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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 1:13:03 PM , Rating: 1
EVs are better for the environment. For starters Lithium batteries use very little lithium. A lot of lithium batteries actually have more copper in them than you'd realize.

It takes a huge amount of resources and power to refine oil. Even worse if you've ever seen what happens out in the tar sands which typically burn one barrel of oil for every two that comes out. Strip mining the land, water pollution and the huge settling ponds certainly don't help. Never mind the occasional oil spill or well blowout in the Gulf which probably cost the US government more money to cleanup than the subsidies for EV.

It takes a huge amount of electricity to refine and pump oil to reach you. This electricity could have instead be used to charge an EV for travel.

EV's don't produce toxic exhaust that causes smog in our cities and deaths every year. This alone would be one of the biggest benefits an EV brings.

As a regular car ages, it actually causes more pollution. With an EV it'll probably be 20 years before the battery needs replacing and then it'll likely be recycled because metals such as copper in the batteries are worth recycling.

The main issue with EVs are that they don't have the carefree range that a gas car has. Otherwise there's little wrong with them.

By ritualm on 9/19/2013 8:08:59 PM , Rating: 2
EVs are better for the environment

What kind of BS are you smoking, sir?

EVs themselves are clean. All the mining, production and energy creation processes required to build and maintain EVs are not.

Electricity doesn't grow on trees. It needs to be created by converting another energy source into the stuff an EV battery can use. In other words, an EV merely shifts the source of pollution elsewhere.

This is why I laugh every time someone says we need to abolish nuclear power. The stuff is deadly to mere mortals, its waste byproducts remain toxic for centuries, limited global uranium supplies (unless we start converting existing plants to run off thorium), lots of location restrictions, and there's always a chance of catastrophic meltdown. However, compared to clean electricity generation: high power output and dependable regardless of weather; compared to conventional electricity generation: much cleaner emissions.

But if we kill off nuclear power, we have to make up the shortfall from other sources, and the most promising of all viable power generation technology is a minimum of ten years from commercialization. Good luck with that.

By Mint on 9/19/2013 9:38:59 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see where folaplex said he's anti-nuclear.

And even an EV powered by a non-renewable natural gas plant is far cleaner than a hybrid on gasoline, particularly in cities.

By flyingpants1 on 9/20/2013 8:43:53 AM , Rating: 2
Um yeah.. Everything you said applies twofold for ICE vehicles, because they are less efficient.

I can plug an electric car into a solar panel. There is no such thing as solar gasoline.

So, EVs are better for the environment.

By Reclaimer77 on 9/20/2013 10:40:26 AM , Rating: 2
So, EVs are better for the environment.

Ev's just transfer the environmental impact elsewhere. Just because you can't see the pollution, doesn't mean it's not there.

Having said that, who freaking cares? You drive what you want, I'll drive what I want. And no, nobody is dying or suffering because of it.

I can plug an electric car into a solar panel.

And I can grow my own fuel from algae /shrug.

By Brovane on 9/20/2013 12:36:25 PM , Rating: 2
Power Plant Generators run at much better efficiency than small internal combustion engines which usually run at around 30% efficiency. A large Generator at a power plant can hit over 60%+ Efficiency. So this allows it to be more efficienty with the fuel that it burns, even if it is coal. Also over the years the US electrical grid has been getting cleaner so as time progresses the source of electricity for the EV's will get cleaner.

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