Energy Secretary, Stephen Chu, announced during a visit to Ford’s headquarters that it will receive a loan of $8 billion, out of the $25 billion intended for loans to automakers to speed up development of more fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford will initially borrow $5.9 billion to be disbursed through 2011 for retooling 11 plants in Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. The loans will help in employing about 35,000 engineering and factory personnel. Ford intends to begin repaying the loans in 2012.
Ford says that the loans will help it make 13 Ford models more fuel-efficient and intends to start selling four electric vehicle models by 2012.
Nissan will receive $1.6 billion in loans to be used in overhauling its factory in Tennessee where it will start building electric vehicles which it hopes will eventually build 150,000 electric cars annually. It estimates that the project will create 1,300 new jobs.
Tesla Motors, a California company, will get $465 million in loans to make electric vehicles. Tesla is only a six-year-old company which has been concentrating on producing electric vehicles. It intends to build two plants in California one to assemble its Model S, a battery-powered sedan it intends to start selling in 2011 for about $57,000. The second plant will be used to build battery packs and electric drive trains for both its own cars and those made by other manufacturers. The two plants could create as many as 1,650 new jobs.
The bankruptcies by General Motors and Chrysler made them ineligible for this first round of loans. It is expected, however, that similar loans will be approved at a later time.
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