Given how harshly the buying public associates anything that has received government funding during development, it’s no wonder why carmakers go to great lengths to defend against such claims, whether entirely accurate or not.
The latest blow-up and finger-pointing comes between Hyundai and Tesla. During a recent event highlighting the company’s long investment in hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, Hyundai’s head of U.S. product planning commented about how Tesla funded its Supercharger fast-charging network.
Michael O’Brien, the Hyundai executive in question, said it was paid for with “money that has come from grants and loans from the government.”
The irony, of course, is that Hyundai is looking for various levels of government to help build a hydrogen fueling infrastructure for products like its upcoming Tuscon fuel-cell SUV.
Tesla’s response to O’Brien’s charge included a complete denial of any federal government assistance with the Supercharger network, and that Hyundai and other “foreign carmakers” shouldn’t expect states like California where they have “no manufacturing presence … to spend up to $200 million to set up hydrogen stations.”
However this plays out between the two companies and their technologies, it appears this little slap-fight may not benefit either very much in the long run.