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Electric vehicle jump start, solar turnaround

US unlocks $US15 billion financing door for alternative vehicles

Next generation vehicles received a boost last week when the US decided to restart its smart car technology loan program unlocking more than $US15 billion in funding. The track record of earlier financing has been mixed, with a highly successful Tesla Motors on one hand with a valuation that exceeded $US20 billion, and Fisker Automotive on the other, which ceased production last year.

The $US25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan programme has made no new loans since 2011, according to Aoife McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the agency that administers the program created in 2008. “With no sunset date and more than $US15 billion in remaining authority, the program plans to conduct an active outreach campaign to educate industry associations and potential applicants about the substantial remaining funds available and the application process in general,” she said.

The other finance-related news of the week came from SolarCity, which is seeking to raise $US223.5 million by offering shares and selling convertible notes. Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive of Tesla Motors, is SolarCity’s largest shareholder with a 27 per cent stake.

In Europe, German renewable energy developer Juwi secured a EUR 252 million credit line from a group of 13 banks to support its growth for the next three years.

China dominated the headlines in Asia, with announcements of new solar subsidies, and an increase in surcharge to fund them.
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