Fisker Insinuates Customer to Blame for Karma Fire

Fisker logoFisker Automotive has implied that the Texas owner of one of its Karma models committed “fraud” or “malicious intent” in blaming the luxury electric vehicle for his garage fire last week, after he had to rescue his wife, mother and child from flames that spread quickly to his house.

The company’s claim could be a fatal public relations move, as the chief investigator in Fort Bend County Fire Marshal’s Office, Robert Baker, has also blamed the fire on the Karma. Fisker, recipient of $193 million (out of a $529 million total guarantee) loan backed by taxpayers via the Department of Energy, has suffered a series of publicity blunders including two recalls, a Karma breakdown at Consumer Reports’ test facility, a SEC investigation of its primary venture capital raisers, layoffs, and a cutoff of its loan by DOE.

According to a report by Autoweek, the fire started shortly after … Read More ➡ “Fisker Insinuates Customer to Blame for Karma Fire”

Duke Power Plant Boondoggle to Cost Customers Plenty

white Coke can

A $3.3 billion coal gasification and carbon dioxide capture power plant owned by Duke Energy, built in order to pacify concerns over the fake global warming scare, will increase rates for its Indiana customers by 14.5 percent the next two years.

The Indianapolis Star reported last week that ratepayers will cover nearly $2.6 billion of the plant’s costs, as the result of a deal between the utility, its industrial customers, and Indiana’s government advocate for electricity consumers. Duke’s shareholders will pay for the remainder of the facility, built in Edwardsport, Ind. Between the Charlotte-based utility and its main contractors on the plant – General Electric and Bechtel – construction costs soared from an estimated $1.985 billion in 2006 to $3.3 billion. Carbon dioxide capture and storage, like much renewable energy, is a technology that has not proven viable on a scale that would meet the electricity demands of … Read More ➡ “Duke Power Plant Boondoggle to Cost Customers Plenty”

GM Boycott Hurting Market Share?

Last week’s earnings report from General Motors revealed a troubling statistic for shareholders. GM’s market share for North America shrunk from 18.3% a year ago to 16.7% for the latest quarter. Not coincidently, a survey by Yahoo Autos revealed that a full 13% of consumers would now “never” consider purchasing a GM vehicle while another 15% are less likely to purchase. A negative perception of the auto bailout process and the continued political overtones at GM are the reasons for the boycott.

Another recent Rasmussen poll showed that 59% of Americans view the auto bailouts as a failure. The Yahoo Autos’ article puts a more positive spin on the auto bailouts stating that two thirds of Americans put GM on their shopping list. Unfortunately for GM, a loss of any segment of potential buyers causes the company to have to spend more in incentives to maintain market share.

Incentive spending … Read More ➡ “GM Boycott Hurting Market Share?”

Romney Must Clarify Positions on Auto Bailouts and Energy Subsidies

A couple of stories surfaced recently that should be of concern to voters that are analyzing how a Romney presidency would differ from the current administration. President Obama has a track record that can be examined to get a grasp of his agenda, but Governor Romney needs to further explain his positions on two key areas that many voters would expect to see a divergence with our present leader. The reports bring in to question whether or not Romney would be any different from the administrations over the past 12 years when it comes to dumping billions of taxpayer dollars into subsidies and bailouts.

The first of the issues revolves around the auto bailouts, which many of us feel were orchestrated with a goal of protecting favored political classes like the UAW rather than to assure that America’s auto industry returned to health with an eye on profitability and reduced … Read More ➡ “Romney Must Clarify Positions on Auto Bailouts and Energy Subsidies”

Sens. Grassley, Thune Want Answers on Fisker Loan

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Why are taxpayers forced to underwrite a loan for the producer of a $107,000 toy vehicle for the wealthy, the majority of which is assembled at a European auto plant?

Two weeks ago Republican Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and John Thune of South Dakota asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu those and some other pointed questions about his department’s decisions, in granting a $529 million taxpayer loan guarantee to Fisker Automotive, a luxury electric car manufacturer.

The politically connected automaker has stumbled a number of times in delivering its six-figure Karma to market, with two recalls related to battery defects, an investigation of its top venture capital raisers, and layoffs of dozens of “green jobs” that had been bragged about by the Obama administration.

The senators questioned the wisdom of extending the loan – which has now been suspended after issuance of $193 million because of Fisker’s troubles – … Read More ➡ “Sens. Grassley, Thune Want Answers on Fisker Loan”

GM Executive Refutes Chevy Volt / EV Hype

Sam Windgarden photoThe WSJ yesterday reported that auto company executives are skeptical regarding the prospects for plug-in electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt. The skepticism was displayed at the annual Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress. Among the skeptics was General Motors’ executive director of powertrain-engine engineering, Sam Winegarden (in photo). It seems that not all criticism of the Chevy Volt and cars like it are driven by a right-wing conspiracy to enrich oil companies.

Mr. Winegarden presented a chart comparing the amount of energy delivered by a given volume or mass of fuel. According to the article, “On his chart, lithium-ion batteries, used in electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and GM’s plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, were ranked close to zero compared to gasoline and diesel fuels, which delivered the most energy for the least amount of weight and cost to the consumer. ‘The rumored death of the internal combustion … Read More ➡ “GM Executive Refutes Chevy Volt / EV Hype”

‘Crucifying’ EPA Regulator was Eager to Inflict Pain

armendarizThe administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 6 office in Dallas, who boasted on video that he sought to “crucify” oil and gas companies as examples much like the Roman empire, has a history of environmental activism and overzealous statements.

Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma revealed the little-seen video of Al Armendariz (pictured) earlier this week, but his extremism was not a surprise to those familiar with his work in Texas when he was appointed in November 2009.

“While he has a long history as an environmental activist, I hope Dr. Armendariz recognizes that this position is too important to be used as a podium for environmental activism,” said Brian Shaw, Gov. Rick Perry’s chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the state’s lead environmental agency. “I urge Dr. Armendariz to use sound science in his decisions.”

The former Southern Methodist University professor often worked Read More ➡ “‘Crucifying’ EPA Regulator was Eager to Inflict Pain”

Execs Get Bonuses at Money-Losing Green Firms

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

Gerri Willis: Burning through taxpayer money, but churning out big bonuses for green energy executives. One of the outrageous parts of the Obama Administration’s failed green energy agenda. It started, as you know, with Solyndra, but it is spreading fast. Paul Chesser is an associate fellow at the National Legal and Policy Center. Welcome back to the show, great to see you.

Paul Chesser: Good to see you.

Gerri Willis: You know, we’re going to focus on First Solar today. And this shocks even me and I have heard every overspending story in the world, probably. But this company called First Solar, they … Read More ➡ “Execs Get Bonuses at Money-Losing Green Firms”

Localities Get Up to $33,000 in Subsidies per Chevy Volt

A Jacksonville.com report gives a good explanation for why some Florida localities are purchasing Chevy Volts. When Jacksonville’s chief of fleet management, Karim Kurji, was asked what the advantage of going green by purchasing Volts was he hit the nail on the head when he replied, “Federal money.”  The story goes on to reveal that the total federal taxpayer money used to subsidize one Chevy Volt purchased by Atlantic Beach was over $33,000. It now appears obvious that the Obama Administration and General Motors are willing to pay just about any price, even if the taxpayers are footing the bill, to see the Chevy Volt “succeed.”

Two more Volts were purchased by the city of Jacksonville with taxpayers subsidizing about $26,500 each. Using the Atlantic Beach example, here is how taxpayers are getting bilked; the US Department of Energy gives a $25,600 grant to the locality to purchase a Volt. … Read More ➡ “Localities Get Up to $33,000 in Subsidies per Chevy Volt”

Over-Stimulus, EV Indifference a Lethal Mix for Battery Companies

Volt recharging photoThe Obama Administration has over-stimulated the electric vehicle battery market, as companies inspired by the flow of federal stimulus support don’t have enough customers for their products.

The government promise of a coming electric car (and truck) revolution, thanks to moves such as President George W. Bush’s signature to approve a $7,500-per-electric-vehicle tax credit and Congress’s passage of the Recovery Act, instigated a buildup of capacity and inventory for batteries. Now putrid EV sales – including the newly introduced Ford Focus electric – have put their battery makers in peril, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“A looming shakeout in the industry, which would likely include plant closures and layoffs, is also likely to touch off a fierce debate over whether federal and state government officials made a major error by using more than $1 billion in grants and tax credits to spur massive investments that are not … Read More ➡ “Over-Stimulus, EV Indifference a Lethal Mix for Battery Companies”