More Loan Disasters Like Fisker and Solyndra Could Be On the Way
The word on the street is that the Obama administration is ready to reignite the Department of Energy loan program for alternative vehicles. I think I've harped on Fisker Automotive, Vehicle Production Group and the battery-failure twins Solyndra and A123 Systems enough for you all to remember that each one of these flops received large loans from DOE... and failed to pay them back. The controversial loan program was taken offline by then department head Steven Chu two years ago. Well, it's back.
Chu’s successor, Ernest Moniz, is hoping that the department can jump-start the loan program again -- and the department is hoping to gain support by pointing to companies that did succeed. Although many of the DOE’s success stories were overshadowed by the nightmare of Fisker Automotive and defaulting battery companies, not all loan recipients were total flops (at least there’s some good in this story?). In fact, a few are chugging right along. Case in point: Tesla Motors. Other loan recipients: Ford Motor Company and Nissan — both for their battery-based vehicles.
I’m all for research, new technology, and reducing the amount of times I need to fill up my car, but I worry that the push for the return of this program might lead to Fisker Automotive 2.0…