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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 foxalopex on 9/19/2013 12:49:25 PM , Rating: 2
Whoah, buddy you don't know what you're talking about... I own a Volt and I live in Northwestern Ontario (Canada) which is a LOT colder than Michigan. (We're farther north). I've had the car since December of 2012 and I even took it cross country on a 3000 mile trip to Calgary and back. Care to guess what the current fuel mileage is? It's 75 mpg. I'd like to see a diesel beat that. I haven't seen a gas station since I came back from the trip in May (4 months) and I use my car everyday. I don't even think a Prius could pull that off unless you didn't drive it at all.

Driving the car is actually a lot of fun because it's perfectly safe to floor the pedal which is something you can't do in a regular car because then it'll burn excessive amounts of gas and possibly damage the engine over time. On an EV, it just uses a little more power.

The subsidies help make the car a bit more affordable. New Technology is expensive unfortunately but the government wishes to subsidize it because in the long run it benefits all. I most certainly don't miss the exhaust from cars that cause smog, diseases and ruin the air quality in the cities. And as often pointed out, electric cars only get cleaner with age because over the years we've gradually cleaned up our power plants. Gas cars slowly break down and actually produce more pollution over their lifetime.

Being cheap is great but it doesn't always translate to goodwill for all. After all junk food is cheaper than real food until you pay the price in your later years.


By ritualm on 9/19/2013 8:21:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
it's perfectly safe to floor the pedal which is something you can't do in a regular car because then it'll burn excessive amounts of gas and possibly damage the engine over time.

Bogus. You burn more power by flooring the pedal on an EV = you burn more gas by flooring the pedal on an ICE. In fact, what you're doing is burn those electric motors faster over time.
quote:
Gas cars slowly break down and actually produce more pollution over their lifetime.

Gas cars don't randomly burst into flames while parked and completely turned off in an empty parking lot. They also don't have to contend with a heavy battery pack that not only increases overall curb weight, but also shifts the center of gravity.


By snhoj on 9/20/2013 12:22:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Bogus. You burn more power by flooring the pedal on an EV = you burn more gas by flooring the pedal on an ICE. In fact, what you're doing is burn those electric motors faster over time.
The reason why ICE cars and electric cars are less efficient if driven hard are quite different and as such will result in a considerable difference in the efficiency penalty for driving aggressively. ICE cars make much better power if the engine revolutions are higher so if accelerating hard the trans will hold a gear longer keeping the revs up. This happens to be where the pumping losses and internal friction are greatest making the engine less efficient, also the cars fuel system richens the mixture during hard acceleration so that the engine will accelerate smoothly. Hard acceleration accompanied by hard braking means that a lot of energy is dumped via the brakes. Driving aggressively also means higher average speeds for increased aerodynamic losses and this at least is shared in common with the EV. In an EV aggressive acceleration means higher current is demanded from the battery. The higher current means that due to the internal resistance of the battery more energy is converted to heat. How much depends on the internal resistance of the battery (it varies with chemistry) and how much current is required to make the required power. Some batteries have a very low internal resistance and if operating at a fairly high nominal voltage can make their power at fairly moderate currents. The current limits of battery cells are generally a multiple of cell capacity so larger cells can make larger currents before excessive amounts of energy are lost. So long range EV’s will have a smaller efficiency penalty if driven aggressively over short range EV’s. EV’s have regenerative braking so aggressive acceleration accompanied by aggressive braking doesn’t result in the same losses as a ICE car. Overall a modern EV should suffer a much lower efficiency penalty if driven aggressively than a modern ICE car.


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