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by Matt Brogan

Nissan is chasing a share of the US Energy Department’s $25 billion loan program for advanced energy-efficient vehicles.

The program, which was created nearly a year ago, has to date issued no loans despite requests from several manufacturers including Nissan, Ford, GM, Chrysler and Tesla.

Nissan has not disclosed the amount of its loan request, but indicated it would use the money to develop electric vehicle technology and to part finance a new facility for battery production.

Of course, there are still questions over whether a non-US automaker should receive loans from the US government because although the immediate investment would be made on US soil, a foreign automaker’s overseas operations could easily benefit from the research and development done in America.

“We are committed to the vision of energy independence, environmental sustainability, and the new energy economy, and we are hopeful that the US Department of Energy approves this loan request,” the company said in a statement.

As of January 23rd, the Department of Energy had received 75 applications for the loans — 26 of which passed the technical feasibility study, including the Detroit Three and Tesla.

The next major hurdle for all companies involved is demonstrating their ability to repay the loans in a timely manner. That could be a big stumbling block for Chrysler and General Motors.

Ford will likely fare a little better, and Nissan seems to be the most eligible candidate in this regard.

For its 1.6 percent share of the money, Tesla is aiming to show profitability by summer. The California-based startup says it would use the money to quickly build an assembly plant for its Model S sedan, which is already in the prototype stage.




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