Before you read on, decide for yourself what the two headlines mean. Knowing that Solyndra lost the government a lot of money, I took them to mean that the government lost even more money dealing with Tesla, at least a billion dollars. I assumed then it was an expose that showed Tesla paid back government loans via some surreptitious transfer of government funds.
The article itself is badly written and stupid, but it doesn't say what the headlines claim (and I assume Woolley didn't write the headers). The article admits that contrary to Solyndra, the US government made money from Tesla, but it could have made more money if it had structured the deal as an investment instead of a loan. It skates over what else might have changed, but mainly it fails to address the government was trying to promote technological change, not act as a VC company. I only assume Woolley has busted an artery for every government grant that ended up making money for recipients (maybe he should look into the lost patent opportunities in the fracking research grants). He should have many busted arteries.
I also welcome links where Woolley and Slate wrote in 2009 as opposed to long after the fact that the deal should have been structured to allow conversion of the loan to options.
The deal was a success, and slate-pitching a contrarian viewpoint shouldn't cross over into deception like they did here.