To date there have been 75 applications for low cost loans from the US Department of Energy through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program. Only one of those has been from a Japan-based automaker, Nissan. The ATVMIP is the $25 billion fund created as part of the 2007 energy bill to help automakers and suppliers pay for the costs of developing and tooling to build more efficient vehicles that meet the new CAFE requirements.
The 75 applications so far equal total requests of $38 billion, so some companies are expected to come away empty handed. A Bloomberg report quotes Energy Department spokesman Phil West as saying only 26 of the applications are "substantially complete." The largest chunks are expected to go to the Detroit automakers along with some battery suppliers. Tesla Motors applied for $450 million in funds to pay for the development and production of its Model S sedan.

As for Nissan, spokesman Brian Brockman told ABG "Yes, we've applied. We aren't discussing how much or what we would use it for." Given Nissan's commitment to bringing electric vehicles to market beginning in 2010 and its involvement with Better Place, it could be looking at building EVs here in the United States.

[Sources: Bloomberg, Nissan]

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