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The federal Loan Guarantee Program (LGP) was slammed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in July for inconsistent or unfair treatment of applicants. The Obama administration had shifted the program into high gear, trying to get billions of dollars worth of awards out the door as fast as possible to support purportedly innovative energy technologies. But the GAO found the program didn’t deal properly with applicants “seeking more than $175 billion in loan guarantees.” A loan guarantee enables a company in the greentech field to fall back on Uncle Sam if it fails.
A Wall Street Journal story last year referenced auto industry researcher J.D. Power & Associates as saying the average trade-in age for cars has crept up to 6.2 years. In 2009, there were 250 million vehicles on the road, including buses and trucks; 135 million of them were cars. The difference between electric cars and hybrids is that electric cars are categorized as zero emission vehicles (ZEV). Hybrids, with the internal combustion engine as the primary source of power, has a battery of electric cells, which supplies supplementary propulsion. The hybrid is known as a low emission vehicle (LEV). So, it’s not as “green” as electric cars.
Electric vehicle battery plants are under construction in many locations. “Nearly every big-league automaker—and a whole bunch of smaller ones, including startups—has promised to start producing an electric car sometime in the next few years,” writes Yahoo.com Sept.13. Billions of dollars are being spent—a lot of money and effort. “But every time I write about the coming wave of electric cars,” writes columnist John Rosevear, “I hear the same question over and over: Is anybody going to buy these things?” Nissan’s Leaf is due –in limited quantities—in the U.S. in December, he noted. It may tell us a lot, he adds. Production starts in 2012 at a Nissan plant in Tennessee, with the help of a $1.4 billion loan from the Department of Energy. The “carefully staged rollout” is to help Nissan “save face (and money) should it be a flop.”
J.D. Power & Associates, the industry authority, forecasts global sales of electric cars at only 300,000 in 2015, with about half being made in China. A spokesman for the firm said calculation of sales of hybrid cars in 2015 is 280,000. The sales forecast for 2015 for electric cars—the plug-ins of Obama’s one million-car dream world is only 140,000. “That’s not even one percent of the number of other cars that will be on the roads in 2015,” he said.
Once again, throwing scores of billions of taxpayer dollars at greenish technology in the faint hope that carbon dioxide can be reduced and politicians thereby can change nature’s climate is being proven in the car industry to merely be a grand delusion.
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