GM to Lose Even More on Each Chevy Volt

Akerson and VoltThe Chevy Volt madness continued this week with General Motors announcing that consumers will see a $5,000 decrease in the price of President Obama’s favorite green wonder-car. Sales of the Volt have been dismal, with most consumers refusing to be as smitten with the car as the President and the few enthusiastic green ideologues who seemed to believe that spending approximately $20,000 more for a car (over a gas-powered rival) that can save them about $3 a day in gas makes sense. What seems to go unrecognized is the fact that the price cut comes at the expense of GM shareholders, not to mention the costs to American taxpayers.

The price for the 2014 Volt will start at around $35,000. Some sources, including GM, deceptively tout the reduced cost of the Volt as being $27,500, reflecting the $7,500 federal tax credit for the car. It is important to realize that … Read More ➡

Technical Glitches and Payments for Down Time Still Nag Boeing’s Dreamliner

Another fire, another mysterious technical glitch, and happy-go-lucky Boeing skips along enjoying strong sales, revenues and profits, despite the shadow of uncertainty that hangs over the lithium battery-charged Dreamliner.

The wide-bodied 787, following two fires on Japanese airliners in January that grounded them for months, experienced another blaze on July 12 at Heathrow Airport in London. This time the victim was Boeing customer Ethiopian Airlines, whose Dreamliner had a hole burned through the roof of the fuselage in front of the tail. The cause was attributed to an Emergency Locator Transmitter manufactured by Honeywell International, which contains a lithium manganese-dioxide battery – more about that later.

But the monster-sized lithium ion batteries that caused the January fires were cleared. Still, the Dreamliner has not been without its incidents this summer, which were spelled out earlier this week by travel writer Peter Greenberg. And another issue lingers from the … Read More ➡

Duke Energy’s ‘Clean Coal’ Power Plant Off to Bad Start

Duke EdwardsportDuke Energy’s “green” initiative to gasify coal for allegedly “cleaner” burning at its Edwardsport, Ind. power plant has already been vilified for cronyism, corruption, conflicts of interest, cost overruns, delays, waste, and mismanagement, but at least it became operational in June.

For six days.

The so-called “clean coal” project that was intended to have a carbon dioxide capture-and-storage component suffered breakdowns that left it inoperative on June 13, almost a week after Duke’s formal announcement that Edwardsport was on line, and only a day after the nation’s largest utility showed media members around the plant. The Indianapolis Star broke the news on Friday.

Eyebrows furrowed and heads shook not simply over the unexpected early stoppage, but given the questionable behavior surrounding the plant by previous CEO James Rogers and other Duke executives, the timing of the announcement followed by the quick shutdown only raised more … Read More ➡

VIDEO: Tax Money Wasted on EV Recharging Stations That Don’t Work

 

NLPC Associate Fellow Paul Chesser was a guest on the Willis Report on Fox Business Network last night. Here’s a transcript:

Gerri Willis: Well, onto electric cars. Uncle Sam is back to doing what it does best – wasting your taxpayer dollars. Over one hundred and thirty million granted to a California company to build a network of electric car chargers in major cities. Chargers, our next guest says, may not even work for electric cars. Joining me now, Paul Chesser, associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center. What are you talking about? These charge centers won’t even work?

Paul Chesser: Well, it depends on what kind of car you have, Gerri. There are three different technologies out there, there is the Japanese, which this particular boondoggle happens to work with, there is another one that most … Read More ➡

Fisker’s Venture Capital Firm Still Hasn’t Learned Cronyism Doesn’t Pay

John Doerr photoThe sniping and backbiting behind the financial scenes are escalating as those involved with Fisker Automotive and other green tech flops seek to direct blame for their investment failures. U.S. taxpayers, as usual, have suffered bystander casualties.

The latest controversy surrounds Silicon Valley investment firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, which has suffered a series of setbacks over its strategy to place sizable wagers on so-called “clean energy” companies. Their tech bettors hit on several huge successes during the 1990s dot-com boom, which history shows was a huge bubble with a nasty burst. The same thing happened with the government-fueled housing expansion and now the renewable energy sector is ballooning for the same reason.

The conflicts with Kleiner Perkins are mostly about disagreements over who said what to whom and when – soap opera stuff. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, recipient of a $465 million stimulus loan guarantee from … Read More ➡

Obama Administration Still Stonewalling on Delphi Pension Scandal

The lack of transparency from the Obama Administration continues as leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee continue to try and persuade the Treasury Department to hand over documents relating to the Administration’s involvement in the termination of non-union Delphi retirees’ pension benefits. Non-union Delphi retirees saw their benefits lost while unionized UAW retirees at the company had their benefits “topped off” and preserved with taxpayer dollars funneled through General Motors during the 2009 auto bailout process.

Evidence surfaced about a year ago that the Obama Administration played a role, once again, in choosing winners and losers by protecting friends in the UAW over less-favored groups when the Daily Caller unearthed emails pointing to Treasury’s involvement. The emails confirmed that the Treasury Department was the driving force behind the termination of non-union pension benefits. The evidence suggests that Treasury officials lied when they testified, under oath, that the … Read More ➡

‘Demand’ for Nissan Leaf is All Hype and Subsidies

Nissan Leaf photoReports have trickled out lately that, all of a sudden, demand is so great for the all-electric Leaf that Nissan’s production just can’t keep up.

“We’re going to be short on inventory all through the summer,” said Erik Gottfried, director of electric vehicle sales for Nissan, to Automotive News. “It will be late fall before we can produce enough to satisfy everybody.”

Then the appropriate question from taxpayers should be, “What did we pay $1.4 billion for you to do in Smyrna, Tennessee then?!?”

That’s how much stimulus-backed money went to the Japan-based automaker to design a factory outside Nashville to crank out up to 150,000 Leafs and 200,000 Leaf batteries per year. The plant began production late in 2012, and according to the Department of Energy, was to create 1,300 permanent “green” jobs, remove 11,000 gasoline-powered cars from the road annually, and lead to 51,000 … Read More ➡

Obama’s Ex-Car Czar Wants Taxpayer Bailout for Detroit

Rattner photoPresident Obama’s former head of the Auto Task Force, Steven Rattner, helped orchestrate the auto bailouts that saw billions of taxpayer dollars spent to save General Motors and Chrysler in a rigged bankruptcy proceeding favorable to political allies (i.e., the UAW). Rattner is now calling for taxpayers to come to the rescue of Detroit as the city struggles to restructure through a bankruptcy process without federal handouts.

Rattner penned an op-ed piece for the NY Times that trumpeted the success of the auto bailouts and called for similar action to save Detroit. Rattner likens the Detroit situation to Hurricane Sandy, and as such, deserving of taxpayer money. Perhaps Mr. Rattner should contribute his own money to help the noble folks of Detroit rather than continue to try and redistribute the wealth of others to those he deems worthy.

There were many contributing factors to the bankrupting of Detroit, all of … Read More ➡

GM’s Hypocritical Embrace of Free Enterprise

sushiThe US Chamber of Commerce’s “On the Road with Free Enterprise” tour has quietly entered its second month. The main story currently on the “Free Enterprise” website is a piece titled “First Ever Sushi Tech Combats Fish Fraud.” The fact that General Motors is hypocritically co-sponsoring a free enterprise tour might bring to mind the words fishy and fraud as well.

“Beneath the deep purple cuts of healthy tuna and the smell of fresh wasabi, there lies a sushi underbelly in America that will make your stomach turn,” reads the first line of the all-important “fish fraud” story. Likewise, GM’s anti-free enterprise bailout process exhibited an underbelly of political cronyism that turned the stomach of those (like GM bondholders and Delphi non-union retirees) who saw there rights subordinated to the politically-favored UAW.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines free enterprise as: “freedom of private business to organize and operate … Read More ➡

Shallow Analysis Deems DOE Electric Vehicle Loans a Success

A popular automotive Web site’s attempt to set the record straight on the degree of success and failure of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program was well-intentioned, but missed the mark on several points and overall gave the initiative far too much credit.

Jalopnik.com contributor Patrick George was pointed in the right direction when he characterized DOE’s boastful Loan Program Office as “rosy,” but more accurate descriptors would be “excessive” and “unrealistic.” It’s clear his analysis was one of an automotive enthusiast and reviewer, rather than someone who regularly watchdogs government with a skeptic’s eye and knows how bureaucrats fudge and exaggerate numbers to claim credit for their politician bosses. As NLPC has reported often, DOE – before a taxpayer-backed bank check was ever issued to an electric automaker – has made absolutely unbelievable claims about jobs, fuel savings and carbon dioxide emission reductions that were … Read More ➡