Ford, Nissan and Tesla have received $8 billion in conditional loans from the Obama Administration for the development of advanced vehicle technologies that is expected to create thousands of green jobs while helping reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.
The loan commitments include $5.9 billion for Ford to transform factories across Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio to produce 13 more fuel-efficient models.
Ford plans to invest nearly $14 billion in advanced technology vehicles in the next seven years. The company also said the DOE partnership will help the company retool its U.S. plants more quickly to produce fuel-efficient vehicles to meet the new fuel-economy requirements.
Nissan North America will receive $1.6 billion to retool its Smyrna, Tennessee, factory to build advanced electric automobiles and an advanced battery manufacturing facility; and Tesla Motors will receive $465 million to manufacture electric drive trains and electric vehicles in California.
Tesla said it will use $365 million for production engineering and assembly of the Model S, an all-electric family sedan, and $100 million for a powertrain manufacturing plant. The facility will supply all-electric powertrain solutions to other automakers, accelerating the availability of mass-market electric vehicles. The new facility will employ about 650 people, says Tesla.
These are the first conditional loan commitments reached as part of the DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. The DOE says it plans to make additional loans under this program over the next several months to large and small auto manufacturers and parts suppliers up and down the production chain.
First appropriated in the fall of 2008, the program will provide about $25 billion in loans to companies making cars and components in U.S. factories that increase fuel economy at least 25 percent above 2005 fuel economy levels.
The Obama Administration recently raised passenger car fuel standards from 27.5 miles per gallon to a target of 35 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2016. While 35 mpg is ambitious, the DOE said its auto loan program received more than a hundred applications for loans to help achieve greater fuel efficiency.