall/DGC8ReJ9rSL0nJYMpHpouK/story.html

Perhaps A123 top executives are mute because investors allege securities laws violations in a complaint filed in US District Court stating top officials have violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by issuing allegedly false and misleading statements about the company.

http://www.prlog.org/11888307-a123-systems-inc-nasdaqaone-investor-lawsuit-deadline-on-june-1.html

Interestingly, the CFO of Flo-Design Wind Turbine Corp is Matthew Commons who worked for Enron and The NorthBridge Group (held stock in A123).

http://greenovationconference.com/conference-info/speaker_bios.cfm

The very powerful MA Executive Energy Secretary Ian Bowles served as Advisor to Flo-Design wind turbine that got a $3 million grant from Clean Energy Center (MACEC), with Ian Bowles as Founding Chairman of the MACEC. Flo-Design also received $8.3 in stimulus funding. We haven't heard from Flo-Design since their 2009 windfall of public funds. But you can see your money at work, in the form of an oversized room fan, on a landing approach at Logan Airport.

Flodesign-
http://bjdurk.newsvine.com/_news/2012/03/27/10889807-Massachusetts-green-bubble-alert-flodesign

Thank You,

Barbara
Dec 1, 2012 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Durkin
Barbara, just to correct one thing in your comment. You stated "Maine Central Power is Iberdrola of Spain to whom we have donated $1 billion."

Should be Central Maine Power. During De-Regulation they had an attorney (Arthur Adelberg) testify before the Maine PUC that electric meters were not ratcheted (could not spin backwards) yet, they had at least 150 customers who were in fact using metering that could (Net Energy Billing).

The utilities then tried to blind side us by claiming that a tax issue regarding Customer Net Billing was problematic (they paid the producer Avoided Cost Rates for excess production at about 1 cent per kWh) and my argument was that due to the cyclical nature of the resources (Wind /Solar), they could roll over the excess monthly on an annual basis, negating the tax issue and any excess at the end of the yearly cycle would be eliminated.

However, the commercial developers found a way to supersize this and get paid for no production at all. At our expense.

I really want the DB readers here know that while in some cases, Net Billing may be of use, but only in very few circumstances. The cost still exceeds the benefit.
Dec 1, 2012 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
The Struggle to Charge-Up Electric Vehicles in America

http://en.rian.ru/business/20121213/178117539.html

[snip]

This week a local governing board in Arlington County, Virginia, just outside of Washington, voted against a proposal to create the first all-electric taxi fleet in the United States. The rejection was another example of just how slowly environmentally friendly vehicles are gaining traction in America despite President Barack Obama’s initiatives to energize the industry.
“I feel like we’re not quite ready for this yet,” Arlington County Board member Chris Zimmerman told the online news organization ARLnow about the proposal that would have brought 40 new all-electric vehicles to the area.
The board cited a lack of charging stations and “range anxiety,” the fear that the car’s battery will lose power before reaching its destination leaving passengers stranded, as the reasons for not approving the proposal...

...The US government also offers tax credits up to $7,500 to consumers who purchase plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, which Kenneth Green, former resident scholar, environmental scientist and policy analyst for the American Enterprise Institute, disagrees with.
“Economically speaking it doesn’t make sense for the consumer or society as a whole to have to subsidize someone who is well off,” he said in a phone interview about some electric cars and plug-in vehicles, such as the Volt and Leaf, which have a sticker price close to $40,000.
“You subsidize them with tax money from someone who can’t afford a car or can only afford a cheaper car,” he said.

Note: I used the RIAN story because the AP one was so useless...
Dec 13, 2012 at 7:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Senators raise alarm over another possible sale of taxpayer-backed firm to Chinese

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/21/senators-raise-alarm-over-another-possible-sale-taxpayer-backed-firm-to-chinese/

[snip]

Republican senators complained Wednesday that U.S. taxpayer dollars could end up boosting the Chinese economy, following reports that a Chinese firm is leading the pack of companies bidding for a majority stake in government-backed Fisker Automotive.
The troubled California-based electric car maker, which was backed by U.S. taxpayers to the tune of nearly $530 million, for months has been looking for a financial partner. Reuters reported earlier this week that China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is favored to take over, though Fisker is also reportedly weighing a bid from another Chinese auto maker.
The development comes after Fisker's main battery supplier -- U.S. government-backed A123 Systems -- was recently purchased by a separate Chinese firm.
Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, voiced concern Wednesday that Chinese companies are benefiting from U.S. taxpayers' investment.
"Obama's green energy investments appear to be nothing more than venture capital for eventual Chinese acquisitions," Thune said in a statement. "After stimulus-funded A123 was just acquired by a Chinese-based company, it's troubling to see that yet another struggling taxpayer-backed company might be purchased under duress by a Chinese company."
Feb 21, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Registered CommenterJohn
Mar 19, 2013 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
UPDATE:

Energy Dept.-backed green automaker could go bankrupt

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/291047-energy-dept-backed-green-automaker-may-go-bankrupt

[snip]

Troubled car maker Fisker Automotive, the plug-in hybrid manufacturer that has drawn $192 million in Energy Department loans, could be on the verge of bankruptcy.


The Los Angeles Times reports:

Unless its celebrity customers such as teen idol Justin Bieber and actor Leonardo DiCaprio want to put a lot of their own cash into the business, it looks like hybrid sports car company Fisker Automotive is nearing the end of the road.

Fisker has hired Kirkland & Ellis, a major bankruptcy law firm, to review the company’s options while it continues to seek investment partners.
Mar 31, 2013 at 8:11 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Electric car venture Better Place files to liquidate

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/26/us-betterplace-idUSBRE94P0FU20130526
May 27, 2013 at 7:37 AM | Registered CommenterJohn
Henrik Fisker joins Hong Kong tycoon to salvage Fisker: sources

http://news.yahoo.com/henrik-fisker-joins-hong-kong-tycoon-salvage-fisker-145058533.html

[snip]

DETROIT/BEIJING (Reuters) - Henrik Fisker is working with an investor group to salvage Fisker Automotive, the "green" car company he co-founded nearly six years ago that is now struggling to stave off bankruptcy, people familiar with the matter said this week.
The discussions follow Henrik Fisker's resignation from the company in March after finding himself increasingly at odds with other top executives over strategy.
The well-regarded car designer is now teamed up with an investor group led by Hong Kong billionaire and Fisker investor Richard Li. The group is looking to buy the U.S. Department of Energy's loan to Fisker without making the car company resort to bankruptcy.
The Henrik Fisker-Richard Li team is one of at least two groups seeking to revive the automaker. A separate group including former General Motors Co executive Bob Lutz is looking to buy Fisker for $20 million, sources said on Wednesday.
May 27, 2013 at 8:55 AM | Registered CommenterJohn
Jun 17, 2013 at 7:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
UPDATE: (must read)

Fisker's Venture Capital Firm Still Hasn't Learned Cronyism Doesn't Pay

http://nlpc.org/stories/2013/08/01/fiskers-venture-capital-firm-still-hasnt-learned-cronyism-doesnt-pay

[snip]


The sniping and backbiting behind the financial scenes are escalating as those involved with Fisker Automotive and other green tech flops seek to direct blame for their investment failures. U.S. taxpayers, as usual, have suffered bystander casualties.

The latest controversy surrounds Silicon Valley investment firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, which has suffered a series of setbacks over its strategy to place sizable wagers on so-called “clean energy” companies. Their tech bettors hit on several huge successes during the 1990s dot-com boom, which history shows was a huge bubble with a nasty burst. The same thing happened with the government-fueled housing expansion and now the renewable energy sector is ballooning for the same reason.

The conflicts with Kleiner Perkins are mostly about disagreements over who said what to whom and when – soap opera stuff. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, recipient of a $465 million stimulus loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, was willing to let Kleiner Perkins invest with them if popular partner John Doerr (in photo) would join their board of directors. Instead Kleiner partner Ray Lane wanted the spot, but Musk allegedly didn’t want him, so Kleiner instead took their investor mega-millions to Tesla competitor Fisker, which welcomed Lane as a director. That was a bad gamble for Kleiner Perkins as Fisker, also anointed by DOE with its own $529 million loan guarantee, burnt through well over $1 billion in cash on its way to near bankruptcy.

Bloomberg News described the ugly saga last week, the details of which should be of little importance to most Americans. What matters is that President Obama forced taxpayers to have to stomach this dysfunction because he made them “invest” in failures like Fisker, in addition to others like Solyndra, Abound Solar and A123 Systems. With his green energy visions of a growing public dependency industry thanks to “stimulus” (really more like “tryptophan”), now citizens have to watchdog where the money was directed and how it got there.

So while the bickering over which investor gets to put a board member on somebody’s company is mostly irrelevant to the public, understanding the crony connections and political machinations to extract government funding is pertinent. In this case, while frittering Fisker applied some of its own influence to wheedle even more cash from the administration, Kleiner Perkins had the true muscle to make it work.

It happened the old-fashioned way: money and relationships. As NLPC has reported, employees and partners of Kleiner Perkins have donated enormous amounts to Democratic candidates – including President Obama – and party committees. According to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, the firm’s staff has given nearly $3 million to campaigns and political action committees since the early 1990s, favoring Democrats over Republicans by a wide margin. Almost $650,000 of that has come since the 2010 election cycle, including the 2014 campaign, so the support has not waned.

Also, Kleiner Perkins spent $200,000 in each year from 2007 through 2010 lobbying Congress on legislation that was heavy-laden with renewable energy government incentives, such as the Recovery Act, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, and various climate and energy bills. That total increased to $320,000 in 2011 and $350,000 in 2012, which included efforts to gain favor on health care technology initiatives as well. Kleiner Perkins has spent $160,000 so far this year to lobby, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Top Kleiner Perkins partner John Doerr is a major linchpin to the Obama administration. He serves on the president’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Doerr and his Kleiner Perkins colleagues have donated well over $2.6 million to candidates and political action committees, favoring Democrats over Republicans by a very wide margin. Doerr also hosted a dinner for President Obama at his estate in February 2011 with several other high-tech executives, according to ABC News...
Aug 2, 2013 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
John, I can't help but think that this is some form of extraction. Didn't Fisker end up, or is looking to open up shop in China? Also the battery maker was scarfed up as well if memory serves me correctly. Solyndra? Can't remember. Have to go back and look. In the meantime here is an interesting piece by J Gatto. 500 pages of sheer educational fucking hell. I knew it was bad, but not like this. Jesus help us.http://mhkeehn.tripod.com/ughoae.pdf#page61
Aug 2, 2013 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT
Sep 18, 2013 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Just what the FUCK? Really? Son of a fucking bitch. 500 million dollar loan and the turnaround is at the most 30 large. My head hurts. I need an aspirin or my head needs to be aspirated by a cylindrical object moving at a high rate of speed after being projected forcefully from a metal tube. Just phuck mi.
Sep 18, 2013 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT
The Tesla battery swap is the hoax of the year

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/21/the-tesla-battery-swap-is-the-hoax-of-the-year/

[snip]

What California says about zero-emission vehicles, and why Tesla is committing fraud...

...This has resulted in tens of millions dollars’ worth of fraudulent carbon credits being received by the company, and if nothing is done the tally will get into the hundreds of millions. This blog exists not to tell people about EV incentives, but about the illegal incentives a particular EV company is getting. I covered much of the same ground in my first post, but here I’ll give California’s own regulations as sources.

You don’t have to take my word for it.

Click here and go to slide 13. It shows how many Zero Emission Vehicle credits a car gets. ZEVs are divided into seven categories:


· Type 0: less than 50 miles, 1 credit

· Type I: 50-75 miles, 2 credits

· Type I.5: 75-100 miles, 2.5 credits

· Type II: 100-200 miles, 3 credits

· Type III: 200+ miles, 4 credits. (Also: 100+ miles with fast refuelling).

· Type IV: 200+ miles with fast refuelling, 5 credits

· Type V: 300+ miles with fast refuelling, 7 credits

This system is regulated by the California Air Resources Board. And by “fast refuelling” they mean refuelling to 95% of capacity within 10 minutes (Type III) or 15 minutes (Types IV and V). This is impossible for batteries, so it could only be done with hydrogen. Indeed, you’ll hear complaints that the regulations are designed to favor hydrogen over batteries. Well, tell California.
Dec 22, 2013 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
UPDATE:

Fisker seeks rejection of Chinese suitor it blames for its bankruptcy

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/02/us-autos-fisker-bankruptcy-idUSBREA010QH20140102

[snip]

A courtroom showdown is set for Friday that will determine the future of the defunct car maker that was launched with a controversial U.S. government loan. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Gross must decide if Fisker's business will be put to open auction or sold to an affiliate of Richard Li as the company has proposed.

The company's plans were thrown into doubt on Monday, when the official creditors' committee proposed auctioning the business and presented an initial $24.725 million bid from the U.S. unit of Wanxiang Group, China's top auto parts company.

Fisker attacked the creditors' proposal in a series of court filings on Wednesday with the bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware, noting that after Wanxiang bought A123 Systems Inc, a battery maker, it cut supplies to Fisker.

"Wanxiang now seeks to profit from a bankruptcy that it helped cause," Fisker said in a court filing.

An attorney for the creditors' committee disputed that, noting that Wanxiang acquired A123 months after Fisker idled its production to save cash. "Fisker was no longer producing cars at that time," said Sunni Beville of Brown Rudnick…

...The company obtained a $529 million loan from the Department of Energy that was meant to promote fuel efficient cars, which in turn helped to lure private backing.

Fisker raised more than $1.4 billion in public and private funds after its founding in 2007, but lavish spending, quality and engineering blunders and other mistakes drained the company's coffers and delayed the launch of the Karma, several people close to the company told Reuters earlier this year.
Jan 2, 2014 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Just to damned funny John, especially with the news today that Chrysler is going entirely Italian. For a pretty reasonable amount, 4 billion? I think that is what I heard as I drove down the snow covered road this pm, with my sons. People careening off the roads like a bunch of boobs while my trusty Ford f150 4x4 kept on the road happier than a Maine fisherman being told he can no longer shrimp this year. Man you guys are getting hammered this year. I though Maryland was bad.
Jan 2, 2014 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterskinflint
Tesla upgrades car charging software, adapter to prevent fires

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/10/us-tesla-fires-newsoftware-idUSBREA091CC20140110

(Reuters) – Tesla Motors Inc is taking steps to prevent overheating of its charging systems, including giving customers upgraded wall adapters and providing charging-software upgrades, the electric-car company said Friday.

The moves come after a November garage fire involving a Model S in Irvine, California, which the Orange County Fire Authority said may have been caused by a Tesla charging system or by a connection at the electricity panel on the wall of the garage.

At the time, Tesla disagreed with the fire officials’ findings, denying that the charging electronics were related to the fire. A Tesla spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a question on Friday about whether the upgrades were related to the Irvine fire.
Jan 11, 2014 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn

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