Friday, February 27, 2009

$25 Billion In Electric Car Loans Not Yet Being Used

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has $25 billion to make loans to produce electric vehicles. Unfortunatedly, although these loans have been available since 2007, no money has been allocated so far. The Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan program, established in 2007, has received applications from 75 companies, including start-ups as well as the three Detroit automakers. The loans also are intended to help fulfill President Obama's campaign promise of putting one million electric cars on American roads by 2015. DOE Secretary Stephen Chu announced that the first loans would be made by late April or early May.

The Energy Department accepted 25 loan applications by the December 31 deadline. Another $2 billion is coming to DOE from the $787 billion stimulus package. That money will be used to develop the advanced battery technology needed to power electric cars, batteries more durable, safer and cheaper than anything available today.

G.M. and Chrysler have applied for a combined $13 billion from the Energy Department, must wait until the end of March for the Obama administration to decide whether the companies’ restructuring plans would make them viable. With credit markets tight, the program represents a source of financing to develop electric-vehicle technology. General Motors is requesting $8.3 billion, earmarking a portion for the Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid. Ford is asking for $5 billion for a variety of electric car retooling programs and Chrysler is asking for around $5 billion. (NYTimes, 2/27/09)

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