Trying to be like venture capitalists, but idiot ones, unlike the real ones who won't go near this unlikely technology
It's not so unlikely: "The company [Tesla Motors] announced in early August 2009 that it had achieved overall corporate profitability for the month of July 2009. The company said it earned approximately US$1 million on revenue of US$20 million. Profitability arose primarily from improved gross margin on the 2010 Roadster, the second iteration of Teslaâ(TM)s award-winning sports car. Tesla, which like all automakers records revenue when products are delivered, shipped a record 109 vehicles in July and reported a surge in new Roadster purchases."
Wikipedia lists their 2012 revenue as -251m, presumably because Tesla Motors is making heavy capital investment in production. They've been profitable before, and their investors apparently think they will be again.
It's worth noting that the already established and highly profitable oil companies take billions of incentives from your government every year. Evidently, they just love giving money to industrialists of every stripe. And banks, of course.
Advancing new basic technology with great strategic potential for reducing US dependency and therefore entanglement in the middle east is an excellent idea. Perhaps Fiskers was a poor choice - but doing nothing until after oil hits $500 a barrel would be far worse.