US offers billions for green cars

June 24th, 2009 - 3:26 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, June 24 (DPA) The US threw its support behind greener vehicles and electric cars Tuesday, approving $8 billion in loans to carmakers Ford Motor, Nissan and Tesla Motors.
The loans are the first to be granted from a $25-billion fund for more fuel-efficient technologies that was approved by Congress in 2006.

Ford, the only major US car company that has avoided bankruptcy this year, will get the bulk of the money. The Detroit-based firm will be loaned $5.9 billion to retool factories and produce some 13 more fuel-efficient models in the coming years, the US Energy Department said.

Japanese manufacturer Nissan will get $1.6 billion to help them build electric cars and batteries at a new plant in the US state of Tennessee.

Tesla, a California-based company that already sells a luxury electric car, will get $465 million to help it build a cheaper model, the Tesla Model S sedan, which should be ready for production in 2011.

“We have an historic opportunity to help ensure that the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and trucks are made in America,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.

Obama has pushed for higher fuel efficiency standards in the US, which are far lower than in Europe.

The administration reached a deal with US car companies earlier this month to raise petrol standards from 27.5 miles per gallon (8.71 litres per 100 km) to 35 miles per gallon (6.72 l/100 km) by 2016.

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