back to article US Department of Energy 'flooring the accelerator' with $2.5bn battery loan on battery plants

The US Department of Energy will loan battery maker Ultium Cells $2.5 billion to build three new manufacturing plants in Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan, for America's iconic car business. "DOE is flooring the accelerator to build the electric vehicle supply chain here at home—and that starts with domestic battery manufacturing …

  1. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Any actual details on the "loans"??

    Not much in the way of details, here...

    Is there an interest charge?

    How long is the term?

    What happens if Ultium goes TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Payments) or otherwise defaults?

    Did Ultium put up any collateral or other repayment guarantee?

    Edit: in other words, is this really a loan? Or just the usual money thrown in their general direction with some fancy wording to make it palatable?

    1. blackcat Silver badge

      Re: Any actual details on the "loans"??

      "Or just the usual money thrown in their general direction with some fancy wording to make it palatable?"

      This most likely. The US govt does not have a good track record of this sorta thing. Look at all the solar companies that took the $$ and failed.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Any actual details on the "loans"??

      What happens if Ultium goes TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Payments) or otherwise defaults?

      What do you mean 'if'?

      Did Ultium put up any collateral or other repayment guarantee?

      Don't be silly. See-

      About two years after the Obama administration co-signed $535 million loans to Solyndra the company filed for bankruptcy on September 1, 2011. A 2015 report from the Department of Energy found major flaws in Solyndra's business practices and claimed the company made "inaccurate and misleading" statements to obtain the loan guarantees, and also found fault with Department of Energy oversight

      Just print some 'Obama On Board!' stickers, and it'll be fine. Loans will be secured per normal, so see what happens to creditors during Ch.11 for more info.

      But it's really a case of putting the cart before the horsepower. Yey, the US will be churning out GWh's worth of batteries a month. What will charge those batteries? I propose a modest solution that offers health, wealth and environmental benefits. It takes time to charge a 100kWh battery. It takes energy. So what better than a way to charge your EV, get healthier and save the planet, all at the same time!

      So I propose CMCP* GymStations! Drive there, hop on a bike and peddle for the planet! Your car will be charged in no time** using bicyle-powered generators. Each GymStation will be super-insulated and utilise heat pumps to convert 'waste' heat into electricity!

      *CMCP=Charge My Car, Peasent

      ** By 'no time' we mean time is relative and proportionate to workout. But I found this-

      So if your body is putting out 555 Watts during that one hour then the actual amount of electrical energy it is generating is around 145 Watts of power.

      Ah, power vs energy. Assuming that means 145Wh, 'no time' means 689 hours, or 98 weeks of continuous pedalling. Not including losses between generator and battery, or any battery heating or self-discharge losses.

  2. Tubz Silver badge

    Funny how USA throws money at creating important tech manufacturing, EU does it, Asia does it and even Africa getting in on the game, here in the UK the only thing we through money at is politicians expenses, jobs for political friends, white elephants projects and a NHS not fit for purpose. No wonder UK is deep up to its ears in shit !

    1. blackcat Silver badge

      They are ALL throwing money at political friends etc. It is no different in the US or EU.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Trouble is they're ALL also throwing money at useful things. UK has forgone that step and gone straight to corruption, as per usual.

  3. Lordrobot

    This insane policy failed ten years ago...

    My original post was "REJECTED"... I find that interesting. Why? Because I listed a dozen Obama Headlines regarding his FAILED BATTERY policies which included Plants for LG and others as well as half a dozen of those companies that went belly up. I annotated the headlines and proof on the Register is quicksand for a post.

    What is it with politicians which Ayn Rand called the intellectual bottom rung... pushing EVs and other rainbow technologies by gov subsidies. Batteries are not a solution. EVs and hybrids now fill the landfills and junkyards. The bodies of these vehicles are in good shape but nobody is going to pay thousands for batteries that last no longer than your IPHONE battery. The advertising sizzle exceeds reality. And in the land of green that is a common thread. Wind Generators do not last 20 years, they crap out on average in 5. Solar cells get weaker over time as do batteries. Meanwhile, Diesel still produces the same energy output and doesn't depreciate BTUs.

    The most ludicrous idea is that Murica now views batteries as the most recent source of their NATIONAL SECURITY RANTINGS. And it is always Asia's fault for making cheaper better batteries.

    Obama spent billions on Battery plants... net result... no batteries produced, lots of bankruptcies after the gov funds disappeared. Now Biden is back with the same old washed up Obama policies of free loans and phoney battery plants.

    1. Kernel

      Re: This insane policy failed ten years ago...

      "Solar cells get weaker over time as do batteries."

      While it's true solar cells do get weaker over time, to put this into perspective the warranty on my recently installed 7kW array states that it will still be capable of around 6kW output in 25 years time - most modern diesel engines (especially automotive types) are unlikely to age as well in normal day-to-day usage and will have required significant maintenance expenditure to even survive that long.

  4. Kev99 Silver badge

    These two companies no more need a loan to build battery plants than than a bull needs teats. They're both throwing off billions in free cash. The only reasons they want the loans is so their C-level hogs can feather their nests even more and get a tax write off for the interest.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Same as it ever was.

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