Coda Automotive withdraws $334 million DOE loan request

Article by Anita Panait, on April 27, 2012

Electric car maker Coda Automotive pulled out in March its $334 million loan request from the U.S. Department of Energy after failing to hear any positive response in two years. According to Forrest Beanum, Coda's senior vice president of government affairs, the company had wanted to use the money to build an assembly and battery plant in Columbus, Ohio.

Beanum said the plant could have created 1,000 to 2,000 jobs, if it had materialized. Beanum revealed that their application for funding was stuck in a "holding pattern" with the DOE, which oversees the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.

The company, which already had over $300 million in private capital, was not even given conditional approval on its funding request.  Beanum said that Coda will continue its electric operations outside the US, particularly in China, where the company is now doing its car subassembly and battery production. Coda is the latest carmaker that failed to secure funding from the $25-billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.

Other applicants that withdrew their applications include Chrysler Group, which blamed the lengthy approval process and the constricting terms; and Bright Automotive, which was forced to shut down partly because of delays in DOE’s review process.

The program was enacted by the US Congress in 2007 to provide funds for companies that needed extra government money to retool for fuel-efficient models.  But the bankruptcy of DOE loan recipient Solyndra practically made the program inaccessible to applicants, forcing Beanum to say that it is becoming quite politicized.

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