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Electric car designers suing DOE over loan denials, intellectual property disclosure

They claim the federal government wanted to kill their project, and now the folks behind a radical electric car proposal are trying to strengthen their case against the Department of Energy.

California-based XP Vehicles, which cites Kelly Clarkson’s hit tune “Stronger” as its unofficial theme song, and alternative energy company Limnia are jointly suing the government agency and two of its officials, alleging it denied them $55 million in technology loans in favor of giving billions to companies with political ties to the Obama administration, including Tesla and Fisker.

XP Vehicles and Limnia attempted to file a similar lawsuit in Federal Court of Claims in November, but it was rejected because they did not have legal representation at the time. Now, the companies have teamed up with Cause of Action, a self-proclaimed nonpartisan government watchdog group often linked to conservative issues.

Cause of Action Executive Director Dan Epstein said his organization became involved in an effort to expose what his clients allege is rampant cronyism in the loan approval process for the Energy Department’s $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program, which was created to support the development of fuel efficient automobiles.

To this end, the would-be automakers designed a radical, lightweight, energy-efficient vehicle that uses bodywork constructed from a foam-filled, flexible material instead of metal, and runs on electricity provided by a system of exchangeable battery cartridges or hydrogen fuel cells.
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