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Posts Tagged ‘Electric Car Subsidies’

Solar Panel Companies Investigated for $500 Million Fraud; Fisker Out of Batteries & Money

In Electric Cars, Government Spending, Obama Administration on December 16, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Electric car

Electric car


Direct Federal aid to private, for-profit companies in the energy sector continues to careen off the road. The Washington Post reported the Inspector General is looking at three specific firms.

“Three of the country’s most prolific installers of residential solar panels are under federal investigation to determine if they inflated the cost of their work to increase the payments they would receive from the government, according to government and industry officials familiar with the probe.”

“SolarCity, SunRun and Sungevity have received subpoenas from the Treasury Department’s office of inspector general for financial records to justify more than $500 million in federal grants and tax credits the firms tapped for performing work. The probe seeks to determine whether the companies accurately reported the market value of their costs when applying for federal reimbursement, which was calculated at one-third of the costs.” [1]

This expense is part of the Obama Administration’s $13 billion 1603 Program that provides energy give-aways.

Another recipient of government energy policy largess, Fisker Automotive, who cashed $192 million from the Feds, is in a different sort of trouble. Fisker is the maker of the flop Karma, one you won’t seen on the road since it’s sold fewer than 2,000 cars. The vehicle has the wrong sort of karma, with numerous recalls and quality problems (like catching on fire [3] [4] [5]. Its battery supplier A123 Systems, another government cash recipient, failed [6]and now Fisker needs another battery maker in order to restart Karma production. Money-losing Fisker also lacks cash to complete the engineering on a planned second electric car model, the Atlantic. [2]

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/solar-firms-probed-for-misrepresentations-in-getting-public-money/2012/12/13/0ba07656-4496-11e2-8e70-e1993528222d_story.html
[2] http://pevc.dowjones.com/Article?an=DJFVW00020121207e8c7ifi2s&cid=32135016&ctype=ts&pid=32&ReturnUrl=http%3a%2f%2fpevc.dowjones.com%3a80%2fArticle%3fan%3dDJFVW00020121207e8c7ifi2s%26cid%3d32135016%26ctype%3dts%26pid%3d32
[3] http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-57543123-48/swamped-fisker-karma-electric-cars-catch-fire/
[4] http://www.autoweek.com/article/20120508/CARNEWS/120509860
[5] http://www.insideline.com/fisker/karma/2012/second-2012-fisker-karma-fire-under-investigation.html
[6] https://econscius.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/249-million-obama-grant-recipient-defective-battery-maker-a123-systems-bankruptcy/

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$10,000 Government Cash For The Rich: $175K Earners Get Volt Rebates

In Electric Cars, Obama Administration, Tax Breaks, Top 1% on February 28, 2012 at 10:44 am

I hope you enjoy subsidizing the rich because President Obama loves the rebate checks sent to the crème-de-la-crème who can afford ultra-expensive electric cars.  Mr. Obama is proposing expanding the free money to $10,000 per vehicle.  Is this a good idea?

Sure, if you are a rich buyer of an electric car.  The average annual income of a Chevy Volt buyer is $175,000. [1]  By comparison, Nissan Leaf buyers are relative paupers, earning a mere $125,000 a year. [2] No wonder they need the check from Uncle Sam!   It turns out the Leaf isn’t attracting buyers new to hybrids for all that money, either, most Leaf buyers already have owned a hybrid. [2]  But they will get your taxpayer money, anyway.

Electric cars still have problems like short battery lives and high costs, thus the Obama Administration is determined to sell thousands more of these expensive cars through highly expensive subsidies.  I would prefer to have people use their own money to buy their cars; this is doubly so for the rich consumers who buy Teslas and Volts. [4]

[1] http://autos.aol.com/article/why-the-chevy-volt-is-attracting-wealthy-buyers/

[2] http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1049202_just-who-is-a-typical-2011-nissan-leaf-buyer-we-find-out

[3] http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/02/president-obama-budget-electric-car-subsidies-chevrolet-volt/1

[4] Rebates were $7,500 from the US Treasury (an additional $5,000 available from the State of California), pending the President’s proposed expansion to $10,000 per car.  http://www.mychevroletvolt.com/chevrolet-volt-tax-incentives-and-rebates

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