Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Feds loan billions for electric cars, GM left out of the circuit

Middle Tennessee is reeling from the uncertainty of GM's Spring Hill plant but the Smyrna Nissan assembly plant will get a $1.6 billion government loan for building an all electric car and possibly creating an additional 1,300 jobs as well as construction workers for a plant addition.
Nissan prototype electric car

Nissan is expected to unveil the electric vehicle, or EV, in Japan on Aug. 2 and begin sales in the U.S. late next year. It plans to start building the zero-emission, electric-only vehicles in Japan initially but shift production to Smyrna by late 2012, said Susan Brennan, Nissan vice president for manufacturing at the Middle Tennessee plant.

On Tuesday, Nissan received a $1.6 billion conditional loan commitment from the U.S. Energy Department — one of three carmakers, including Ford and California-based Tesla Motors — to get such aid. Nissan will use its package and a $500 million investment of its own to build a new battery plant in Smyrna and make modifications to its existing plant.

At full production, the Smyrna plant will need an additional 300 workers to build an electric car plus 1,000 new employees for the battery shop, Brennan said. Advanced ion lithium batteries will be built from scratch and assembled into ready-to-install modules at a new 1 million-square-foot facility.

Construction on facilities will begin the end of this year after a government-required environmental assessment is completed.

Economists said the total investment, which is likely to top $2 billion, will end up creating more construction jobs in the state before auto production starts. "If they end up hiring local workers to do the concrete pouring and other construction, that will have an impact before production of the electric vehicle and batteries even occur." {more}

GM, despite bailouts and now in bankruptcy, had its chance to become a leader in the electric car market but decided to side with the oil companies.
Who Killed The Electric Car?

GM did. The GM EV1 of the late 1990's, a fine vehicle that ran on household current and had the people that GM had leased the car to raving about its performance and dependability.

What did GM do with all that positive customer feedback? They went and took back the leased vehicles, despite the customers pleading with GM to let them buy the and took the cars to a remote SW desert location and crushed them into scrap metal.

GM said to hell with electric cars and bought Hummer. Honda and Toyota went ahead with electric car hybrids.

If GM had foresight and kept the EV1, would they be in bankruptcy today? {more}

Ford also gets a $5.9 billon loan to help the company upgrade factories to produce 13 fuel-efficient vehicles. Tesla will receive $465 million in loans to build electric vehicles and electric drive powertrains in California.

But who will buy these vehicles? Limited drive range and steep prices in a market that is shrinking as American wages continue to go down could be a problem.

The Tesla sports cars will be out of reach for most buyers. Perhaps the government thinks the rich will flock to them as an 'environmental' status symbol and justifying the loan.
Tesla is selling the Roadster, an electric sports car that starts at $109,000 and can travel 244 miles on a 3.5-hour charge. The California automaker is developing an all-electric Model S sedan, which is expected to sell for $60,000 by mid-2011. {more}

The wild card in the electric car momentum will be the cap and trade/climate change bill that Nancy Pelosi said she wanted a vote on before the Congress breaks next week for its July 4 holiday.

At nearly 1,000 pages and probably not understood by most in Congress and most likely not even read by them, what would be the cost increases for electricity? Estimates range from a few hundred dollars a year to several thousand per family.

So we don't even know the cost to charge an electric car but it's full steam ahead with loans to get them going.

In theory, electric cars are the future but when the government gets involved, who knows what the outcome will be.

We are soon to find out.

WKRN Nashville video on the government loans

1 comment:

  1. Not only who is going to buy the electric car, where is the juice coming from?

    From the planned 20-25 additional nuke plants the industry wants to start building.

    I have nothing against nuclear power, except no one wants one in their back yard and we still haven't found a way to dispose of the thousands of tons of radioactive waste no one wants, not even Nevada.

    Ohh, and nukes are so risky that no sane insurance company will insure them, so in stepped Uncle Sam and took on that burden.

    Why don't we hear those well groomed Congressional gas bags bitching about the federal government providing insurance for nukes like the bitching they're doing about a national health insurance plan?