The Obama administration has poured roughly $5 billion in taxpayer funds into the electric-car industry, offering incentives to manufacturers, their suppliers and even car buyers who might want to go green.
For President Obama, who has made clean-technology investment a hallmark of his job creation efforts, troubles in the electric-car sector pose a potential new political problem after the collapse of solar-panel maker Solyndra, which recently defaulted on a half-billion-dollar federal loan after filing for bankruptcy. The administration has channeled an estimated $80 billion of the stimulus recovery effort into grants and loans to clean energy and energy efficiency programs, companies and research.
Obama predicted in 2008 that green cars would create thousands of new U.S. jobs as demand soared. But in recent months, production lines and sales expectations have been dramatically scaled back. . . .
Obama started his alternative-vehicle push in the 2008 campaign, and his administration soon after put money behind the plan. Like Solyndra, several of the firms receiving support had investors who were also important Obama campaign donors.