The most recent news out of the Elio Motors will provide grist for the rhetorical mills of both skeptics and enthusiasts of the startup car company. As we anticipated in our most recent post about Elio, the company has applied for a loan from the U.S. Department of Energy’s newly revived Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program. Though Congress had allocated $25 billion for the ATVM loans, less than half was disbursed before the program was put on hiatus in the wake of the failure of Fisker, which had been granted about half a billion dollars in loan guarantees. Elio Motors announced that it will be seeking a loand of $185 million to “accelerate the company’s plans to begin production” of their enclosed tandem reverse trike next year.
United States Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said the whichever of the two Chinese bidders for the assets of Fisker Automotive wins the court ordered auction on February 12th it will still have to keep Fisker’s manufacturing and research in the U.S. Automotive News reports that Hybrid Tech Holdings LLC and Wanxiang America Corp. are fighting over the remains of Fisker in U.S. bankruptcy court for the remains of Fisker, an Energy Department loan recipient that stopped making its luxury plug-in hybrid cars in 2012.
“I’m not going to pick a winner of the auction,” Moniz said at the Washington Auto Show. “What’s key for us is of course the terms of our loan have to be respected. We have technology transfer limitations first of all. No matter who the winner is we will be looking at both engineering and manufacturing in the U.S. That’s the key for us.” (Read More…)
Remember this piece from the Honda Summer 2008 Hydrogen Collection? It was supposed to point the way to future of green fuel technology before the Tesla brought plug-in sex appeal down the ramp with their Roadster and, later on, the S, as well as the trend of compliance EVs from Chevrolet, Volkswagen and Kia.
But with sales of plug-in hybrids advancing far slower than originally expected regulators are taking another look at alternative ZEV powertrains.
Critics of the current administration have pointed to the impending bankruptcy of Fisker Automotive and the recent suspension of operations at taxi maker Vehicle Production Group as examples of why the government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers in it’s zeal to promote alternative energy. The DoE effort under which those two companies received financing is the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, ATVM. Putting aside political ideologies, contrary to the image given by the apparent failure of Fisker and VPG, the ATVM program actually has a pretty decent track record when it comes to picking winners and losers.
The U.S. government has managed to recover $21 million in cash from Fisker, funds that will go towards repaying the nearly $200 million its received from the government in the form of loans.
PrivCo, a private corporate intelligence firm, has published a 20+ page dossier on Fisker’s seemingly strong ability to fundraise for itself, while failing to do a good job of actually creating cars. With Fisker teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, the results are staggering; with just under 2000 units sold, Fisker burned through an estimated $1.3 billion in venture capital, taxpayer-funded loans and private investor funds.
Tesla announced plans to pay down their $465 million dollar Department of Energy loan in 5 years or less, as Tesla seeks to achieve profitability.
Viewers of last night’s Presidential debate may have caught Mitt Romney bad-mouthing Tesla and Fisker during his remarks. Meanwhile, Tesla’s new prospectus shows that they’re hardly out of the woods yet, financially speaking.