Ask any Michigander about Jennifer Granholm’s performance during her two terms as their state’s governor from 2003 through 2011 and even Democrats in the know will tell you it was very uninspiring. The state’s population decline began under Granholm’s watch, understandably since 630,000 jobs were lost during her tenure. Per capital income also fell, and during some Granholm years Michigan had the highest unemployment rate in the nation.

During her tenure, Granholm was an aggressive promoter of green energy initiatives, most of which were failures. Granholm, President Biden’s Secretary of Energy, spearheaded billions of dollars in tax credits and grants for her favorite companies with nearly all of them falling short of the job projections hailed by her administration in its news releases. Several went bankrupt.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy compiled an extensive list of Granholm’s green energy debacles.

With such an extensive record of failures, it’s hard to imagine that any responsible green energy company would select Granholm for a board position because it valued her business acumen. Yet that’s what a California-based electric bus and energy storage developer called Proterra did, granting Granholm some options that significantly increased her net worth by some $1.6 million after she left the governor’s mansion and decamped from Michigan.

Given its valuation of Granholm “as a major asset,” this shouldn’t come as a surprise: Proterra yesterday unexpectedly filed for bankruptcy, seeking protection from creditors while the company looks for ways to pay them back. The company also cancelled a previously scheduled investor call, sparing management from facing the wrath of investors, whose stock has been nearly wiped out.

Proterra’s stock closed today at 17 cents, a nearly 90 percent decline.

“While our best-in-class EV and battery technologies have set an industry standard, we have faced various market and macroeconomic headwinds, that have impacted our ability to efficiently scale all of our opportunities simultaneously,” Proterra Chief Executive Officer Gareth Joyce said in a statement.

In an ironic twist, Granholm was forced to cash out her Proterra options when Biden appointed her energy secretary because of ethics rules prohibiting regulators from owning stock in companies they oversee.

Granholm sold her Proterra shares for $1.6 million in May 2021, just weeks after President Biden implicitly endorsed the company with an online tour of the its South Carolina manufacturing operations and a month before the company went public merging with a blank check company, allowing it to escape the scrutiny and disclosures companies face when following a traditional public offering.  

According to Forbes, Granholm held Proterra stock options, which she likely was given for free in exchange for agreeing to serve on the company’s board. Granholm exercised her vested options, which means she converted the options into shares at a predetermined price and sold them for $1.6 million.

As Proterra was still a private company when Granholm sold her shares, it’s not clear who bought them and how the purchase price was determined. In January of that year, Granholm in a mandatory financial disclosure statement valued her Proterra holdings between $1 million and $5 million.

Biden’s participation in the virtual tour of Proterra’s South Carolina facility in April 2021 was to promote his $1.9 trillion infrastructure package of green energy goodies, including $2.5 billion earmarked for the electric bus industry. Biden crowed that Proterra was “getting us in the game” and predicted that Proterra and other electric vehicle companies would “end up owning the future.”

In a follow up endorsement, Biden in a March 2022 speech gave Proterra a shoutout for its electric bus manufacturing efforts. In February of this year, Biden named Proterra CEO Gareth Joyce to the President’s Export Council, which serves as the “principal national advisory committee on international trade.”

Biden’s unwavering support for Proterra is despite some reported issues with its electric buses, including catching fire and reliability problems.

In July 2021, the Foothill Transit Agency, which serves the valley regions in Los Angeles, reported one of its Proterra buses caught fire and that they were prone to melt in the summer heat.

“With the number of failures we are experiencing and the inability of Proterra to provide parts, these [Battery Electric Buses] BEBs will only get worse as we continue to operate them whenever the BEBs are available for service,” Roland Cordero, the agency’s director of maintenance and vehicle technology, wrote in a report.

Electric bus fires are hardly isolated incidents. Even in China, a country light years ahead in electric vehicle manufacturing, there have been reports of electric bus fires. Paris also experienced an electric bus fire, as did a transit system in Connecticut when one of its electric buses caught fire parked at a depot.

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, in Philadelphia mechanical failures and weak battery performance forced city officials to shelve Proterra buses. In Duluth, Minnesota, the buses were taken off the road because their brakes couldn’t handle the city’s hills. 

Granholm insisted she had nothing to do with Biden’s public support of Proterra, whose other previously listed investors included Democrat megadonors from the Pritzker family and former vice president Al Gore’s investment firm.

As I noted in a recent post, Granholm in April of this year named Chris Smith, Ford’s chief lobbyist, to her Energy Advisory Board, which she said was “an important component of DOE’s strategy to improve its research and development portfolio and program activities.” Weeks later, Granholm signed off on a sweetheart $9.2 billion below market loan to Ford to finance some EV plants in Tennessee and Kentucky. Granholm’s husband previously held shares in Ford, a detail that Granholm didn’t initially disclose.

The corporate media has given Granholm a pass on the DOE’s decision to rescind plans to give a $200 million grant to a Houston-based battery company called Microvast after Republican lawmakers made a stink about the company’s operations in China.

Microvast’s CEO is Yang Wu, and after the DOE denied his company a previously intended grant, it issued a statement, portions of which I’ve posted:

“I’m proud to be a Chinese American. My wife and I first came to America in 1994 to pursue the American Dream. I wanted a better life with freedom and opportunity, for myself and my family— I’ve worked hard to build Microvast, a battery technology company I founded in Texas in 2006. Microvast started with a vision to promote electrification and accelerate the adoption of clean energy.”

“Just like many American companies, we decided to develop and manufacture our products in China first because of the early adoption of electric vehicles there. Following the spur of America’s electrification, we decided to bring our innovative technology back to the United States. So far, Microvast has created more than 140 American jobs across Florida, Texas, Colorado, and Tennessee, with over 25% of our employees being military veterans or their spouses, and we’re continuing to expand.”

“Every day, we hear pundits and politicians talk about the importance of ‘Buy America’ and reshoring American jobs. That’s exactly what Microvast was trying to do with our proprietary separator technology—build a new manufacturing plant and hire over 500 American workers, including veterans. Microvast’s efforts are in support of America’s commitment to reshore manufacturing in the United States, safeguard innovative technology, and enhance essential battery supply chains.”

“I’m proud to be a Chinese American, and an American citizen. I love this country and the opportunities it gives everyone willing to work hard—no matter where they are from. Microvast will continue to invest in American technology, American jobs, and American manufacturing.”

I’m not a China or national security expert, but if the Department of Energy discovered that Microvast is a threat to U.S. interests, that should be disclosed given that it’s a publicly traded company. It’s difficult to see how Ford partnering with a company that’s based in communist China to build a lithium battery plant on fertile farmland in rural Michigan also isn’t viewed as a security threat, particularly given that the plant is within a 30-mile drive to a major U.S. military training facility.

It’s also hard to fathom why Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, wasn’t investigated for his involvement helping China corner the market on cobalt, a critical ingredient for electric vehicles.

One thing is for certain: Hunter Biden and Jennifer Granholm are among those who have profited mightily from Joe Biden’s green energy initiatives.

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