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Fisker Karma
This is the same program that funded Fisker Automotive

South Dakota's Republican senator wants to terminate the federal loan program that gave millions of dollars to Fisker Automotive -- an automaker that has failed to produce a car in over a year and is now missing loan payments to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). 

According to The Detroit News, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) wants to get rid of the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program due to failures like Fisker Automotive wasting taxpayer money. He has already proposed an amendment that would “permanently end the ATVM program and save taxpayers from paying for more of President Obama’s bad green-energy bets.”

Thune's amendment comes after the DOE said it would auction off Fisker Automotive's $168 million unpaid loan earlier this week. DOE plans to launch the auction in early October. 

Fisker Automotive is 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 started looking for a buyer so it doesn't have to claim bankruptcy.

But Fisker isn't the only auto company that failed after receiving money from the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program. Vehicle Production Group LLC -- which is a Michigan-based startup building wheelchair-accessible compressed natural gas vehicles -- was awarded $50 million in loans back in March 2011, but has since halted production.


Senator John Thune

DOE sold its unpaid $50 million loan for Vehicle Production Group LLC to AM General for $3 million earlier this month. According to The Detroit News, taxpayers lost about $42 million on that sale.

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 the five companies (Fisker and Vehicle Production Group) that received government loans stopped production. 

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. 

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said last month that the Obama administration is interested in reviving the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program. He noted that it plans to draw a new round of loan requests (but is not actively considering any applications for retooling loans) and reexamine its lending criteria in order to avoid problems it encountered in the past. 

Source: The Detroit News



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By superflex on 9/19/2013 12:06:28 PM , Rating: 3
I came to the realization years ago that battery powered anything sucks. Sure, it's convenient to pull out the 18V Dewalt drill vs the powered Bosch, but once you realize those $90 batteries need replacement every 2-3 years unless you like driving 15 deck screws between charges, you are better of using a traditional power source.
Dewalt sells battery powered drills cheap because the money is in the replacement batteries.
I guess the general public is too stupid to realize this is inkjet printer madness all over again. $20 dollar printers and $50 replacement carts.
PT Barnum was right.


By toffty on 9/19/2013 1:58:05 PM , Rating: 2
I guess you don't know the battery in your dewalt drill is completely different than an EV's battery.

I hope no one buys inkjet printers anymore. Laser printers save so much money over the long run that the higher initial investment is nothing.

I've driven my Nissan Leaf for 2 years now and the only maintenance cost I've had in that time was $12 for a cabin air filter which I replaced. I’ve also rotated the tires. No oil changes or other parts replacements. With no transmission - only reduction gears – there are very few moving parts that can break in an EV compared to an ICE vehicle. I have not noticed any range loss either.

Worst case scenario: Battery is below 70% capacity after 10 years. By then a 24 kWh battery will probably be close to if not less than $5k (US). This is far less than the savings over the same time period in fuel alone -- (ICE) $10k to drive 100k miles @ 35 mpg @ $3.5 miles per gal compared to (EV) $2750 to drive 100k miles @ 4 kWh per mile @ $0.11 per kWh -- and the cost of oil changes ($1.5k for 3 oil changes a year @ $50 per oil change over 10 years), 25k, 50k, 75k vehicle checks (another grand at least).


By Solandri on 9/19/2013 3:07:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I guess you don't know the battery in your dewalt drill is completely different than an EV's battery.

Actually the battery is the same (either NiMH or Li-ion). The difference is a $90 replacement battery is within most people's impulse buy budget. A $5000 replacement car battery is not.

So the drill maker has an incentive to design the batteries to fail quickly (to make you buy new ones). And that's exactly what they do. They let you charge it to 100% and drain it to 0%, which is what shortens their endurance (reduces the charge capacity so you can only drive in 15 screws between charges).

EV batteries are designed to avoid that pitfall. Most of them only charge to 75%-80% of max capacity, and discharge to only 25%-20%. By avoiding the 100% and 0% extremes, you preserve their endurance.


By toffty on 9/19/2013 8:00:37 PM , Rating: 2
Yes they are both based off of Lithium but the other metals are different. There are many different kinds of Li-ion battery chemistries and that's what's different.

See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_battery


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