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GAO report finds DOE not actively considering any applications for Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program

16 March 2013

A new review of the status of US Department of Energy (DOE) loan programs by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that, as of 29 January 2013, DOE was not actively considering any applications for using the remaining $16.6 billion in loan authority or $4.2 billion in credit subsidy appropriations available under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.

The ATVM loan program was established in 2007 by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) to provide up to $25 billion in loans for projects to produce more fuel-efficient passenger vehicles and their components. The fiscal year 2009 continuing resolution provided the ATVM loan program with $7.5 billion in appropriations to cover credit subsidy costs. DOE has made five loans worth $8.4 billion and used $3.3 billion in appropriations to cover credit subsidy costs. Loans awarded were:

  • Ford Motor Company, $5.907 billion, Sep 2009: to upgrade factories across Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio and to introduce new technologies to raise the fuel efficiency of more than a dozen popular vehicles.

  • Nissan North America, $1.448 billion, January 2010: to retool its Smyrna, Tennessee assembly plant to manufacture all-electric automobiles in addition to existing Nissan vehicles, and to construct an advanced battery manufacturing facility

  • Tesla Motors, $465 million, January 2010: to (1) reopen an auto manufacturing plant in Fremont, California to produce EVs, and (2) to develop a manufacturing facility to produce battery packs, electric motors and other powertrain components that will power all-electric plug-in vehicles manufactured by Tesla and other original equipment manufacturers including Daimler and Toyota.

  • Fisker Automotive, $529 million, April 2010: for the development and production of two lines of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

  • The Vehicle Production Group, $50 million, March 2011: to support the development of the six-passenger MV-1, a factory-built wheelchair accessible vehicle that will run on compressed natural gas

According to the GAO report, as of January 29, 2013, DOE had no applications under active consideration for ATVM program loans and has received 7 applications requesting a total of $1.48 billion that it considers to be inactive.

  • Two applications requesting a total of $0.31 billion are “substantially complete”—i.e., ready for consideration. However, according to DOE officials, while an application may be substantially complete, a project may not be ready to proceed for a variety of reasons including insufficient project sponsor equity or the project technology’s readiness.

  • Five applications requesting a total of $1.17 billion are “not substantially complete,” meaning the applicant must provide additional information to DOE before the agency can make an eligibility determination.

The ATVM loan program is accepting applications on an ongoing basis, per procedures set forth in the ATVM Interim Final Rule. According to DOE officials, they are not likely to use all of the remaining ATVM loan program authority given the current eligibility requirements. The loan authority and credit subsidy appropriations for ATVM do not expire.

While most ATVM loan program applicants and other auto manufacturers with whom the GAO reviewers spoke noted that there remains a need to promote advanced technology for increasing fuel economy, in many cases they said that the costs of participating in the ATVM program outweigh the benefits to their companies.

According to the GAO, most applicants and manufacturers cited lengthy and burdensome application and review processes or restrictive loan and reporting requirements as challenges.

Most applicants and manufacturers also noted that public problems with the Solyndra default and other DOE programs have tarnished the ATVM loan program. They believed the negative publicity makes DOE more risk-averse or makes companies wary of being associated with government support.

March 16, 2013 in Fuel Efficiency, Policy | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

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They receive subsidies to build advance cars but it's not selling well. They suffer from a lack of inspiration, that's the major problem. The satisfaction from car consumers about these new cars are very low. nobody is inpress by the leaf, the volt is costly and gm make few money with it, tesla is only for a few handful richs and is selling few, fisker is still struggling, etc. batteries degrade fast when employed in cars. heat and cold is a big problem, charging infrastructure is costly and enderemployed. Charging infrastructure take too much valuable space because it have to be reserved and only a car is showing from time to time. This is not a good idea.

Why not build cars with 2 tanks, one for nat gas and one for gasoline so it become a bi-fuel car and nat gas is cheaper and cleaner and there is a surplus actually on the market. this technology is simple and cheap and should be popular. they can start to sell these cars in los-angeles and start to inplement nat-gas station in that area that suffer from polution. This is the most efficient and cheapest solution to decrease energy cost and reduce pollution. I said. Even old ice cars can be converted to run on bi-fuel nat gas and gasoline for 1 500$ to 3 000$ with addon tanks and some adapters lines and reprogrammation.

Why not build cars with 2 tanks, one for nat gas and one for gasoline so it become a bi-fuel car and nat gas is cheaper and cleaner and there is a surplus actually on the market.
A D has gotten on board my bandwagon!

I understand that conventional ICEs can be very hard to start on natural gas, but if NG was only used as a 2/3 mix with 1/3 gasoline remaining it would turn a 25 MPG car into a 75 MPG car... or a 15 MPG guzzler truck into a 45 MPG gas-sipper.  Natural gas tanks can be filled at home overnight.  Looking at my latest gas bill, I'm paying 74.8¢ per hundred cubic feet (~103,000 BTU) delivered.  That's the equivalent of about 84 cents a gallon.  Even if you added a meter to charge 40¢/gge in road taxes, it would be a third of the pump price down the road.

Nobody's talking about this.  We need to.

I think the critics are trying to have it both ways again. They whine about Solyndra then whine when the gov is more careful. They complained about the gov spending too much and now the gov isn't spending fast enough, wtf?

In a USA style Moneycracy, firms want hand outs and 150+% tax credits, not low interest government loans.

Yes, ICEVs do not start well or not at all on cold winter mornings with NG or CNG. We had very bad (costly) experiences a few years ago. To start and run a few minutes on gasoline and then switch to NG could be a good solution if the ICE could be automatically fine turned to max the efficiency for both fuels.

Co-fueling NG using some gasoline as starting fuel and a flame-speed enhancer could mitigate many of the problems experienced by CNGV users.  So long as the transitions are seamless and performance decent, it would be popular.

Fisker Automotive, $529
Al Gore,
Nissan North America whonder what lobbyists got them
the that cash?
All I see here are LARGE companies
getting more government handouts.
And where do the original ideas come from? Where do ideas go to get buried? Another year of the government Tucker eh? Where is the air car? Hydrogen car? Where is the super capacitor car? Mass graphene production? How a Li-Ion battery that can hold as much power per pound as gas? I have been hearing 5 years out for about 15 years now and the government gives money to the good ole
boys who pay off lobbyists keep the status quo. Depressing as always.

Money from the government is not free as many ranters describe. There are requirements one must meet to qualify. Despite the rights rants on all the failures and various other falsehoods, the majority of recovery act grants and ATVM loans will result in very succesful projects. So why is that not news. You know, a headline like this "Most government funded projects are successful". I guess the facts are boring, you have to jazz things up to sell the "NEWS".

B4,

Good points, many of those projects would not even get started if not for this funding. The government funds what needs to be done when the private sector won't do it. If we waited for the private sector only, just the quick buck most profitable business would happen.

What requirements, if any, are there for the oil companies to get this money? Do they meet them, do we get our money's worth, could we get a better return on something else?

"Most applicants and manufacturers also noted that public problems with the Solyndra default and other DOE programs have tarnished the ATVM loan program. They believed the negative publicity makes DOE more risk-averse or makes companies wary of being associated with government support."

Mission Accomplished - courtesy of the Republican Party media frenzy regarding Solyndra, paid and guided by the Fossil Fuel Manufacturers of America.

"What requirements, if any, are there for the oil companies to get this money? Do they meet them, do we get our money's worth, could we get a better return on something else?"

Well, since the oil companies aren't trying to manufacture advanced technology vehicles they probably aren't able to qualify (that's what the loan program was for - building cars).

But don't worry in 2012 with oil at record high prices (and profits right up in the stratosphere) the top 5 oil Companies in the U.S. got $2.4 Billion in tax breaks according to a CNN/Money article.

Sorry Sasparilla, I should have been more clear: The oil companies have their own government support program (subsidies, etc.) and I wanted to know "What requirements, if any, are there for the oil companies to get this money? Do they meet them, do we get our money's worth, could we get a better return on something else?"

NO. They whine about Solyndra then whine about Suntech Power Holdings Co.

And do you suppose it might NOT be the same people that complained about the gov spending too much and now the gov isn't spending fast enough?

wtf?

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