Tesla boss downplays government subsidy as ‘pittance’

Tesla boss downplays government subsidy as ‘pittance’

LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
Tesla boss downplays government subsidy as ‘pittance’

AFP Photo

Tesla Motors boss Elon Musk says his companies don’t need an estimated $4.9 billion in government support they receive, but justified the aid in the cause of creating clean energy.

The billionaire eco-entrepreneur added that the amount was a “pittance” compared to what the oil and gas industries receive.

“If I cared about subsidies, I would have entered the oil and gas industry,” the chief executive of Tesla Motors and SpaceX and the chairman of SolarCity told the LA Times.

Tesla and SolarCity both aim to accelerate the development of clean power, he said. “Ultimately, humanity has no choice but to transition to renewable energy.

“It is just a question of when and how much damage occurs between now and that transition,” he added, saying the subsidies the two companies receive are “a pittance” against government aid for other industries.

“What is remarkable about my companies is that they have been successful despite having such a tiny incentive from the government relative to our competitors,” Musk told The Times.

His comments came after the newspaper cited the overall estimated subsidy income which includes grants, rebates, tax breaks, discounted loans and environmental credits that Tesla can sell.

Musk did not dispute the $4.9 billion estimate, in an interview with the LA Times, it said.

Last month Musk’s SpaceX announced it had won long-waited approval to launch military satellites, opening the way to a lucrative market that has been a virtual monopoly for a Boeing and Lockheed Martin joint venture.