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June 3, 2015 at 7:56 pm

Elon Musk’s companies Tesla, SpaceX, and as chairman of SolarCity have received $4.9 billion in government subsides since they’ve been in business. That accounting comes from a recent report from the LA Times, which claims that these corporations are benefiting from incentives and pushing the cost on citizens. However, the situation might not be so cut-and-dry, and in an interview with CNBC, Musk says that he considers the reporting misleading.

Musk’s problem isn’t so much the massive figure, but the mathematics behind it. The $4.9 billion adds together the amount of subsidies for the three companies going back about a decade. In the case of Nevada’s $1.2 billion incentives for the Gigafactory, they’re even amortized over 20 years into the future. Treating the total as a lump sum is unfair in the CEO’s opinion.


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