Trump budget plan would scrap energy grants, auto loan program
The Trump administration on Thursday proposed eliminating Energy Department loan programs and some research funding for energy- efficient technology and electric vehicle development at three carmakers as the industry shifts more of its focus to electric and self-driving vehicles.
The White House budget blueprint proposes ending the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-e, program, which gives $300 million a year in grants for research in technologies aimed at reducing fossil-fuel consumption and improving energy efficiency.
The program, created in 2007 under President George W. Bush, has supported research into micro-organisms that produce replacements for petroleum, battery storage systems, improving window-pane efficiency and technology that allows vehicles to communicate to avoid crashes.
The Trump budget proposes scrapping the ARPA-e program, along with two energy loan programs because the "private sector is better positioned to finance disruptive energy research and development and to commercialize innovative technologies."
The White House would also eliminate a U.S. Energy Department clean vehicle loan program that boosted Tesla Inc , Nissan Motor Co and Ford Motor Co during the last industry downturn, but has not funded a new project in six years.
The program was first funded in 2008 and used to help provide critical liquidity to some automakers.
The $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program made low-cost loans to Ford ($5.9 billion in 2009), Nissan ($1.45 billion in 2010) and Tesla ($465 million in 2010). It last completed a loan in March 2011.
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