Since the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan program was launched in September 2008, the Department of Energy has awarded less than $8.5 billion.
This is why automakers, suppliers, start-up companies and members of Congress have become frustrated that the government has not distributed billions of dollars in loans meant to develop the next generation of clean, fuel-efficient vehicles. More than 100 applicants initially requested about $42.7 billion from the program.
In fact, some applications for the low-cost government loans that were submitted two years ago have not been approved. Several projects have collapsed and some small companies are hanging on to the hope that the money arrives in time. Some loans take seven months more to close after getting approval.
John D. Thomas, CEO of ALTe LLC, which has applied for a loan, said that some entrepreneurial startup companies are hoping to stay alive just long enough to receive the loan. So far, only four grants have been completed.
Ford Motor Co. sought $11 billion but closed on a $5.9 billion loan in September 2009. In January 2010, Nissan Motor Co. was granted $1.4 billion.
Tesla Motors secured $465 million in January 2010 to produce electric vehicles. Fisker Automotive Inc. was awarded a $529 million loan in April to retool a former General Motors Co. factory in Delaware. [via autonews - sub. required]