Electric/Hybrid car industry loses power in the face of market reality and lack of consumer demand
This news round up contains a small sampling of recent Climate Depot coverage of Electric/Hybrid vehicle industry. Very few industries have fallen on hard times so quickly despite such massive government funding.
Plant that got $150M in taxpayer money to make Volt batteries furloughs workers -- before a single battery has been produced! -- 'Workers at the Compact Power manufacturing facilities in Holland, Mich., run by LG Chem, have been placed on rotating furloughs, working only 3 weeks per month based on lack of demand for lithium-ion cells. The facility, which was opened in July 2010 with a groundbreaking attended by Obama, has yet to produce a single battery for the Chevrolet Volt, the troubled electric car from GM. The plant's batteries also were intended to be used in Ford's electric Focus.'
Electric carmaker Tesla Motors warns it will miss sales expectations -- 'Tesla has lost $660 million in last 14 quarters' -- 'Tesla said the U.S. Dept of Energy agreed it could delay a third-quarter interest payment due on Tesla's $465-million federal loan. But Tesla agreed to accelerate future payments on the loan. The company said it would seek to raise up to $147.6 million through a public offering to help repay the loan, which has now been amended four times'
'Record' Volt Sales? Not Really -- GM Counts $159 Leases for an $89,000 Car -- 'Fully 2/3s of the 'sales' were leases, leaving around 925 cars that were truly sold. And this lease scam appears to have been going on since the Volt's November 2010 launch'
Heavy discounts only way to sell Chevy Volts: 'GM's discounts on the Volt are more than four times the industry's per-vehicle avg.' -- 'It costs $60,000 to $75,000 to build a Volt, including development, manufacturing and raw materials...With a sticker price of $40,000, minus the $10,000 the company pays in incentives, GM gets roughly $30,000 for every Volt. So it could be losing at least $30,000 per car'
Wash. Post Shocker: 'GM's vaunted Volt is on the road to nowhere fast' -- 'The basic theory— if you build them, customers will come — was a myth. And an expensive one, at that' -- WaPo Editorial Board: 'No matter how you slice it, the American taxpayer has gotten precious little for the administration's investment in battery-powered vehicles, in terms of permanent jobs or lower CO2 emissions. There is no market, or not much of one, for vehicles that are less convenient and cost thousands of dollars more than similar-sized gas-powered alternatives — but do not save enough fuel to compensate'
Consumer Reports: Fisker Karma the Worst Luxury Sedan -- 'Its been 6 months since taxpayer-subsidized ($193 million) Fisker Karma broke down at the test facilities of Consumer Reports' -- 'But now the researchers have finally been able to put the luxury electric car through its paces and their assessment is complete. Verdict: fail. Why did it take so long for the car loved by Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber and Al Gore to get the full evaluation?'
Toyota drops plan for widespread sales of electric car: Admits it 'misread the market and the ability of still-emerging battery technology to meet consumer demands' -- Guy who spearheaded Prius development: 'The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge'
Congressional Budget Office: Electric Cars Are A Waste Of Money: 'Existing tax credits do not fully offset the higher lifetime costs of an electric vehicle' -- 'Without the massive support from our 'rich' Uncle Sam there would be no electric car industry in the USA...Washington also agreed to provide $25Bn in cheap loans to the companies who make electric cars. So far, $8.4Bn has been committed' One of CBO recommendations: 'A larger tax credit is needed to make electric vehicles cost-competitive with higher-fuel-economy conventional vehicles.' Huh? The more the plans fail, the more the planners plan."
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Chevy Volt blames poor sales on conservatives: 'I cannot believe that everybody doesn't want to have one of these' -- 'We cannot believe that it has not flown out of the dealer lots. In part, it's probably because it's been vilified by the right...'