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CODA abandoning plan to build Li-ion battery factory in Columbus, Ohio

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Coda Automotive is abandoning plans to build a Li-ion battery factory in Columbus. The company has been waiting for the US Department of Energy (DOE) to act on its $500-million loan application to help pay for construction.

Since Coda applied for the loan, the Department of Energy has come under fire for its loan to Solyndra, a maker of solar panels that later went bankrupt, and for aid to other electric car companies. Amid this criticism, the agency has made almost no new loans, and some lawmakers have called for changes to the programs.

...Coda leaders said in recent months that they remained hopeful about the loan, but that they had developed a business plan that would work without the Ohio plant.



It seems the Solyndra debacle has stopped all government support through the loan programs. If we're ever going to make progress we're going to have to limit the ridiculous politicization of our energy policy. The purpose of loans and loan guarentees is to support possible future technology (that would have general societal benefits) while limiting or mitigating the risks associated with direct support. One should expect some failures. Yet the adminstration because it is in an election year has slowed support for projects that could be beneficial if successful. Why can't the democrats get some of that Newt Gingrich arrogance? This guy says the most ridiculous things and yet the constituents just eat it up. I guess it's because on the left they are too sensitive and don't want to hurt anyones feelings. The world can fall to hell, but they don't want to get anyone upset. I am not saying that this specific project should have been supported, since I don't know the details of the plan, but why are we now not supporting anything. I guess we're just too weak to make a decision anymore.


One unanswered question.

Can local battery factories compete in the world market palace? If not, the facilities should be constructed in the proper place to start with.

We have very good farm land, shale gas, coal, video games, etc.


I look at it as labor intensive versus capital investment. If I can take the labor content out of battery manufacturing with automation, I can build them in a high wage rate country.


Good business decision.

For a small company like Coda, having their own battery plant would be a huge burden. It is much cheaper less risky to source them from a supplier with years or decades of experience.

Tesla doesn't have its own battery factory, they buy them from Panasonic. Fisker buys them from A123, etc.


The Republican plan to undermine the US economy continues to bear fruit. The entire Solyndra controversy is part of that strategy - 250 fewer Americans with jobs is a good thing, in their eyes.

And the Energy Loans program continues to wither, even though it's success/failure rate is better than the private sector's rate.


Yes their success rate seems at least as good if not better than venture capital. It looks like there are more than 10 doing well for one that is not.

That information is available from the government online. The DOE site shows how many loan guarantees to what companies in what amounts. A lot of them seem to be doing well, even in this environment.


I agree that it does not make sense for Coda to do this, GM does not even have their own battery plant. Once the market for EVs takes off, there is plenty of time to bring that in house.


DOE cannot loan taxpayer money to a company that is owned by China. Coda does not build anything in the USA and is financed by $395M in loans from China’s Bank of Tianjin Joint Stock. Had they invested Chinese money in a battery plant in Ohio - they MIGHT have gained some credibility. As it is Coda is a running joke, a Chinese company pretending to be American.


Toyota and Nissan-Renault are using in-house or JVs with adjacent firms to produce higher quality batteries for their HEVs, PHEVs and BEVs. It may be part of the reason why they are having more success than all others.

Secondly, it is not proven that locally made batteries are better than those made in Asia. It may be the opposite (A123?).

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