• U.S. DOE Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loans
  • The U.S. Department of Energy has recently indicated that it plans to distribute the remaining $15 billion in Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loans to deserving U.S. automakers. Here's a look at the successes and failures of the loan program to date.

    Note: Loan data provided by lpo.energy.gov. Cost per job is calculated by dividing the loan amount by the reported jobs created/saved. (In the case of Fisker Automotive, we divided the loan amount distributed prior to cancelation by jobs created/saved.) In many instances, cost per job does not provide the most accurate or complete index by which the loan should be judged, rather supplies a quick point of comparison for conversation.

  • Ford Motor Company
  • Ford Motor Company

    Loan Amount: $5.907 billion
    Loan Date: April 2009
    Jobs Created/Saved: 33,000
    Cost Per Job: $179,000

    Ford received funds to revamp manufacturing facilities in Ill., Ky., N.Y., Mich., Mo. and Ohio, with an aim to improve fuel efficiency in gas vehicles like the F-150 truck. The DOE claims that the program helped to convert nearly 33,000 employees to so-called "green manufacturing jobs."

    While many factors have contributed to Ford's current financial standing, the company's stock price has quadrupled from around $4 per share when the loan was granted in April of 2009, to roughly $16 at the time of this post. 

    Ford's F-150 truck achieved a combined efficiency rating of 20 miles-per-gallon in 2013, up 20% from 16 miles-per-gallon in 2009.

  • Tesla Motors
  • Tesla Motors

    Loan Amount: $465 million
    Loan Date: January 2010
    Jobs Created/Saved: 1,500
    Cost Per Job: $310,000

    The DOE awarded Tesla funds in hopes that the niche electric car manufacturer would produce compelling plug-in vehicles, and assist other automakers in doing the same.

    Mission accomplished.

    As Tesla's all-electric Model S sports sedan rakes in awards, accolades, and sales, the automaker has also collaborated with Toyota on their RAV4 EV--the only all-electric crossover vehicle on the market. On top of that, Tesla has already paid back its loan in full, ahead of schedule.

    Despite the company's recent success, some still point to the Model S (which can cost upwards of $100,000) as a toy for the rich. The company's CEO Elon Musk says Tesla plans on unveiling mass-market EVs within the next three to four years

  • The Vehicle Production Group LLC
  • The Vehicle Production Group LLC

    Loan Amount: $50 million
    Loan Date: March 2011
    Jobs Created/Saved: 900*
    Cost Per Job: $55,556*

    Although not as publicized as Fisker, the DOE's loan to The Vehicle Production Group LLC, or VPG, could also be called a failure. 

    VPG started with good intentions. The startup hoped to build a green, handicap-accessible vehicle powered by compressed natural gas. However, the Michigan-based company was forced to shut down operations in May of 2013, just over 2 years after receiving the $50 million ATVM loan.

    *This number is no longer relevant.

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