Trump Budget Kills Off Loan Program That Helped Tesla, Nissan, Ford Build EVs

5 months ago by Sebastian Blanco 49

Cut up 100 dollar bill.

Cut up 100 dollar bill. From TaxCredits.net.

It was controversial, sure, but the Bush-era Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program (ATVMP) was instrumental in the DOE helping a number of automakers bring their plug-in vehicles to market. Under the 2007 law, Tesla got a $465-million loan, then paid it back early to much fanfare. Ford ($5.9 billion) and Nissan ($1.6 billion) also got loan money for their PHEV and EV programs. Not everything was a success – the $168 million that the ATVMP lent to Fisker is never coming back – but overall, the program did what it was supposed to do. The ATVMP last completed a loan in March 2011, but it still has billions left in its coffers that could be used for companies that want to build greener cars. Now, Donald Trump’s proposed budget does away with the ATVMP altogether.

The proposed budget also ends the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-e) grant program, which spends up to $300 million annually for a broad range of technologies intended to reduce fossil fuel use. That means things like biofuels and better vehicle batteries.

Trump’s proposed budget says (page 19-20) that eliminating these programs makes sense because, “the private sector is better positioned to finance disruptive energy research and development and to commercialize innovative technologies.” This hasn’t been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt in the realm of electric vehicles, but perhaps we’re about to find out.

This isn’t just about cleaner, plug-in vehicles. Overall, Trump’s budget eliminates or reduces funding for a lot of programs and departments, including the arts, education, and social services. Think things like Meals On Wheels and school lunches. With all of these cuts to popular programs, the bill faces some difficulty in passing Congress, though, so keep an eye on things if you want it to pass or see it defeated.

Source: White House (PDF) via Green Car Congress, Reuters

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49 responses to "Trump Budget Kills Off Loan Program That Helped Tesla, Nissan, Ford Build EVs"

  1. David Murray says:

    Well, all I can say is that any manufacturers who have dragged their feet this long, no longer deserve to take advantage of the loan. It also saddens me that Ford had such a HUGE loan and couldn’t come up with anything better than 1 compliance EV that sells a hundred a month, and two entry-level PEHVs.

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      +1

    2. vdiv says:

      Yup, greatly, greatly disappointing.

    3. ijonjack says:

      Ford should go TITS UP!

    4. Nix says:

      Ford used a big chunk of their money to launch their Ecoboost line of turbo engines The loans weren’t just for EV’s/PHEV’s.

      Between the $5.9 billion dollar ATVM loan, and the Fed Bank taking on $15.9 Billion in Ford/Ford Credit bad debts, the combined $22 Billion kept them out of bankruptcy. Which is a good thing. The last thing we need is to lose a major domestic car maker.

      Folks like to bash Ford for their low range conversions. But combined Ford EV/PHEV sales put them towards the top of BEV car makers. They must be doing something right.

      1. SparkEV says:

        It’s not bad to lose a carmaker. What, too big to fail like the banks? Nonsense. There will be others taking up the slack, whether that’s Tesla or others makes no difference. Sure, there may be short term pain, but what Tesla has demonstrated is that US is still THE place to innovate and do business in new technology. Companies that can’t get out of horse-and-buggy business need to go under.

      2. mx says:

        More proof of Deep-Oil-State-Fraud.
        Because those Eco-“Boost” Engines are only more fuel efficient in the lab, not on the street.

        So, FORD took 5.9 BILLION, with a B, and Blew it on Gas Engines.

        The incompetence of GCCEO: Golf-Course-CEO’s.

        They could have built a REAL ESCAPE HYBRID SUV with that kind of money

        1. needa says:

          Right-O. They also could have licensed Hyundai’s engine tech like everyone else. Would have saved us taxpayers a bundle.

      3. TimE says:

        Sure, you give Ford credit for their “low range conversions”.

        I put it this way: in Colorado, when you apply the Federal and State tax credits to the PHEV CMax Energi or the Fusion Energi – they are cheaper overall than the base gas or base Hybrid version.

        Yet, more people buy the basic gas or hybrid versions in Colorado than buying the PHEV version.

        First time I thought about this – I figured it was completely insane. Then I thought further – Fords ridiculous implementation puts that horrible battery bump in the trunk that makes the trunk unusable for anything much more than your most basic stuff.

        So, way to go Ford! Build an PHEV that is intentionally design to turn people AWAY from them!

        1. Nix says:

          From what I understand, they also delete the fold down rear seats for the PHEV version of the Fusion too. So that limits who wants to buy one.

          But then again, people buy 500e’s and i8’s with very little rear space too. So I’m not going to tell people they shouldn’t buy something if it meets their own person needs, just because I wouldn’t buy it.

          1. james says:

            My Fusion Energi’s reat seats fold down…

            Granted the only thing that fits through the created opening are skis, a couple of 2×4’s and maybe some golf clubs (although not all at once), but dangit they do fold!

        2. mx says:

          That’s some REAL Innovation for 5.9 BILLION DOLLARS.

  2. SparkEV says:

    The loan vs all those other spending programs are different. Loan is something that’s paid back, often times with interest. Those other spending programs are not paid back. Some claim they bring more tax payers through other means, but they are not so easily quantifiable as loan.

    Granted, it’s harder to pick who will be able to pay back the loan, but it’s no different than venture capital. They make money despite the failures, US government should be able to do so as well. This shows why Dump is a poor businessman.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Indeed. The GOP managed to paint the DOE’s loan program, which benefited Tesla and others, as a “failure” just because Solyndra failed. It’s amazing how well propaganda can succeed.

      New businesses fail 90% of the time. Even successful, high profile venture capital firms have a failure rate of about 75%. The DOE’s energy tech loan program had an over 90% success rate. That’s an astounding success, and was great for American innovation! How tragic that the GOP and propaganda managed to kill off something so good for American and for our economy.

      Will there be a time when it’s appropriate to phase out this support for EV development? Sure. But surely it’s too soon, when the market penetration of PEVs is less than 2%!

  3. Lawrence says:

    It appears Ford may have used the money for other business.

    1. Mister G says:

      Yes payola to Republicans.

      1. needa says:

        Right. Because there aren’t any Dems on the take. How much of the United States’ uranium production is now controlled by the Russian Gov’t again? Thanks to Bill and Hillary? Thats right… one fifth of it.

        1. Nick says:

          False equivalency.

  4. SJC says:

    Grants in the public interest for clean air and less imported oil make sense. If the government used the tax breaks for the rich as direct equity investment we would not be in debt and have plenty of good jobs.

    1. Mister G says:

      We are in debt because most Americans love to borrow and spend and don’t like paying taxes for America to stay great. So the politicians see this behavior and do as Americans wish. The only national politician that is the exception of borrow and spend is Bernie…and he got nowhere. When will most Americans really understand that nothing is free?

      1. SparkEV says:

        Bernie loved to spend. His budget was all about spending that can’t be paid for even if he taxed the rich at 100% tax rate. He may have said no borrow, but his spending would’ve required huge amount of borrowing and increasing taxes on everyone. He’s probably the worst among any politicians when it comes to borrow and spend.

        1. mx says:

          Where’d you get that, your Republican “accountant”?

          Whenever you here right wing bull ask yourself this question.

          What was the goal of the 401k System?
          Was it to make sure your retirement fund was in your control, vs. a Company pension, and giving you choice?

          Or, did they KNOW that the NON-PARTICIPATION rate of people making less then Median Income would be ZERO.

          You’d be lucky, and see an economic BOOM, if Bernie Sanders policies were put into place.

          1. SparkEV says:

            You don’t have to be a Republican or even an accountant to see Bernie’s spending is out of whack. Consider healthcare, which has been spiraling out of control even more with Obummercare. Or college that has been exploding in cost thanks to so much gov’t backed financing which will go even more out of whack if it became “free”. Where’s the money coming from? Tax the rich at 100%, and it’s still not enough.

            If you’re still not convinced, just look at EV free charging fiasco. Giving out stuff will lead to shortages, and market will increase prices. Price control will only lead to more shortages, like having to wait instead of being able to pay more for less waiting. Free charging (or anything of value) SUCKS!

            As for 401K, whatever you think of it, it’s far better than pyramid scheme called “Social Security”. The other Bernie went to jail for doing exactly what SS is doing.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              There was a time when the GOP could rightfully claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility.

              But that ended some years ago. Now the GOP is all about unlimited cutting of taxes on the rich and on Big Business, with no real effort to eliminate deficit spending or balance the budget. All this while whining that the rich pay too much in taxes, even when the super-rich pay a lower percentage than their own secretaries!

              Reality check: In the Eisenhower and Kennedy years, when the economy was booming, the top marginal tax rate was 91%. Yes, that’s not a typo: 91% on the top tier of income. Today, it’s 39.6%.

              Yet the one-percenteres today whine that they’re being forced to pay more than their share of taxes!

              How very, very far away we have gotten from JFK’s ideal of “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

              1. mx says:

                Agreed. The rich Horde money.
                The only way to get it out of them and back into the economic is with taxes.

              2. needa says:

                LMAO at how you can possibly say all of that with a straight face.

            2. mx says:

              ObamaCare was the first rule set on the market that actually tamed the 20% yearly price increases. You didn’t hear that on Fox “news”.

            3. Mister G says:

              Spark, do you really believe that SS is a pyramid scheme? All working Americans pay into SS, it is self funded and not part of our national debt. Don’t believe me look it up.

            4. Mister G says:

              Spark nothing is free…can you see my point.

          2. needa says:

            Ermm. It is pretty easy to hunt down. Bernie himself said that taxes would go up to the 70% mark to pay for all that he wants to do. I reckon you missed that part. Might want to be a bit unbiased about politics, so you can see both sides.

            1. Nick says:

              Not nearly enough.

              The top tax rate is embarrassingly​ low when we have people who are cold, hungry, and literally dieing in the streets of our country.

              Welcome to Republican values “greed is good”.

    2. ijonjack says:

      If 0vomit would have given the 720 Billion to the people & put all the Criminal bankers in jail Instead of Rewarding them for their Criminal Deeds. America would have been far better 0ff..

      1. Mister G says:

        Free money in your pocket lol…spoken like a true American lol

        1. ijonjack says:

          I’m Actually Canadian..L M A 0….

  5. Mister G says:

    Can anyone imagine the uproar from fossil fuel owned Republicans if Tesla would have borrowed $5.9 billion..they would’ve lynched President Obama.

    1. ijonjack says:

      I could 0nly IMAGINE they ‘re already ACCUSING Tesla Of Getting FREE GOVERNMENT Money ..When they were ACTUALLY LOANS That Tesla PAID BACK With Interest IN Record Time !!!!!

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I don’t have to “imagine” that those on the Hard Right would whine that Tesla’s loan was unfair and American taxpayers “lost out”, even though it was paid back in full with interest, because the loan was made at a rate lower than what private venture capitalists typically get.

      I don’t have to imagine that, because it actually happened:

      “Tesla Is Worse Than Solyndra”

      http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2013/05/tesla_is_worse_than_solyndra_how_the_u_s_government_bungled_its_investment.html

  6. Nix says:

    I don’t have a problem with them ending this program. But isn’t it conspicuous that they aren’t ending any programs that benefit the oil industry at the same time? This is a prime example of programs for green cars/energy being targeted, while oil industry subsidies continue into eternity.

    1. mx says:

      BINGO.
      ( Actually, they are ending ONE Oil Industry Subsidy.
      The heating oil, low income fund. )

      You can’t make this stuff up.
      If it’s a choice of spitting on the poor, they’ll spit.

      1. needa says:

        The poor can get a job.

        1. Nick says:

          The repubs solution to everything. Can’t work? Then die.

  7. Alaa says:

    This will make it harder for new competitors for Tesla.

  8. pjwood1 says:

    What’s funny is the Obama and Bush Administrations brought the necessary government disruption, which from here Trump cannot stop.

    “the private sector is better positioned to” snuff out any innovation that would reduce its profit margin.

    There, fixed.

  9. evnow says:

    Lets be clear – these budgets don’t get passed. Congress will decide on the budget (actually, congress has just been kicking the can down the road recently). It makes no difference what budget the president proposes – except as a barometer of administration priorities. In this budget it is very clear – Guns over Butter.

  10. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    Where’s the budget to slash gas subsidies????

    They’re practically giving it away to OPEC!

  11. AlphaEdge says:

    That loan program is unnecessary now. It served it purpose to get things started, but the momentum now in the industry is enough.

  12. Thanh Lim says:

    ARPA-e is useful.

    Sorry, but I like that people get funded to look at better solutions to our problems instead of pumping oil.

    The more people who dive into a problem, the better. Private industry is BS. Many companies have started off at the universities and then split off and then they start a company while the uni gets a split.

    It’s insanely capital intensive on getting a startup to bring in those innovations unless they’ve got gobs of money. Heck, look at Elon. Did HE bring out better batter capacity? No. In fact, he relies on Panasonic to manufacture his battery.

    Now, we’ve got some real startups in the battery field and many of those have no chance of incubating outside of a very large company or in a university research setting.

    But the bozo would rather fly to Florida EVERY weekend and burn hundreds of millions of dollars a year than to spend real money on research.

  13. Priusmaniac says:

    What is staggering is the military budget that is increasing to more then 600 billion dollars. When 15 billion could pay a Moon base, that means each year the military spending will be equivalent to building 40 Moon bases.

    Elon said space colonization budget should be higher than what is spend for lipstick, but obviously when the military gets 600 billion it should be at least half that, so 300 billions. And not over a five year period but annually of course.

    Military budget is only further destroying this planet and serving the interest of a few cronies. Space colonization is creating new living places and resources, exactly the contrary. No other country is spending even a third of 600 billion on the military. That is overkill literally.

    1. Mister G says:

      Elections have consequences

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