This is what happens when politicians allocate your precious resources instead of letting the market decide where capital should be invested. This article from the Wall Street Journal discusses the failure of the government’s investment into batteries for electric vehicles. The outcome was inevitable. As you can read below, when faced with failure, bureaucrats then talk about “the long term.” Didn’t the patron saint of wasteful fiscal stimulus, John Maynard Keynes, say that in the long run we’re all dead?
Let’s see, solar cells (Solyndra) and now batteries. I can guarantee that more is coming.
You will enjoy, in a perverse way (it’s our money they are destroying), the entire article, but here are the highlights:
Since 2009, the Obama administration has awarded more than $1 billion to American companies to make advanced batteries for electric vehicles. Halfway to a six-year goal of producing one million electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, auto makers are barely at 50,000 cars.
The money funded nine battery plants—scattered across the U.S. from Michigan to Pennsylvania and Florida—that have few customers, operate well below capacity and, so far, have created less than a third of the jobs promised by 2015. Customers including start-up Fisker Automotive Inc. and auto makers like General Motors Co. GM -2.10% that urged the funding have struggled to produce and sell battery-powered cars, though they insist a market is coming.
President Obama heralded the “birth of an entire new industry” during the ceremonial opening of A123 Systems Inc.’s AONE -5.00% production plant in 2010. The president’s 2013 budget proposal asks for an increase in tax credits to car buyers to amp sales. …
The Department of Energy, which oversees the administration’s advanced battery grants, says it is too early to judge the effort, and believes it will bear fruit when electric cars become a regular sight on American highways.
“We are trying to build the infrastructure for the American battery industry,” said David Sandalow, the acting undersecretary of energy, in an interview. “Short-term trends can be important, but let’s keep our eye on the medium and long term.” The White House deferred comments to the DOE.
Mr. Sandalow said that one or more bankruptcies among companies developing a new technology isn’t uncommon or indicative that there isn’t promise.