Car Battery Startups Fizzle After Heavy US Funding

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by usnavystgc, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Yes it is since he is actually at DOE.:)
    Seems to me we are confusing R&D (eg; lab work) with energy policy direction. All the tax money going to EV is energy policy decision. It is to some extent controversial because it largely came out of nowhere (no public debate) as part of the US economic recovery plan.
     
  2. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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  3. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    DOE it is.

    All of the money spent in the US economic recovery plan had little public debate. I look at all the roads in my area that are getting a face lift that will be gone in 2-3 years and shudder at the waste and corruption.
     
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  4. o2cool

    o2cool o2cool

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    Eliminating the subsidies to the Oil industry would save the government way more than was spent on these programs and would raise the cost of gasoline and diesel. This will increase the demand for electric and other energy efficient vehicles. Next step is to eliminate subsidies at the State level. California (and almost every other state) has failed to raise the gas tax to keep up with the cost of maintaining highways. As vehicles use less fuel per mile, the gas tax needs to be raised to offset the revenue loss. The best thing that could happen to the US would be a major increase in the gas tax. It could be coupled with cuts in income taxes.
     
  5. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer and Ebike enthusiast.

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    Their is a big difference between oil subsidies and grants. Oil subsidies (or business subsidies (not necessarily oil)) are given as tax breaks to a company that's putting forth their own (or investor) money to provide a product/service. The gov't has decided (wise or not) to give them a tax break to encourage growth/sustainment. The end result is, the tax is never collected.

    The money talked about here was simply given to these companies as a grant. The money was collected from poor folks like you and I and then given to these companies. As a stipulation to receiving the grant, they were required to produce a product the gov't thought was right and they were mandated production quotas without consumer demand for the quotas.

    I would have no problems giving these companies a tax break similiar to what they give to any business (including big oil) that provides jobs and services. I do have a problem with the gov't giving my tax dollars away to anyone. If you're going to give my money away, give it to me. I'll find a place to put it.
     
  6. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    ^^ I fail to see the big difference.

    Oil receives money to drill; there is no link to consumer demand
    A solar PV company provides jobs to make their product; again, there is not link to consumer demand.
     
  7. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    +1 on Austin's post. this is just another "the Democrats screwed up" when the alternative is simply a bigger screw up. so we screwed no matter what.

    its funny how "someone" feels that whining about nickels and dimes will somehow make us forget the Billions in subsidies that Big Oil STILL gets today. here we are talking about a Billion "wasted" but was it really? ok, so it did not provide the results equaling our fondest dreams which is essentially how grants are awarded. rarely are they given out based on "worst case" scenarios... that is simply not how it works.

    so, unless we get 166,666 cars a year, its a failure? so why didnt the author publish this in 2010? or maybe they thought they would be derided for shooting down something before it started? well, hate to say it, but we are more than 3½ years away from 2016.

    another thing the author implies that a goal of 1 million EVs means that 900,000 is a failure? i thought goal meant "best case" not minimally required success??

    besides as Austin stated, we wont really know how American based manufacturing of batteries will pan out until Nissan comes online. after all, just as in EVs, their plant will represent a significant portion of the total market here
     
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  8. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    Eliminating oil/fuel subsidies will increase tax revenue greater than spending on this program. But why not cut all the waste? Assuming you like the goals of the plug-in initiatives which amount to about $15B in grants, loan guarantees, and tax credits over a 6 year period, shouldn't the grants have allowed the battery manufactures to build more slowly instead of ramping in an artificial 1 year, then laying off people? Also while cutting oil subsidies, how about ending many of the ag subsidies like ethanol, and price controls and tarrif like those on sugar. etc.

    On the other effect, removing oil subsidies, will not raise the price of fuel. Those subsidies were put in place when oil was less expensive, to encourage development. Prices are high enough so that development would take place anyway. Since the price of oil is the world price, the subsidies really just go into oil company profits. Its the right thing to do since it is straight government waste - other than manufacturing depreciation allowance -but eliminating the waste would not increase demand for plug-ins.

    This is true, but in the case of oil subsidies, the economics would have the oil companies developing these things naturally. Therefore the subsidies are simply a check written by the tax payers to the oil companies to do what they would have done anyway. The ethanol subsidy is even worse. It is bigger, and put in place for mixers to chose ethanol over mbte. Since mbte is illegal and ethanol is mandated, the money goes simply to lower the cost of E10 and E85 encouraging fuel use.

    Yep this is bad also. The main reason some of this money was wasted was the stipulations that they needed to build the plants and hire people before they wanted to, in order to get the government money.

    The DOE was created 35 years ago to reduce imports of oil. It doesn't seem to have been successful at all. This program - advanced battery grants and loans, plug-in car grants and loans, plug in car tax credits, higher cafe standards - is the first one that is actually producing anything that reduces oil imports. The original cafe standards and strategic petroleum researve were started before I and DOE was born under president ford. If you don't like this, its probably time to kill the DOE which wastes much more money than this program. I do think there is a place for DOE, but like most government agencies there is waste to be cut.
     
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  9. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    I had no idea I was driving a mirage.
     
  10. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    eliminating Big Oil Subsidies will not increase the price of gas. as big as those subsidies are, they still represent a drop in the bucket compared to the profits raked in. besides we all should know by now that oil prices have nothing to do with the cost of providing oil. its mostly based on speculation of future supplies verses demand.

    same with raising gas taxes (which is very SORELY needed EVERYWHERE) it is a cost that we pay but if it goes too high, consumption goes down and oil companies lower the price.

    i mean how can anyone really think a dime bump in the gas tax per gallon is really all that important in setting gas prices?? back in 2009 went went from $4.059 to $2.499 a gallon without any changes in the tax rates (actually not true as there was a pending 5 cent per gallon gas tax increase for WA that was tabled)

    **edit** oh guess gas got down below $2 a gallon according to a source near and dear to me...hard to believe hard to believe i paid $1.679 for gas on 12/13/2008 after paying $4.059 on 7/10/2008
     
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  11. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    Were you under the poor assumption that the pngv included toyota and the prius. It did not. MITI was investing in BEVs, and toyota experimenting with hybrids long before the program, and no money or technology went from this program into the prius.

    One of the failures cited for pngv was the exclusion of advanced batteries from the program. Another difference between this and the successful Japanese MITI program for hybrids, is that MITI subsidized battery manufacture and car manufacture. This led to a Japanese monopoly on Nimh batteries. Part of the reason for battery grants was a response to the japanese program., to make sure the US was not shut out of Lithium manufacturing which is thought to be a key technology for the auto industry. Whether you agree with the program or not, we should not draw the wrong lessons from past failures. MITI did waste a great deal of money on programs that did not work, but did fund programs that did work.
     
  12. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    You are absolutely right about oil subsidies not affecting prices, the price is set by a cartel and speculation about that cartel's behaviour.

    But gas or oil taxes do get reflected in the price. All you need to do is look at prices in europe or japan to see the taxes are tacked on. If the tax is small compared to opec's swings the effect will be small.
     
  13. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    No.

    Toyota senior managers have publicly stated that Prius was the result of concern that PNGV would allow US carmakers to leapfrog Toyota in technology. Toyota requested participation in PNGV but was rebuffed, so they proceeded independently with hybrid development, sans support from any government.

    So while the narrow and asinine (but literally correct) statement is that PNGV did not Prius make, PNGV was the driving force.
     
  14. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    That is kind of ridiculousness day is night, wrong is right kind of reasoning to apologize for a failed program. Do you really have some senior management thanking the us government for keeping them out of pngv, and crediting the us government, ford, gm, and chrysler for doing the work on the prius? I see some revissionism, and some statements using the the US companies as motivation to beat. Since toyota got none of the tech, and none of the $1.5B it seems strange to credit a failed program. Why didn't gore just anounce it and not spend the money. Would not that have been just as good. Or if the government raised cafe standards instead pissing away money on 3 prototypes that could not meet epa emissions, it might have been nice. Toyota was rejected as the program was supposed to help US competiveness. That was a total fail.

    But that is in the past, the new program does not cut out any manufacturers. Nissan, toyota, honda, bmw, mercedes are all in the plug-in program.

    That seems equally wrong. I credit Toyota, Panasonic, and the japanese government's MITI. I don't think the us government really had much to do with it.
    FORTUNE: The Birth of the Toyota Prius - Feb. 21, 2006
     
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  15. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    No.
    Read again what I posted.

    The situation is analogous to the US moon launch. The USSR did not contribute a ruble to NASA; NASA does not thank Krushcheyev (or whomever was the head honcho of the USSR at the time); the USSR did not provide the R&D to NASA for the accomplishment ... .... and yet clearly sputnik was the motivation that lead to the eventual US success in sending men to the moon.

    Let me guess: now you are going to dispute whether the US ever *really* did go to the moon.
     
  16. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    Well pngv proponents kept saying it was like a moon shot, but nothing could be further from the truth. The only similarity was that it was an expensive program. The pngv only produced 3 prototypes that were expensive and could not meet epa emissions requirements. They did not get a man on the moon. I don't really like believing in fairy tales. Now if you are saying competition was the reason the Prius was created, and it would not have been created if it did not perceive the competition from pngv, well I simply disagree. But for the sake of argument lets pretend without pngv the prius would never have been created. That is no reason that pngv needed to be a bad program that hurt US competitiveness. This was the reason Toyota was excluded. It also was done instead of increasing cafe standards, which most analyst believe resulted in the US consuming more oil. The program was just not a good use of resources.

    This is what I remember from reading the history. The US and Russians were both committed to putting satellites up. Eisenhower did not want to use von Braun, and chose project vanguard. The soviets surprised the US by getting a satellite up first, when the US thought they were behind in technology. Vanguard had massive problems, and Eisenhower tapped von Braun. von Braun quickly got a successful launch of Explorer. Eisenhower created NASA to explore space, von Braun had a major part and wanted to get men on the moon.

    Fast forward into the cold war and Kennedy got funding for a moon shot, and this was approved because of the space race with the Russians. Kennedy was worried it was too expensive. He offered Khrushchev a partnership to get Russians and Americans on the moon. Russians led in rocket technology, Americans in electronics, and this would be cheaper for both. Khrushchev decided he did not want to share the missile technology with the Americans and rejected the offer. Both sides spent more money than they would have working together and the Russians after some failures decided to cut the program to put a man on the moon. It is said that Khruschchev later changed his mind, but then Kennedy was assassinated. Johnson made the same offer, but soon after Khrushchev was gone.

    We should learn the right lessons from history.

    Hey you are the one making up history here.
     
  17. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    You disagree with published statements from senior Toyota execs, and you disagree with Daniel Sperling of UC Davis and CARB. Enjoy your fantasy, fwiw.

    Search results » pngv« @
     
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  18. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer and Ebike enthusiast.

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    That's great "to know" info Sagebrush. It makes me realize that the big three were not disadvantaged due to Japanese gov't funding the development of the Prius (as many have stated here before). They (the big three) just chose to scuttle what they learned and keep producing big trucks and SUV's. Iwould say now they're paying the price but the truth is, now we're paying the price.

    Mismanagement of knowledge = bankruptcy/bailout etc.

    Proper management of knowledge = success
     
  19. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    I wouldn't say they scuttled what learned. GM put two mode into buses, and the Escape hybrid was birthed from the knowledge Ford gained. Regardless of what reason the prototypes couldn't go to market, most likely they wouldn't have sold. Many people didn't hear of the Prius until the second generation(I only remember ads for the original Insight), and the big three didn't have a protected market where the customer actually cared about fuel economy to support the product until demand changed.

    Yes they pushed SUV and trucks, but how many bought a 4wd SUV over a minivan with better fuel economy and carrying capacity. People might actually mean fuel economy is important in car shopping now, but it didn't appear that way back then.
     
  20. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    America will fail as an industrial nation without government investment. In the past, these investments were primarily military-based. It was ok as long as we could pretend that North Dakota was in critical need of four-lane freeways for "defense purposes".

    Now China and other countries invest big government dollars into critical industries, such as solar, semiconductor fab, battery research, and many other areas -- Wall Street, with its thirst for 3 month ROI and twelve second day trades, is completely incapable of doing this. Our nation and our national defense will fail if other nations are technologically superior to us.

    Of course we need to maintain a competitive, capitalist system, but our government needs to step in and defend us from foreign threats.
     
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