Report: Feds delay auto-tech loans

The Department of Energy began its Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan program in September of 2008. Over 100 companies applied with monetary requests totaling $42.7 billion. The DOE has $25 billion to provide, and so far it's only handed out $8.5 billion. This is bad news for quite a few companies that were looking forward to receiving a helping hand. Of the 100 applicants, just four have completed the process and received funds.

Ford, Nissan, Tesla and Fisker have closed on their loans while a fifth company, Vehicle Production Group LLC, has been awarded funds but the deal has not yet closed. What's the holdup? That's the question many of the applicants and members of congress are asking.

The DOE has fallen behind schedule on the loan review process, term negotiations and seemingly all other steps involved. Also, due to rising costs involved with the program, it appears that the entire $25 billion will not be doled out. There may be just $10 billion left.

Some companies are still hoping for good news, like electric-vehicle builder Zap. Others, such as automotive parts supplier Tenneco, were approved but have yet to see a dime and have given up waiting.

[Source: Detroit News – sub. req.]

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