Election-year politics delays development and progress of green vehicles

Article by Anita Panait, on April 4, 2012

The money, time and effort spent for creating and introducing environment-friendly vehicles may be paying off with the success of some companies who were able to develop cars. However, the pursuit to make the United States a haven for environment-friendly cars is taking a deep hit this year from politics as the country focuses on the upcoming presidential elections. After a push in 2007 by the US Congress to hike fuel economy standards, Michigan dangled a carrot in front of the auto industry to encourage them to develop green technology.

That carrot is the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, which offers low-interest loans for companies who will indulge in developing green vehicles. Companies like Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Tesla Motors have availed of the program, using the money to convert and retool their plants to suit up for productions of vehicles that does a little harm to the environment.

Some met success and some struggled while others shut down operations while waiting for funding. Fisker Automotive got some commitment but is currently struggling to get its production line running. The program so far has disbursed only less than half of the $25 billion available funding, and with the way politics is running the show, government support for green vehicles might see the end of the tunnel.

This year and the last, Republicans have been attacking the government’s decision to support this type of technology, says Autonews. Democrats and green-tech advocates, meanwhile, continue to defend the program, saying that politics is one of the reasons for its failure. They say that new loans are being hampered by political considerations and the program needs to be reworked. According to Roland Hwang, transportation program director for environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, what is currently happening is a general atmosphere of attack against government support for green tech.

What makes matters worst is that the electric vehicles aren’t attracting enough buyers. In March, General Motors was forced to suspend production of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid for more than a month to trim its inventories.  The company failed to achieve its 2011 sales target of 10,000 Volts, selling only 7,671 units. Rival Nissan only sold 9,674 all-electric Leafs in 2011. Even when combined, the Volt and Leaf only accounted for 0.1% of the total sales in the US market.

If you liked the article, share on:

Topics: green car

Comments

Recommended

It has been more than four years since BMW announced the imminent arrival of its largest sports utility vehicle ever. Now, the German premium carmaker is finally introducing its much-anticipated...
by - October 17, 2018
Ford is giving potential Fiesta customers more reasons to purchase its world-renowned subcompact. Two of these are the introductions of new sporty model based from the ST-Line trim of the...
by - October 17, 2018
Volvo’s performance brand, Polestar, is all-set to redefine the way people purchase their new vehicles. But even before it rolls out it this innovative brand and retail concept, Polestar is...
by - October 17, 2018
Nobody would dare take a Bugatti Chiron to the off-road. After all, the power, dynamics and capabilities of the Chiron are designed to challenge the road and even the track,...
by - October 16, 2018
The new Porsche Taycan is considered as revolutionary at the German sports car maker as the upcoming model is its first all-electric vehicle. Nonetheless, the new Taycan four-door EV will...
by - October 16, 2018