Chevy Volt Battery Plant Floundering Despite $151 Million from Obama

-By Warner Todd Huston

Another in a long list of Obama-touted and tax-supported “green energy” companies is on the verge of going out of business, this time in Michigan.

Two years ago, President Obama visited the LG Chem battery plant in Holland, Michigan. Obama then hailed the plant saying, “You are leading the way in showing how manufacturing jobs are coming right back here to the United States of America.”

But today, those LG Chem jobs Obama claimed were “coming back” are seeing intermittent layoffs instead of growth.

In 2010, the plant, which supplies batteries for the Chevy Volt, received $151 million in tax money from the U.S. Department of Energy, but it has been good money after bad.

Today, $133 million of that $151 million has been spent, but since April, the company’s 200 workers have been on “rolling furloughs” because the electric vehicle market has failed to blossom as promised by many.

In 2010, the plant was projected to create 443 new jobs within five years. Those projections have been shelved as the company says it can’t predict when the furloughs will stop for its current employees.

A second Chevy Volt battery plant in Michigan has also been forced to implement layoffs due to the failure of the electric car market in the U.S.

Lithium-ion battery manufacturer A123 Systems was awarded $249 million in federal government tax dollars but ended up laying off employees despite the government’s cash infusion. The plant might have closed entirely if China hadn’t invested an additional $465 million in the plant. Even still, its future is murky.

The Chevy Volt has seen dismal sales in the U.S. and Chevy has even resorted to offering a 25 percent discount to spur sales. Sales have been so poor that the car maker has been forced to shut down its Volt assembly line for weeks at a time over the last several years because the end product is simply unwanted by customers.

Sales for the Volt have been bad since the vehicle was introduced. Last year, for instance, the Volt saw a mere 7,671 sales. But in yet another sort of stealth federal government bailout effot, a large number of Volts was recently bought by the U.S. government itself in a move that many analysts say will illegitimately skew the Volt’s sales figures for 2012.

Worse, Reuters has reported that Chevy loses nearly $50,000 on every Volt sold, anyway, so higher Volt sales may not even be a good thing for the struggling car company.

Finally, after all this effort by Obama to push his so-called green energy schemes and his support of the Chevy Volt, not to mention his billions in bailouts for General Motors in general, it seems the company is still headed for bankruptcy. And as these failures build, we are told that Obama needs another four years to continue pushing the same programs that have failed so miserably thus far.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
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Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

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