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Is Biden’s Solyndra Moment Here? EV Company Where Energy Secretary Granholm Served on Board Files Bankruptcy

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Biden deserves some credit for sharing his money-making schemes with others. You can call it a “graft pool” if you like. News broke that was both predictable and untimely. Joe Biden is currently traveling the country on the non-solar, and notably unelectric Air Force One to promote his climate agenda. He’s actually getting ready to appear tomorrow morning on The Weather Channel.

Just as President Obama is urging for cleaner cars and electric vehicles, the news of a dire economic situation has been broadcast. Proterra, the battery manufacturer and electric bus maker, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday after the market closed. This was a shock to many investors and industry professionals.

Proterra’s core electric bus manufacturing operation, along with the drivetrain, batteries, and EV chargers businesses that it launched in the last five years, have failed to make a profit. Proterra’s first-quarter cost of goods was $86.1m, higher than its revenue. This means that Proterra is losing money on each bus sold.

This one, while not a shock to many, is noteworthy for several reasons. It is a blow to all the hype that Biden, the administration, and others have made about our need to be a nationalized mecca for electric vehicles.

How can a company, which is manufacturing the exact product that the government wants – state-operated EV commuter vehicles – not find a way to be solvent? Proterra, along with its assured customer base and the benefits of green energy funding in Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act as well as his Infrastructure Law, has benefited greatly.

Joe Biden personally promoted this company. Early on in his tenure, Joe Biden virtually toured a South Carolina manufacturing plant, which was then featured by the White House’s media channels, with interviews and reports about what the company produced. The White House media channels featured the South Carolina manufacturing facility, the vehicles that were produced there, and all kinds of lofty talk about building the future. The company was unable to function successfully despite federal grants providing more funding than the company.

The third element is the now infamous Conflict of Interest with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. Granholm was on the board of Proterra before she was nominated for the administration. She also owned hundreds of thousands of shares. Granholm’s stake in Proterra was a concern as she was being confirmed. She vowed that she would divest all of her shares if she were confirmed. This she did in May 2021.

This was after Joe Biden had praised Proterra so enthusiastically in April of that same year. Kamala Harris visited Thomas Built Buses the day before Joe Biden’s factory tour. Thomas Built Buses is a manufacturer of electric buses, as well as other commercial EVs. Proterra supplies many components to the Daimler-owned facility, including batteries and drivetrains. Proterra benefited from the White House’s double-barreled promotion.

This photo taken on July 15, 2016, shows a driver charging an electric bus manufactured by King Long United Automotive Industry in Lin’an, in Zhejiang Province in eastern China. China’s electric bus industry is growing.

Granholm’s stake was sold at a price of just under $20 per share, thanks to Biden’s promotion. Granholm made $1.6 million from this sale. Since then, the company’s stock has been in a downward spiral, trading at or below $1.50 for most of this past year. It plunged by more than 80 percent after the bankruptcy announcement.

Granholm’s participation as a prominent member of the board was itself a foundation for questionable practices. She was a long-time proponent of EVs as governor of Michigan. This meant that she could leverage government action for an entity in which she had a large stake. Al Gore’s tried and true method of getting the government to take climate action is by investing in industries in which you have a personal interest.

We are once again faced with a bureaucracy that is based on a boondoggle, whereby green companies are subsidized by government grants and future contracts. And yet, despite all that artificial market support, they are still unable to find a sustainable revenue stream.

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