Is This Biden’s Solyndra? EV Company Where Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm Was a Board Member Files for Bankruptcy

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

EV transport company Proterra, touted by Biden and heavily invested in by Jennifer Granholm, is yet another green company operating in the red. 

Give Biden some credit; he seems to share in his money schemes with others. Call it a “graft pool,” if you will. News came out today that is both unsurprising and untimely for the president. Joe Biden is currently jetting about the country in the non-solar powered, notably unelectric Air Force One in order to campaign on behalf of his climate agenda. He is actually getting set to make an appearance tomorrow morning on The Weather Channel.


But just as the President is pushing for a cleaner car this, and an electric vehicle that, a piece of dire economic news has come across the grid. In a surprise to investors and some in the industry, Proterra – the battery producer and electric bus manufacturer – waited for the close of market trading on Monday to make a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing

Proterra has failed to turn a profit on its core electric bus manufacturing operations, as well as the drivetrain, battery and EV charger businesses it launched over the past five years. Proterra’s cost of goods sold for the first quarter was $86.1 million, even greater than its revenue, which means that Proterra loses money on every bus it sells.

While not too many are bowled over by the news of yet another green energy-related company falling on hard economic times, this one is of particular note for a few reasons. For starters, it flies in the face of all of the hype and promise that Biden and the administration have been putting out regarding our need to become a nationalized electric vehicle mecca. 


How is it that a company that is producing the very item the government is commanding – state-operated EV commuter products – cannot find a path to solvency? Along with that assured customer base, Proterra benefitted enormously from the green energy funding benefits in both Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and his Infrastructure Law.

Secondly, this company was specifically promoted by Joe Biden himself. Early in his term, he toured the South Carolina manufacturing facility virtually, and it was featured through the White House media channels with interviews and reports on what the company was producing. This highlighted the facility and the types of vehicles it was manufacturing, and there was all manner of high-minded talk about building for the future. Yet the company could not manage to operate successfully, despite even more beneficial funding for most municipalities coming from federal grants.



There is a third component here, and that is the now infamous conflict of interest with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. Prior to her being tabbed for the administration, Granholm held hundreds of thousands of shares of Proterra and sat on the board of the company. As she was being confirmed, her stake in the company was an issue, and she vowed to divest her shares should she become confirmed, something she followed through with in May 2021. 


However, this came after Joe Biden’s rapturous coverage of Proterra in April of that year. The day before his factory tour, Kamala Harris was touring a facility for Thomas Built Buses, a producer of electric buses and other commercial EV options. The Daimler-owned facility is supplied with many components from Proterra, such as batteries and drivetrains. This double-barreled promotional sweep by the White House was a boon for Proterra.

In this July 15, 2016, photo, a driver charges an electric bus made by King Long United Automotive Industry at a terminal in Lin'an city in eastern China's Zhejiang Province. China's el

Biden’s promotion provided a boost, and the company was getting ready to go public, and this was when Granholm was able to sell off her stake at just under $20 a share. This netted her a profit of $1.6 million. The company stock has been on a slide since, and through most of this year, has been trading flat, at or below the $1.50 price. After the bankruptcy announcement, it plunged more than 80 percent from that lowly plateau.

Granholm’s involvement as a prominent board member was itself a basis for questionable practices. As governor of Michigan, she was long a proponent of EV fleets, which means she had the ability to leverage government action on behalf of an entity in which she was heavily invested. This is the tried Al Gore methodology of pushing the government into taking climate action by investing in industries where you just so happen to have a personal stake in place.


Once again, we are facing a boondoggle bureaucracy where green companies are propped up by both government largesse and the promise of future contracts. And yet, with all of that artificial market assistance, they still cannot find a way to get renewable revenues.


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