Print 21 comment(s) - last by woody1.. on Aug 28 at 8:57 AM

The administration is actively looking at a new round of loan requests

The Obama administration is looking to bring the $25 billion auto loan program back to life in an effort to reach its goal of putting 1 million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

According to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, the Obama administration is interested in reviving the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, where it plans to draw a new round of loan requests. 

“We are looking at what a new (loan) solicitation might look like. That’s an ongoing discussion,” Moniz said. “We are actively looking at what might be an effective new (request for proposals).”

The administration is also looking to reexamine its lending criteria in order to avoid problems it encountered in the past. 

For instance, the program used to favor low-cost government loans to established automakers (and even startup automakers) to retool older plants for the development of advanced vehicles. But Moniz confirmed that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is not actively considering any applications for new retooling loans.

According to The Detroit News, The DOE has awarded less than $9 billion for auto plant retooling.

The Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program was created by Congress in 2007 in an effort to reach the goal of 1 million EVs on U.S. roads by 2015, but the program hasn't made a new loan since March 2011. This is mainly due to the fact that two of five companies that received government loans stopped production. 

One of these failures is Fisker Automotive, an auto startup that received $529 million in DOE loans back in April 2010. However, Fisker fell a little behind on its production schedule, and in May 2011, DOE froze the loans due to "unmet milestones." Fisker had only drawn $193 million of it at that point. It hasn't been able to build a car since July 2012, and is currently looking for a buyer so it doesn't have to claim bankruptcy. 

Another failure was Vehicle Production Group LLC, which is a Michigan-based startup building wheelchair-accessible compressed natural gas vehicles. It was awarded $50 million in loans back in March 2011, but has since halted production.

Last month, a House Appropriations Committee’s panel voted to cut the remaining funds in the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program.

The Obama administration received a lot of flak for these failures, but the program wasn't all bad. The other three loans -- $5.9 billion to Ford, $1.4 billion to Nissan and $465 million to EV startup Tesla Motors -- proved to be successful. Tesla even managed to pay its full sum back nine years early, which was a great feat for a startup. 

Moniz said that 1 million EVs on the road by 2015 may not be doable at this point, but could happen in 2016 if EV production continues. Also, he mentioned that 100,000 plug-in vehicles in 2013 could be possible.

Source: The Detroit News

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Simpler Way
By Jaybus on 8/27/2013 1:53:52 PM , Rating: 1
You know, $25 billion for 1 million cars is $25,000 per car. Yet more corporate welfare Obama is planning. Give the subsidy to the people, and it might work. Otherwise it goes to Musk or some other executive's bonus. How about a $10,000 tax credit to the first million individuals or businesses to buy a plug-in of any make/model? Not only would it be more fair, but it would work and only cost $10 billion.

And why bother calling it a loan? Does Obama expect us to believe the loans to Solyndra are going to be repaid? Give these loans that never need get repaid to the people and they will buy the stupid cars, whether they work or not.

RE: Simpler Way
By Shig on 8/27/2013 1:58:23 PM , Rating: 2
You and I could write legislation that's 10x better than what's in place in under an hour.


RE: Simpler Way
By Alexvrb on 8/28/2013 1:22:10 AM , Rating: 3
Don't be ridiculous! Your plan would save billions of dollars. How the hell are you supposed to bankrupt the country by saving money? If we did things your way, we might not even go broke at all! Damn amateurs.

I'll have you know Obama isn't quite as stupid as he looks. He knows what he's doing. Even without a teleprompter he can still make bad decisions like a boss. You two taxpayer-loving clowns stay out of this and leave bankrupting the country to the professionals!!

RE: Simpler Way
By Ringold on 8/27/2013 2:01:06 PM , Rating: 3
Here's an even better idea.

Lets look at the success Tesla is having, then make the logical conclusion that if others can't make that happen then they lack primarily just good management or business practices and deserve the heap of failure they get. Musk isn't a magician, after all, just another human being.

Then we can keep that 25 billion and slowly start chipping away at our massive deficit.

RE: Simpler Way
By Shig on 8/27/2013 2:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but I could argue that Tesla would have never made it to where they are now without the 500 million DOE loan.

Overall I agree that we don't need more loan giveaways now that Tesla is around and the other car makers are taking notice.

RE: Simpler Way
By half_duplex on 8/27/2013 2:59:49 PM , Rating: 3
How about the government just get out of the business of choosing who wins and loses and focus on their original purpose is?

RE: Simpler Way
By cruisin3style on 8/27/13, Rating: -1
RE: Simpler Way
By KCjoker on 8/27/2013 8:57:59 PM , Rating: 2
You can't be this ignorant...I hope. It's as simple as said...the rich pay more taxes to begin with so if there is a tax cut they're going to get more back. Everyone can't receive the same tax cuts if everyone doesn't pay in the same amount or even the same %.

RE: Simpler Way
By cruisin3style on 8/27/2013 11:24:56 PM , Rating: 2
I'm beginning to think I might be ignorant, because you just explained back to me what I said in the first place.

I don't think what I said is ignorance so much as being idealistic...maybe

I'm not trying to attack you at all here, but I think you might be ignorant of how it worked. Everybody received a certain amount, let's say $1,000. Then ONLY the top 2% received additional funds that scaled to their income. I think I read in a magazine article that the tippity top .01 or .001% of income earners got $500-600k.

Why didn't the rest of us receive part of this percentage of income?

Maybe it isn't worth debating

RE: Simpler Way
By 1prophet on 8/27/2013 4:49:44 PM , Rating: 2
That only works if other governments that trade with us follow that policy,

if another country like China doesn't think twice about undercutting us using subsidies like they did with rare earth metals or solar panels,

either our government has to the same or impose equivalent tariffs.

Sink or swim doesn't work when other governments can and will prop up their industries to the determent of ours.

RE: Simpler Way
By ebakke on 8/27/2013 4:59:09 PM , Rating: 2
That only works if other governments that trade with us follow that policy,
No, it doesn't. If China wants to tax it citizens more so that it can subsidize one particular industry at the expense of every other, it puts that industry at a competitive advantage while simultaneously putting the rest at a competitive disadvantage. There's far more economic opportunities for us than just solar panels or rare earth metals.

RE: Simpler Way
By lelias2k on 8/27/2013 6:29:06 PM , Rating: 2
That's assuming taxing their citizens is the only way to achieve such results. ;)

RE: Simpler Way
By lelias2k on 8/27/2013 6:27:27 PM , Rating: 2
I do agree that VC and private loans should be easier for competent alternative energy companies to get now.

But let's quit using the "loan giveaway" oxymoron.

It's either a loan - which is repaid, or it's a giveaway.

RE: Simpler Way
By Alexvrb on 8/28/2013 1:32:57 AM , Rating: 2
Or, it starts off as a loan, and then they fold, and it never gets paid back. If only we had a term for this... oh right, fleecing! As in, fleecing dumb taxpayers who are too stupid to realize they're paying out the nose just to prop up a horrible wasteful government (and people unwilling to work).

I don't know who was the first to figure out how to completely break our system, but our politicians have all the correct levers installed now and it's a worthless sham.

RE: Simpler Way
By Nagorak on 8/28/2013 4:10:18 AM , Rating: 2
Tesla would likely be dead right now had it not been for that loan. If anything Tesla makes the case for the program. If the money stimulates the creation of advanced technology here in the U.S. it could easily end up paying itself back.

Not to mention, the just cut everything to the bone strategy doesn't actually work that well. Look at how Greece is doing. A lot of the money spent by the government ends up stimulating the economy in such a way that it flows back into the government's coffers. That doesn't mean every government program is worthwhile, but many of them are.

By Dorkyman on 8/27/2013 1:34:18 PM , Rating: 3
Here's how this program will work:

(1) Obama insiders who have given him cash and support in the past will line up and receive grants

(2) About 25% of the funds will somehow wind up in the insider's pockets and/or under the control of the DNC, just in time for the critical 2014 midterms

(3) The facts about the siphoning will be discovered later on, but will be a brief story because (a) the press loves and is in sync with Obama, and (b) the Low-Information-Voter Sheeple couldn't care less, anyway.

Washington has always been a pretty sleazy place, but Obama, Holder, and all the sycophants have really set new standards in this regard. Here's hoping when they all go to Hel1 they don't drag the rest of us with them.

RE: 1-2-3
By cruisin3style on 8/27/2013 4:20:03 PM , Rating: 3
Did Obama really set a new standard compared to Tom Delay?

300,000 is reasonable
By Shig on 8/27/2013 2:02:26 PM , Rating: 2
Around 25k units for the Volt, the Leaf, and the Model S this year. 2013 will see around ~85k EV's / plug-ins sold. Decent gains in 2014 and 2015 will get us to around 300-350k I think.

As long as gas stays close to 4 bucks a gallon, EV's will sell. As long as people keep buying smart phones, battery technology will keep getting better, slowly but surely.

1 million was just a political buzz number that will be picked apart for 6 months after it isn't hit, politics etc.

By woody1 on 8/28/2013 8:57:08 AM , Rating: 2
The transcontinental railroad in US was built 150 years ago using massive public land grants and a large amount of government loans.

The internet was also built based on government research and funding of backbone networks.

Sometimes it's helpful for government to give a nudge to new technologies.

By greenchinesepuck on 8/27/13, Rating: -1
By Nagorak on 8/28/2013 4:15:57 AM , Rating: 1
Well, I'm certainly glad you're not handing out the money. Yes, Tesla did well, but that couldn't have been foreseen ahead of time. Certainly, considering the stock price at the time, few foresaw it.

The point of a program like this is to spread your bets around. Actually that tends to be a good investment strategy in general. No one has access to all of the information, and predicting the future can be difficult, so even the savviest of investors will end up making a mistake from time to time. Even the best VCs no doubt have some duds that never end up paying off.

Look how stupid Rhode Island was by giving most of their small business loan money to Curt Schilling who flushed it down the toilet. Never put all your eggs in only one basket.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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