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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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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.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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