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To: Eric who wrote (1908)1/30/2012 8:33:06 PM
From: John Koligman
   of 2661
 
Keep us updated as to progress on the car and it's quality when you receive it. Good luck to you!

John

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To: John Koligman who wrote (1909)2/1/2012 8:16:33 PM
From: John Koligman
   of 2661
 
Energy Updated: 01 Feb 2012 | 23:08 GMT Article

Oil industry sees no threat from electric car

Wed, 1 Feb 2012 12:32:00 GMT



By Tom Bergin

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - The biggest oil companies in the world have calculated that few, if any, of today's drivers will see electric cars outnumber gasoline and diesel models in their lifetimes.

While politicians and green lobby groups insist the future of transport is electric, in the past two months BP and Exxon have released data which points to electric cars making up only 4-5 percent of all cars globally in 20-30 years.

Meanwhile some governments are targeting as much as a 60 percent market share for electric vehicles over a similar period.

The oil company forecasts may appear self-serving, but if they are widely accepted could provoke a policy shift that offers greater incentives for electric cars to end our addiction to oil.

And unlike more optimistic predictions from consultants like McKinsey, these forecast are backed by cash. They guide tens of billions of dollars in long-term investment in oil production and refining and it is oil that stands to lose if they get it wrong.

They don't, of course, take into account a major breakthrough in battery technology that could give electric cars a cost and performance edge over the internal combustion engine.

In its Energy Outlook for 2030, released earlier this month, BP predicted that electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, will make up only 4 percent of the global fleet of 1.6 billion commercial and passenger vehicles in 2030.

“Oil will remain the dominant transport fuel and we expect 87 percent of transport fuel in 2030 will still be petroleum based," BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said as he unveiled the BP statistics on January 18.

The balance is seen coming from biofuels, natural gas and electricity.

Plug-in hybrids can be powered from the mains and only rely on their small gasoline engines when the battery dies.

Standard hybrids are principally driven by an internal combustion engine whose efficiency is boosted by the recycling of energy generated from braking.

Exxon Mobil, the biggest oil and gas company in the world, says the continued high cost of electric vehicles compared to petroleum cars, means take-up won’t even increase much during the 2030s.

In its 2040 Energy Outlook, released in December, the Texas-based company said electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and vehicles that run on natural gas would make up only 5 percent of the fleet by 2040.

Peter Voser, Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell, the industry number two, sees a rosier future for electric vehicles. He predicts they will account for up to 40 percent of the worldwide car fleet, although only by 2050.



A $50 BILLION-A-YEAR OPINION

The statistics published by Exxon and BP, Europe’s second-largest oil company by market value, are perhaps the most detailed long-term forecasts on electric vehicle take-up.

These Energy Outlooks guide how the oil groups allocate their annual investment budgets – among the biggest in the world, at over $50 billion combined for BP and Exxon.

The expected continued dominance of petroleum partly explains the scaling back in BP and Shell’s solar, hydrogen and wind power ambitions in recent years, and Exxon’s continued reluctance to get involved in renewable energy.

Insofar as the companies are active in green energy, it is mainly in the production and blending of biofuels. This is driven by U.S. and European governments’ insistence that a percentage of motor fuels sold must come from plant-based sources.

If the oil companies are wrong about electric cars they will find their investments in big and expensive new oil production projects, which increasingly need crude prices around $80 per barrel to be profitable, not paying off.

The companies do see an easing in the addicton to oil, though.

Despite increased car ownership in China and India, Exxon predicts “global demand for fuel for personal vehicles will soon peak” due to an increase in average fuel efficiency.

BP expects the efficiency of combustion engines to double by 2030, with a third of vehicles on the road being hybrids.

This trend will be driven by more stringent fuel economy standards in the U.S., CO2 reduction legislation in Europe and an end to oil subsidies in developing countries.

Increased airline and commercial vehicle traffic will counterbalance some of the efficiency gains from cars but BP predicts that, helped by increased use of biofuels, demand for oil for transport overall will plateau in the mid-2020s.



GREENS FUME, POLITICIANS SEE QUICKER ADOPTION

Green groups reacted with suspicion to the oil industry forecasts.

"Exxon would say that, wouldn’t they. A big take-up of electric cars is not something they would like to see," said Jos Dings, director of Brussels-based sustainable transport campaign group, Transport and Environment.

"The future for petrol and deisel doesn't look good," he countered.

Nonetheless, environmentalists like Dings fear political complacency about improving vehicle efficiency could prompt governments to ease targets to cut vehicle emissions, which could in turn delay the electrification of transport.

Big Oil’s pessimistic outlook for electric cars is at odds with many governments' plans.

Electric vehicles barely register on the statistics of car sales at the moment. Nonetheless, China is targeting 5 million electric vehicles on its roads by 2020, according to media reports. This would represent around 3 percent of its predicted fleet.

The Australian government's main energy adviser, the Australian Energy Market Commission, has predicted electric vehicles will make up 20 per cent of new car sales in Australia by 2020 and 45 per cent by 2030.

The UK's Committee on Climate, which advises the government, has predicted electric vehicles will reach around 60 percent of new cars and vans by 2030. And New Zealand hopes to get to 60 percent by 2040.

The U.S. has more muted ambitions. President Barack Obama said he wants to put 1 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015, a figure that would represent less than half of one percent of the total fleet.

Many U.S. experts and officials predict a tipping point in the uptake in electric vehicles in the latter part of this decade, as technology improves, economies of scale kick in and consumer fears about being stranded when their batteries run flat, or “range anxiety", eases.

However, data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration may explain the lack of an official U.S. target. Last week, the agency released an ‘abridged version’ of its Annual Energy Outlook 2012, due to be released in full in the Spring.

Tables used in formulating the outlook show electric vehicles and plug in hybrids are expected to account for only 1.3 percent of the U.S. fleet in 2030.

Furthermore, the agency predicts that neither consumers, nor carmakers, will get over ‘range anxiety’. By 2035, the agency sees few, if any, electric vehicles on U.S. roads that can travel for 200 miles without recharging.



CARMAKER ENTHUSIASM COOLS

Many of the headlines out of autoshows in the past couple of years have been captured by the launch of electric cars such as Nissan’s <7201.T> Leaf, the Tesla <TSLA.O> sports car, plug-ins like General Motors' <GM.N> Chevrolet Volt, and the latest incarnation of the Toyota <7203.T> Prius.

Other manufacturers including BMW <BMWG.DE>, Rolls-Royce and Porsche <PSHG_p.DE> have presented electric-powered prototypes.

On the basis of this, one could be forgiven for thinking the auto industry is betting big on electric power.

Yet few auto executives share the optimism of Renault and Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn who has repeatedly said he sees electric vehicles making up 10 percent of all sales in 2020.

A survey of 200 auto industry executives conducted by KPMG released earlier this month gave an average forecast for electric vehicles to account for 6-10 percent of global auto sales in 2025 - more bullish than Exxon and BP but hardly a revolution.

“Certainly a year ago or so, you could have gotten the impression from reading the press that everyone is driving electric cars in two years time,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said at a roundtable at the sidelines of the Detroit auto show last month.

Zetsche said he did not see "an explosion of demand for this product”.

Echoing comments from the oil companies, Gerd Kleinert, CEO of KSPG, the automotive parts business belonging to German group Rheinmetall <RHMG.DE>, says take-up of electric cars will be curtailed until batteries can store energy using as little weight as gasoline does, and can be recharged as quickly as refilling a fuel tank.

“When that world exists, then we will all be driving electric cars starting tomorrow. But I personally don’t see that happening, not even a hundred years from now."

(Additional reporting by Christiaan Hetzner in Frankfurt; Editing by Chris Wickham)

(( tom.bergin@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 207 542 1029)(Reuters Messaging: tom.bergin.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: ELECTRIC CAR/BIG OIL

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From: Eric2/2/2012 7:45:06 PM
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Elon Musk’s SolarCity Said to Prepare Initial Public Offering

SolarCity Corp., the developer of rooftop solar power systems whose chairman is Elon Musk, is preparing to file for an initial public offering, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

The San Mateo, California-based company, which lost a U.S. loan guarantee in the wake of Solyndra LLC’s bankruptcy, may file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as early as next month, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The IPO may value the company at more than $1.5 billion, the person said.

The offering would catapult Musk, 40, into the ranks of the world’s billionaires. He owns a 26 percent stake in electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc. worth more than $650 million as of yesterday’s market close, after adjusting for collateralized shares. His 25 percent stake in SolarCity would be valued at $375 million at the valuation the company is seeking.

A phone call to Jonathan Bass, a spokesman for SolarCity, wasn’t immediately returned.

At $1.5 billion, the company would be valued at more than twice what research firm GSV Insight estimated in December. On secondary exchange SharesPost Inc., the most recent SolarCity transaction was on Jan. 1, at $23 a share, giving the company an implied valuation of $828 million. In November, SolarCity said it would move forward on a $1 billion solar rooftop project for military housing with financing from Bank of America Corp.

Musk owns more than 70 million shares of closely held rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp., also known as SpaceX. Recent transactions in the private market have pegged his stake in the company at about $875 million.

SolarCity was founded in 2006 by brothers Lyndon Rive, the company’s chief executive officer, and Peter Rive, chief operations and technology officer, Musk’s cousins.

The company’s projects are financed with partners including Google Inc. and Citigroup Inc. SolarCity’s backers include Mayfield Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DBL Investors and Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management LLP.

To contact the reporters on this story: Peter Newcomb in New York at pnewcomb2@bloomberg.net; Ari Levy in San Francisco at alevy5@bloomberg.net

bloomberg.com

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From: Eric2/3/2012 6:23:14 PM
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Demand for Electric Cars Outstrips Supply

bloomberg.com

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From: Eric2/3/2012 6:56:22 PM
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GM Releases Smart Grid APIs for Chevy Volt, via OnStar

General Motors wants developers to program plug-in Volts for the smart grid.

greentechmedia.com

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From: Eric2/4/2012 5:33:20 PM
   of 2661
 
For the Electric Car,
A Slow Road to Success

The big electric car launches of 2011 failed to generate the consumer excitement that some had predicted. But as new battery technologies emerge and tougher mileage standards kick in, automakers and analysts still believe that electric vehicles have a bright future.
by jim motavalli

e360.yale.edu

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To: John Koligman who wrote (1910)2/7/2012 12:44:16 PM
From: John Koligman
1 Recommendation   of 2661
 
It's amazing how a couple of years can change the energy picture....

John


Americans Gaining Energy Independence With U.S. Emerging as No. 1 Producer


By Rich Miller, Asjylyn Loder and Jim Polson - Feb 6, 2012 8:00 PM CT Tue Feb 07 02:00:00 GMT 2012


Naturak Gas Texas


The U.S. is the closest it has been in almost 20 years to achieving energy self-sufficiency, a goal the nation has been pursuing since the 1973 Arab oil embargo triggered a recession and led to lines at gasoline stations.

Domestic oil output is the highest in eight years. The U.S. is producing so much natural gas that, where the government warned four years ago of a critical need to boost imports, it now may approve an export terminal. Methanex Corp., the world’s biggest methanol maker, said it will dismantle a factory in Chile and reassemble it in Louisiana to take advantage of low natural gas prices. And higher mileage standards and federally mandated ethanol use, along with slow economic growth, have curbed demand.

The result: The U.S. has reversed a two-decade-long decline in energy independence, increasing the proportion of demand met from domestic sources over the last six years to an estimated 81 percent through the first 10 months of 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the U.S. Department of Energy. That would be the highest level since 1992.

“For 40 years, only politicians and the occasional author in Popular Mechanics magazine talked about achieving energy independence,” said Adam Sieminski, who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to head the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “Now it doesn’t seem such an outlandish idea.”

The transformation, which could see the country become the world’s top energy producer by 2020, has implications for the economy and national security -- boosting household incomes, jobs and government revenue; cutting the trade deficit; enhancing manufacturers’ competitiveness; and allowing greater flexibility in dealing with unrest in the Middle East.

Output Rising U.S. energy self-sufficiency has been steadily rising since 2005, when it hit a low of 70 percent, the data compiled by Bloomberg show. Domestic crude oil production rose 3.6 percent last year to an average 5.7 million barrels a day, the highest since 2003, according to the Energy Department. Natural gas output climbed to 22.4 trillion cubic feet in 2010 from 20.2 trillion in 2007, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission warned of the need for more imports. Prices have fallen more than 80 percent since 2008.

At the same time, the efficiency of the average U.S. passenger vehicle has helped limit demand. It increased to 29.6 miles per gallon in 2011 from 19.9 mpg in 1978, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The last time the U.S. achieved energy independence was in 1952. While it still imported some petroleum, the country’s exports, including of coal, more than offset its imports.

Environmental Concern The expansion in oil and natural gas production isn’t without a downside. Environmentalists say hydraulic fracturing, or fracking -- in which a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is shot underground to blast apart rock and free fossil fuels -- is tainting drinking water.

The drop in natural gas prices is also making the use of alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and nuclear power less attractive, threatening to link the U.S.’s future even more to hydrocarbons to run the world’s largest economy.

Still, those concerns probably won’t be enough to outweigh the benefits of greater energy independence.

Stepped-up oil output and restrained consumption will lessen demand for imports, cutting the nation’s trade deficit and buttressing the dollar, said Sieminski, who is currently chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank AG in Washington.

Cutting Trade Deficit With the price of a barrel of oil at about $100, a drop of 4 million barrels a day in oil imports -- which he said could happen by 2020, if not before -- would shave $145 billion off the deficit. Through the first 11 months of last year, the trade gap was $513 billion, according to the Commerce Department. Crude for March delivery settled at $96.91 a barrel yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The impact on national security also could be significant as the U.S. relies less on oil from the Mideast. Persian Gulf countries accounted for 15 percent of U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products in 2010, down from 23 percent in 1999.

“The past image of the United States as helplessly dependent on imported oil and gas from politically unstable and unfriendly regions of the world no longer holds,” former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Deutch told an energy conference last month.

Arab Oil Embargo That dependence was underscored in October 1973, when Arab oil producers declared an embargo in retaliation for U.S. help for Israel in the Yom Kippur war. The U.S. economy contracted at an annualized 3.5 percent rate in the first quarter of the next year. Stock prices plunged, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropping more than 40 percent in the year following the embargo.

Car owners were forced to line up at gasoline stations to buy fuel. President Richard Nixon announced in December that because of the energy crisis the lights on the national Christmas tree wouldn’t be turned on.

Today, signs of what former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan says could be a “new normal” in energy are proliferating. The U.S. likely became a net exporter of refined oil products last year for the first time since 1949. And it will probably become a net exporter of natural gas early in the next decade, said Howard Gruenspecht, the acting administrator of the EIA, the statistical arm of the Energy Department.

Cheniere Energy Partners LP may receive a construction and operating permit as early this month from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the first new plant capable of exporting natural gas by ship to be built since 1969 in the U.S. Houston-based Cheniere said it expects the $6 billion plant to export as much as 2.6 billion cubic feet of gas per day.

Mitchell the Pioneer The shale-gas technology that’s boosting U.S. natural gas production was spawned in the Barnett Shale around Dallas and Fort Worth by George P. Mitchell, who was chairman and chief executive officer of Mitchell Energy & Development Corp.

Helped by a provision inserted in the 1980 windfall oil profits tax bill to encourage drilling for unconventional natural gas, the Houston-based oil man pursued a trial-and-error approach for years before succeeding in the late-1990s. The fracking method he devised cracked the rock deep underground, propping open small seams that allowed natural gas trapped in tiny pores to flow into the well and up to the surface.

Recognizing that Mitchell was on to something, Devon Energy Corp. bought his company in 2002 for about $3.3 billion and combined it with its own expertise in directional drilling, a method derived from offshore exploration.

Hunting for Oil Traditional vertical drilling bores straight down, like a straw stuck straight in the earth. Directional drilling bends the straw, boring horizontally sometimes a mile or more through the richest layer of rock, allowing more of the trapped fuel to make it into the well. This slice of rock is like the kitchen, where ancient plants and creatures came under so much pressure that they cooked into natural gas and oil.

The oil boom a century ago tapped reservoirs of fuel that rose out of those layers and got trapped in large pockets closer to the earth’s surface, or used vertical wells that could get out only a portion of the fuel stored in the rock. The new technology has Devon and its competitors hunting beneath decades-old oil plays long thought depleted.

About an hour’s drive north from where Devon’s soon-to-be- completed new glass headquarters towers 50 stories above downtown Oklahoma City, the company is exploring for oil in the Mississippian and other formations, where oil majors once made their fortunes. It’s racing companies such as Chesapeake Energy Corp. and SandRidge Energy Inc. to buy leases and drill wells.

North Dakota Booming Crude production in the U.S. is already increasing. Within three years, domestic output could reach 7 million barrels a day, the highest in 20 years, said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston, a consulting firm. The U.S. produced 5.9 million barrels of crude oil a day in December, while consuming 18.5 million barrels of petroleum products, according to the Energy Department.

North Dakota -- the center of the so-called tight-oil transformation -- is now the fourth largest oil-producing state, behind Texas, Alaska and California.

The growth in oil and gas output means the U.S. will overtake Russia as the world’s largest energy producer in the next eight years, said Jamie Webster, senior manager for the markets and country strategy group at PFC Energy, a Washington- based consultant.

While U.S. consumers would still be susceptible to surges in global oil prices, “we’d end up sending some of that cash to North Dakota” rather than to Saudi Arabia, said Richard Schmalensee, a professor of economics and management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

1.6 Million Jobs The shale gas expansion is already benefiting the economy. In 2010, the industry supported more than 600,000 jobs, according to a report that consultants IHS Global Insight prepared for America’s Natural Gas Alliance, a group that represents companies such as Devon Energy and Chesapeake Energy.

More than half were in the companies directly involved and their suppliers, with the balance coming at restaurants, hotels and other firms. By 2035, the number of jobs supported by the industry will rise to more than 1.6 million, IHS said. Some 360,000 will be directly employed in the shale gas industry.

The oil boom is also pushing up payrolls. Unemployment in North Dakota was 3.3 percent in December, the lowest of any state. Hiring is so frantic that the McDonald’s Corp. restaurant in Dickinson is offering $300 signing bonuses.

State governments are reaping benefits, too. Ohio is considering a new impact fee on drillers and increasing the tax charged on natural gas and other natural resources extracted, Governor John Kasich has said.

In Texas, DeWitt County Judge Daryl Fowler has negotiated an $8,000-per-well fee from drilling companies to pay for roads in the district, southeast of San Antonio.

Lot of Traffic “It takes 270 loads of gravel just to build a pad used for drilling a well, which means a lot of truck traffic on a lot of roads that nobody except Grandpa Schultz and some deer hunters may have used in the past,” said Fowler, whose non-judicial post gives him administrative control over the county.

The federal government will see tax payments from shale gas rise to $14.5 billion in 2015 from $9.6 billion in 2010, according to IHS. Over the period 2010 to 2035, revenue will total $464.9 billion, it said.

Manufacturing companies, particularly chemical makers, also stand to win as the shale bonanza keeps natural gas cheaper in the U.S. than in Asia or Europe.

Dow Chemical Co., which spent a decade moving production to the Middle East and Asia, is leading the biggest expansion ever in the U.S. The chemical industry is one of the top consumers of natural gas, using it both as a fuel and feedstock to produce the compounds it sells.

First Since 2001 Midland, Michigan-based Dow is among companies planning to build crackers, industrial plants typically costing $1.5 billion that process hydrocarbons into ethylene, a plastics ingredient.

The new crackers will be the first in the U.S. since 2001, said John Stekla, a director at Chemical Market Associates Inc., a Houston-based consultant.

Vancouver-based Methanex said last month it plans to take apart the idled Chilean factory and ship it to Louisiana to capitalize on natural gas prices.

The shift to increased energy independence is also the result of government policies to depress oil demand.

“Vehicles are getting more efficient, and people who travel won’t be driving more miles,” said Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

Automakers have agreed to raise the fuel economy of the vehicles they sell in the U.S. to a fleetwide average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 under an agreement last year with the Obama administration.

No ‘Silver Bullet’ The 2008-09 recession helped lower oil demand, and consumption has lagged even as the economy has recovered, said Judith Dwarkin, director of energy research for ITG Investment Research in Calgary. Coupled with higher domestic output, “this has translated into an import requirement of some 15.4 barrels per person per year -- about on par with the mid-1990s.”

She cautioned against thinking that rising oil and gas production is a “silver bullet” for solving U.S. economic woes.

Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, agreed, saying in a Jan. 20 note to clients that oil and gas output accounts for just 1 percent of gross domestic production and isn’t likely on its own to be able to pull the economy into above-trend growth.

Cooling on Wind Some companies are hurting from the shale gas glut. With abundant supplies making it the cheapest option for new power generation, Exelon Corp. scrapped plans to expand capacity at two nuclear plants, while Michigan utility CMS Energy Corp. canceled a $2 billion coal plant after deciding it wasn’t financially viable. NextEra Energy Inc., the largest U.S. wind energy producer, shelved plans for new U.S. wind projects next year.

Investors also are cooling on wind investment, partly because of falling power prices. T. Boone Pickens, one of wind power’s biggest boosters, decided to focus on promoting natural gas-fueled trucking fleets after dropping plans for a Texas wind farm in 2010.

“Wind on its own without incentives is far from economic unless gas is north of $6.50,” said Travis Miller, a Chicago- based utility analyst at Morningstar Inc. Natural gas for March delivery settled at $2.55 per million British thermal units on New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday.

When Obama lauded increased energy production in his State of the Union speech on Jan. 24, he drew criticism from some environmentalists opposed to fracking.

Waning Confidence “We’re disappointed in his enthusiasm for shale gas,” said Iris Marie Bloom, director of Protecting Our Waters in Philadelphia. Obama “spoke about gas as if it’s better for the environment, which it’s not.”

Deutch, who headed an advisory panel on fracking for the Energy Department, voiced concern that public confidence in the technology will wane if action isn’t taken to address environmental concerns. The potential positive impact of increased North American production are “enormous,” he said.

Higher U.S. output lessens the ability of countries like Iran and Russia to use “energy diplomacy” as a means of strengthening their influence, Amy Myers Jaffe, director of the Baker Institute Energy Forum at Rice University, and her colleagues wrote in a report last year.

While the U.S. will still have to pay attention to issues such as Israel’s security and Islamic fundamentalism in the Mideast, which could affect oil prices, it won’t have to be as worried about its supplies.

Positive ‘Shock’ Carlos Pascual, special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs at the State Department, suggested at a Council on Foreign Relations conference in December that the increased production in the U.S. and elsewhere gives Washington more “maneuverability” in using sanctions to deal with Iran and its nuclear aspirations.

The increased U.S. production of oil and natural gas is a “positive supply shock” for the economy and for national security, said Philip Verleger, a former director of the office of energy policy at the Treasury Department and founder of PKVerleger LLC, a consulting firm in Aspen, Colorado.

“We aren’t there yet, but it looks like we’re blundering into a solution for the energy problem,” he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rich Miller in Washington at rmiller28@bloomberg.net; Asjylyn Loder in New York at aloder@bloomberg.net; Jim Polson in New York at jpolson@bloomberg.net

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To: Eric who wrote (1914)2/7/2012 10:02:08 PM
From: John Koligman
   of 2661
 

Fisker Stops Work on Delaware Car Factory After U.S. Blocks Loan February 07, 2012, 7:36 PM EST




By Angela Greiling Keane and Jef Feeley

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Fisker Automotive Inc. said it halted work on a Delaware auto factory to make plug-in sedans after the U.S. Energy Department, citing unmet milestones, blocked access to its federal loan.

Fisker, behind schedule in selling its first car in the U.S., laid off 26 people in Wilmington, Delaware, the company said yesterday in an e-mail. Access to the loan has been blocked since May, said Roger Ormisher, a spokesman.

“It’s been frustrating that Fisker and the Department of Energy weren’t able to come to terms on the revisions to the loan in time to avoid this,” said Brian Selander, a spokesman for Delaware Governor Jack Markell, a Democrat. “I’d say the project is on hold while the two sides try to get things sorted out.”

The Energy Department awarded Fisker, based in Anaheim, California, $529 million in loans in April 2010 from a program intended to spur development of advanced-technology vehicles. Part of the loan will be used to redevelop a closed General Motors Co. auto plant in Wilmington for Fisker’s use.

Fisker sells the Karma plug-in electric sports car retailing for $102,000 in the U.S. The car is produced by a contract manufacturer in Finland. It’s planning to make the Nina, a lower-priced model, in Wilmington.

“They won’t release any more money given where they’re at with the programs,” Ormisher said by telephone. “It’s a fairly standard procedure. It’s nothing unusual. But these things take some time to go through.”

Short on Milestones

The Energy Department’s loan programs are under congressional scrutiny since the September bankruptcy of solar- panel maker Solyndra LLC, a loan-guarantee recipient. Beacon Power Corp., an energy-storage company, and Ener1 Inc., a supplier of batteries for electric cars, both filed for bankruptcy protection after receiving Energy Department aid.

The agency last month canceled a $730 million loan commitment to OAO Severstal, Russia’s second-largest steelmaker, that the company had planned to use to expand high-strength steelmaking operations in Michigan.

“Our loan guarantees have strict conditions in place to protect taxpayers,” Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman, said in an e-mail. “The department only allows the loan to be disbursed as the company meets certain milestones and demonstrates results.”

Fisker sent 225 Karmas to dealers and has 1,200 units “in the pipeline,” Chief Executive Officer Henrik Fisker said in an interview in December. Toyota Motor Corp. on Jan. 4 reported sales of 136,463 Prius hybrid vehicles last year.

Karma, Nina

The U.S. awarded Fisker $169 million for engineering of the Karma and $359 million for production of the Nina, a midsize sedan. Fisker has drawn down $193 million from its loans and has raised $850 million in private capital, according to the company’s statement. Chief Executive Officer Henrik Fisker in a December interview said the company had hired about 100 people in Wilmington.

Delaware gave another $21 million in grants and loans to Fisker for its investment in the state. Fisker’s private investors include Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, Palo Alto Investors LLC and lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems Inc.

--With assistance from Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles and Brian Wingfield and Steve Geimann in Washington. Editors: Steve Geimann, Timothy Franklin

To contact the reporters on this story: Angela Greiling Keane in Washington at agreilingkea@bloomberg.net; Jef Feeley in Wilmington, Delaware at jfeeley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net







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From: Eric2/9/2012 11:49:34 AM
   of 2661
 
Tesla Model X announcement:

JOIN US 02.09.2012 @ 8:00 PM PST FOR A SPECIAL LIVE STREAM OF THE MODEL X PREMIERE EVENT.

teslamotors.com

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To: Eric who wrote (1873)2/9/2012 4:17:39 PM
From: AreWeThereYet
   of 2661
 
A-One is now D-one.

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