When solar panel maker Solyndra went bankrupt last year, which cost the taxpayer $528 million in DOE loan guarantees, the end of the DOE loan program was quickly prognosticated. The loan program is still around, but new loans have for all intents and purposes dried up. Just a week after presumptive EV maker Bright Automotive called it quits and withdrew a DOE loan application, the program claims another victim. It is Carbon Motors, the Connersville, Ind. startup that wanted to sell fuel-efficient cop cars.
Yesterday, Carbon Motors said it was denied a $310 million DOE loan. Carbon Motors CEO William Santana Li says in a statement on the company’s website:
“We are outraged by the actions of the DOE and it is clear that this was a political decision in a highly-charged, election year environment. Since Solyndra became politicized last fall, the DOE has failed to make any other loans under the ATVM program, has pulled back one loan that it previously committed and, as of this month, the DOE has pushed aside the three remaining viable loans under active consideration.
Each of these applicants has been caught for several years in a costly and extensive DOE due diligence process. Carbon Motors simply appears to be the last victim of this political gamesmanship. In failing to deploy the tax dollars that Congress allocated for the creation of advanced technology manufacturing jobs in the U.S., the DOE ATVM program represents a glaring failure of the Obama Administration to create jobs that are clearly within its power to create.”
Bloomberg says that at least 14 members of Congress wrote to the Energy Department in support of Carbon Motors.
Asked for a comment, the DOE replied to Bloomberg:
“Over the last two and a half years, the department has worked with Carbon Motors to try to negotiate a deal that supported their business while protecting the taxpayers. While we were not able to come to an agreement on terms that would protect the taxpayers, we continue to believe that Carbon Motors is an innovative company with an interesting project and we wish them luck.”
Li thunders back:
“Although the DOE’s new found focus on protecting taxpayer interest may be a good talking point for the media, in this particular case, it fails to ring true. The highly efficient Carbon E7 vehicle would have had dramatic savings for the U.S. taxpayer and every city, county and state struggling with budget deficits. The DOE’s thoughtless decision just cost the U.S. taxpayer over $10 billion dollars of potential savings.”
It sounds like the Carbon cop car is DOA.