By on June 20, 2008

450790b809a0bbd17f436110l.jpgIt's no secret that we treat GM's plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV) with a healthy dose deal of skepticism. But at least GM is actually trying to develop a production plug-in car. The PHEV strategy at Ford is considerably less admirable, being largely composed of procrastination and panhandling. When asked to speak at a Brookings Institute/Google symposium on the question "Plug-In Electric Vehicles 2008: What Role for Washington?," Ford's President of the Americas Mark Fields had THE answer: writing checks. To that end, Fields touted the "success" of the as-yet-unreleased Escape plug-in. Sure, only 20 of these wunder-autos will ever be made. But that's where your tax money comes into play! The feds should be "creating a new industry/government partnership to aggressively advance battery research, development and commercialization; injecting significant federal funds into advanced plug-in vehicle technologies and into facility retooling to produce these vehicles; enacting comprehensive climate change legislation; requiring regulatory policies that stimulate innovation, rather than just imposing new mandates; and, enacting one national standard for fuel economy – rather than allowing a patchwork of state and federal regulations." In short, you give us our entire lobbying wishlist, and we'll build a plug-in. Ah, modern capitalism.

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5 Comments on “The Great Mark Fields PHEV Beg-A-Thon...”

  • avatar

    “creating a new industry/government partnership”

    “Partnership,” huh? I’ve seen several of these up close, and my advice is to hold onto your wallet and run. The way these things shake out is:
    Capital investment – most or all paid by government
    Risk (always a lot) – borne by government
    Operating expenses – subsidized by government
    Salaries, Fees and Perks – go to industry
    Profit (if any) – goes to industry

    So let’s can that “partnership” weasel-word. If government wants something, it should just buy it.

  • avatar

    There’s no shortage of these types of Government/Private partnerships here in Canada.

    The qualifications are you must speak a lot of Quebecois, and have a track record of voting Canadian Liberal Party.

    BTW – you don’t have to pay the ‘loans’ back either. Just sickening.

  • avatar

    So would we call the Bear Stearns bailout a partnership? I’d say putting the tax payers on the hook for $30 billion was a pretty good screwing. I’d like to see the manned space program killed and that money, along with a good number of retrained-as-necessary people reassigned to such real problems as battery and hydrogen production research. Personally I don’t give a damn if there’s ice on Mars.

  • avatar

    So would we call the Bear Stearns bailout a partnership? I’d say putting the tax payers on the hook for $30 billion was a pretty good screwing.

    Oh the differences.
    a) THAT $30 billion is merely a kind of loan guarantee that most likely will never be paid by taxpayers, it was merely needed to reassure panicky investors that day.
    b) Bear Stearns no longer exists as an independent company and was force-sold at huge loss to a competitor as part of the deal. Shall we force GM and Ford to be sold to Toyota and Honda? Should the Japanese occupy Ren Cen?
    c) If the government hadn’t bailed out the financial markets, no one else could have. If Ford doesn’t build a PHEV, pretty sure Toyota will anyway.

  • avatar

    Differences for sure. But even taking a chance of putting out $30B is huge. My point is that the taxpayer’s money is spent daily in huge sums for various ‘reasons’: endless farm subsidies, including ethanol, eternal feeding of the military/industrial/congressional complex, foreign adventures and earmarks for questionable benefit and possible/probable damage. Certainly we have to move to new energy sources for vehicles, and I think investment in technology would be a good deal if done reasonably well. I would not include bailing out the Big 3 in this.

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