Tesla Soaks Nevada for $1.3B in Corporate Welfare; Just the Beginning

Tesla logoThere was little doubt that once CEO Elon Musk and Tesla announced they would locate their electric vehicle battery “Gigafactory” in Nevada, that Silver State lawmakers would vote in a special legislative session to support targeted tax breaks and incentives – even at the breathtaking amount of $1.3 billion.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, the courter, would have appeared an extreme fool if he didn’t already have the political backing needed for the deal. But there were other mini-surprises: Unanimity at the legislature; four separate bills passed to construct the package; and benefits enjoyed by other industries in Nevada that were rescinded to help with the Tesla payoff.

“This is obviously an historic and exciting day for our great state,” said Democrat state Sen. Justin Jones from Las Vegas.

Just imagine how Nevada lawmakers would feel if they won the heart of a real automobile company, like Texas just did

Dismal Outlook for EVs on Both Sides of the Atlantic

Nissan Leaf photoFor electric vehicle enthusiasts with the “if you build it, they will come” mentality, who endorse endless taxpayer subsidies for plug-in automobiles and infrastructure to charge them, there’s bad news this week.

The Daily Mail reported that sales of electric cars in the United Kingdom have fallen so sharply that there are now more charging stations than there are vehicles. If you thought the flaccid U.S. sales of the Chevy Volt (7,671 units) and Nissan Leaf (9,674 units) were a letdown – despite significant government funding for research and development, batteries, charging systems, and a $7,500 tax credit for buyers – the signs from Europe won’t lift spirits.

“Just 2,149 electric cars have been sold since 2006, despite a government scheme last year offering customers up to £5,000 (about $7,700 U.S. dollars) towards the cost of a vehicle,” the U.K. newspaper reported. “The Department for Transport says that around 2,500 …

DOE Bet on EV Charging Technology Puts Taxpayers in Reverse

Volt recharging photoOn Friday NLPC reported that the Department of Energy may have made a bad bet on Ecotality, the car-charging company that is heavily dependent on $115 million in government grants to deploy stations for electric vehicles through its EV Project. It turns out that DOE may not only be gambling taxpayer funds on a shaky company, but may also have dumped a bunch of money into a technology with a questionable future.

Last week seven automotive companies – General Motors, Ford, BMW, Audi, Daimler, Porsche, and Volkswagen – announced they would adopt a single standard, established by the Society of Automotive Engineers, for fast charging the electric vehicles (a speedy re-boost is what every EV owner wants, right?) they produce in the future. Sound good?

Unfortunately this new zip-charging standard is not compatible with the one used for the current No. 1 electric vehicle on the U.S. market …

Green Pressure Groups Try to Split National Association of Manufacturers

National business associations have been targets of intimidation tactics by environmentalist groups for some time now. For example, Greenpeace trespassed on the grounds of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the eco-gangs attacked their climate change positions to the point where individual members left the organization. Meanwhile “Green” investors have pressured companies to leave the chamber as well.

The environmental groups have similarly gone after the National Association of Manufacturers, and now “Green” investment groups have turned up their campaign against corporate members of the group to “explain themselves” with regard to “contradictory stances” between what the companies individually say about climate change, versus the position that NAM takes. Specifically the eco-financiers are upset that in March NAM backed an amendment to a small business bill that would prevent EPA from “overregulation” of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources (that is, smokestacks from industry and utilities). NAM explained:

Manufacturers support

Investors Flock to ‘Clean’ Tech, So Why the Subsidies?

According to a report in USA Today, venture capitalists are throwing tons of money into clean and “Green” technology companies. In fact, investor Alan Salzman of VantagePoint Capital Partners says, “It’s not alternative: We think of it as mainstream.”

How mainstream? The newspaper says:

Several venture capitalists interviewed say it could be hundreds of billions of dollars — if not more — when adding up various slices, such as wind (estimated $60 billion) and solar ($20 billion to $30 billion).

There is little doubt what VCs think: They poured $4.9 billion into domestic start-ups last year, up 40% from 2009, says market researcher Cleantech Group.

The numbers suggest “strong long-term VC interest,” says Sheeraz Haji, an analyst at Cleantech Group who notes that an increase in the average size of deals shows a “continued bias towards later-stage deals.”

Wow. And the evidence just flows and flows

Was GM/UAW Behind Toyota Bashing?

One year after federal prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into Toyota’s unintended acceleration safety issues, a ten month investigation came to the conclusion that there were no electronic flaws that led to accidents involving Toyota vehicles. The causes were attributed to driver error and sticky accelerator pedals and floor mats. These were the exact causes that Toyota pointed to when congressional leaders decided to attack the automaker at a time when General Motors was struggling to regain sales after exiting its bankruptcy.

The SEC subpoenaed documents from Toyota back in February of 2010 when the criminal investigation began. Members of Congress piled on to the assault with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California) sending a letter to Toyota and the Department of Transportation that stated, “First, the documents appear to show that Toyota consistently dismissed the possibility that electronic failures could be responsible for incidents of sudden unintended acceleration. Second, the one …