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First Three Conditional Loan Commitments Under DOE’s ATVM Program go to Ford Motor Company, Nissan Motors and Tesla Motors

The Obama Administration is awarding $8 billion in three conditional loan commitments for the development of innovative, advanced vehicle technologies: $5.9 billion for Ford Motor Company; $1.6 billion to Nissan North America, Inc.; and $465 million to Tesla Motors.

These are the first conditional loan commitments reached as part of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. The Department plans to make additional loans under this program over the next several months to large and small auto manufacturers and parts suppliers up and down the production chain.

The Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, first appropriated in the fall of 2008, will provide about $25 billion in loans to companies making cars and components in US factories that increase fuel economy at least 25% above 2005 fuel economy levels.

Applications for the loan program have included vehicles running on electricity, biofuels, and advanced combustion engines, and were submitted by both car and component makers, US automakers, US manufacturing subsidiaries of non-US-based companies, major US auto parts suppliers, and startups.

Ford Motor Company will receive $5.9 billion in loans through 2011 to help finance numerous engineering advances to traditional internal combustion engines and electrified vehicles. In addition, theses loans will help the company convert two truck plants to the production of cars.

Ford will be raising the fuel efficiency of more than a dozen models, including the Focus, Escape, Taurus and F-150, representing close to two million new vehicles annually. Ford is driving a major upgrade, leveraging a portfolio of technologies, including the direct injection, smart turbocharging EcoBoost engine, advanced transmissions, and new hybrid technologies.

The facilities that will be affected by the funding include: Chicago Assembly, Louisville Assembly, Dearborn Assembly, Dearborn Engine, Livonia Transmission, Michigan Assembly, Van Dyke Transmission, Kansas City Assembly, Cleveland Engine, Lima Engine, and Sharonville Transmission.

Nissan will receive $1.6 billion to produce electric cars and battery packs at its manufacturing complex in Smyrna, Tennessee. The loan will aid in the construction of a new battery plant and modifications to the existing assembly facility. These fully electric cars are an milestone for vehicles produced in the United States by a major international automaker.

The Department of Energy describes the new state of the art facility as “a notable effort by a major automaker with well-established US operations to produce its most advanced vehicles and lithium-ion batteries.”

Nissan will offer electric vehicles to fleet and retail customers, and plans to ramp up production capacity in Smyrna up to 150,000 vehicles annually.

Tesla Motors will receive $465 million in two parts. The first part is to finance a manufacturing facility for the Tesla Model S electric sedan. Production of the Model S will begin in 2011 and ramp up to 20,000 vehicles per year by the end of 2013.

The second part of the loan will support a facility to manufacture battery packs and electric drive trains to be used in Teslas and in vehicles built by other automakers, including the smart for two city car. Early pilot battery pack production will begin in 2011, reaching about 10,000 by 2012 and 30,000 packs in 2013.


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This will ensure that the current strain on credit for all type of businesses will not slow down the introduction and mass-production of EVs in the US at least. 150,000 EVs by Nissan in the US per year in one factory is a lot of vehicles and batteries (a huge a pleasant surprise). 20,000 Model S per year by 2013 is also a lot for a startup. Ford is planning to start with 10,000 per year of the electric version of the Focus starting in 2012. Only mass production of batteries can bring down the cost of producing these batteries and this is mass production with several million kWh per year.


Disappointing that FORD is using their money on traditional ICE vehicles.
This should be strictly for EV's. ICE's are not advanced vehicles.


Is there enough lithium to supply this? Otherwise they won't be able to produce them cheaply, or it will have to wait until 20124 when Chevron' NiMH patent expires.


More pork barrel,this is simply ridiculous.
This amounts to nothing more than fleecing and robbery of the American public,a reward for gross mismanagement and greed.


These grants, er loans, are not research spending. They are (choose your term) subsidies, or stimuli, or pump priming. But it sounds better if you call it "innovative, advanced vehicle technologies."

And I am not very concerned about them. On the scale of government today they are inconsequential. And they seem sensible.

Here it sounds like Ford is actually buying tooling to get known technology into the showroom faster. OK by me.

Announcements such as this tend to have a lack of specific dates. This time we do see some dates for Tesla. And somewhere there must be schedules for Ford and Nissan activities.

Notice Tesla and Nissan both get a battery factory. Nissan will build a battery plant while Tesla will build a battery "pack" plant.

Tesla again demonstrates an astonishing ability to grow their company with public funds. They are far beyond clever, finding money is an art for them.

Putting that aside, Tesla seems to deliver on their promises.


Here is what I wish they would build because I think it would sell like hotcakes, what I call a 'contractor special' plug-in hybrid pickup truck using lead acid batteries from Firefly Energy. Use a small portion of the truck bed for batteries, maybe 1 foot back and 1 foot high. The batteries would be cheap, maybe $1000, and a purchaser would still get a substantial federal tax credit(up to $7500). I call it a 'contractor special' because they should also put in a few 110V outlets so a person can go anywhere and use their electric tools.


I'd like to see what would happen if you reveresed the order of the funding. Give Ford $415mil, Tesla $5.9Bil


"hybrid pickup truck"

Raser and others have done demonstration trucks with electric motors. One had wheel motors and was all EV, but you could make a through the ground hybrid using a similar design.

The trick would be to have a field retrofit for pickup trucks that did not cost too much. If you could get the truck up to 20 mpg, that is way up from the 14 mpg stock and we might get many more fuel efficient vehicles on the road sooner with the after market approach.

Government guaranteed or low cost loans are nothing new to this country. This is what conservatives would call "picking winners and losers". They may have picked some winners here, so I have no problem with it. Ford is the one serious player in HEVs with Escape and Fusion. GM and Chrysler do not even come close.


Stenwick:  there's plenty of room for batteries under the pickup bed; lots of CNG conversions put their fuel bottles there.  And the Dodge Ram Hybrid Contractor's Edition was announced some years ago—though I can't remember if it made it to production or not.

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