CODA Automotive has announced that they’re abandoning plans to build a lithium-ion battery factory in Columbus, Ohio. This because long delays have made it clear that the Department of Energy (DOE) will not likely act on their $500-million loan application for the project.
The Columbus Dispatch blames the issue on the DOE, the administration, and politics.
Since Coda applied for the loan, the Department of Energy has come under fire for its loan to Solyndra, a maker of solar panels that later went bankrupt, and for aid to other electric car companies. Amid this criticism, the agency has made almost no new loans, and some lawmakers have called for changes to the programs.
…Coda leaders said in recent months that they remained hopeful about the loan, but that they had developed a business plan that would work without the Ohio plant.
Interesting. One commenter on GreenCarCongress said, apparently without seeing the humor in his hypocrisy, that:
“It seems the Solyndra debacle has stopped all government support through the loan programs. If we’re ever going to make progress we’re going to have to limit the ridiculous politicization of our energy policy. The purpose of loans and loan guarentees is to support possible future technology (that would have general societal benefits) while limiting or mitigating the risks associated with direct support.”
If you can’t see the hilarious problem with Brotherkenny4′s statement, you’d make a great political candidate. Solyndra was a huge failure primarily because it accepted government loans and then promptly defaulted on them, meaning the “mitigation” of the risks was non-existent. The taxpayer funded Solyndra as if it were a grant, the company just had to go through a few hoops to make it so.
In reality, another commenter on GCC, Anne, spelled it out simply:
Good business decision.
“For a small company like Coda, having their own battery plant would be a huge burden. It is much cheaper less risky to source them from a supplier with years or decades of experience.
Tesla doesn’t have its own battery factory, they buy them from Panasonic. Fisker buys them from A123, etc.”
Of course, that kind of logic can’t stop the political partisanship and claims of government excellence in all things business:
“The Republican plan to undermine the US economy continues to bear fruit. The entire Solyndra controversy is part of that strategy – 250 fewer Americans with jobs is a good thing, in their eyes.
And the Energy Loans program continues to wither, even though it’s success/failure rate is better than the private sector’s rate.”
This, of course, is qualified by a source that is none other than..
“That information is available from the government online.”
In the end, the answer is pretty clear: CODA hoped to get the U.S. government involved in its business by applying for a loan, just as it did when it got loans from the Chinese government for CODA’s operations there. Those USG loans appear to be falling through, so the company is proceeding with Plan B.
Seems to me that CODA is run by some intelligent people. They’re ready for contingencies and exploring all options. As they should. Sadly, too many of those options for any business today is to beg government for handouts (er.. “loans”).