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Energy Department Money Going To Big And Small Carmakers

By Ted Nelson
October 8, 2009
File under: Alternative Fuels, Alternative Transportation, Auto Industry, Economy, Electric, Innovation


The energy department has begun to dole out $25 billion in loans designated for the development of fuel-efficient vehicles. The program is designed to grease the wheels for technological innovation that will drive the auto industry of tomorrow to occur here in the United States.

After decades of job cuts in the US auto industry, the federal government is hoping that innovation can revitalize the sector and create employment.

The first $8 billion was handed out back in July, with Fisker being announced as a loan recipient just this week. GM and Chrysler have been excluded from this program to date, since they do not meet the economic viability standard for loan recipients.

The Big

Ford – $5.9 billion

Ford’s Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Michigan will receive the funds to produce 13 fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford says that this will include advances to the traditional internal combustion engine as well as electrified vehicles.

Ford’s EcoBoost technology will improve the fuel-efficiency of its current gas-powered line-up, models which sell over 2 million cars a year. Ford is also looking to convert 50% of its fleet to into so called flex-fuel vehicles that are compatible with E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

Nissan — $1.6 billion

Nissan will renovate its plant in Smyrna, Tennessee to produce electric vehicles (EVs) and the batteries that power these EVs. The plant is expected to employ 1,300 workers and produce 150,000 cars a year.

The Small

Fisker — $528.7 million

Henrik Fisker knows car design: the man has designed two “Bond Cars” for two different makers. Now he brings talent to the green car market for Fisker Automotive. The half billion dollar loan will be used both to begin producing the company’s first model, the Karma sports car, and a second model, a sedan currently known as Project NINA.

Tesla — $465 million

Back in July Tesla CEO Elon Musk said “Tesla will use the loan precisely the way congress intended—as the capital needed to build sustainable transport.” This means $365 million is going towards putting out the follow-up to Tesla’s Roadster sports car, the Model S sedan, while $100 million goes towards a 650 employee power-train plant in California. 

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Discover the latest developments in improving technologies, tightening auto standards, fuel alternatives and how to make your current car eco-friendly. Find out which companies are investing in energy efficient vehicles.

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