By JONATHAN DREWS Detroit, Mich.
— A decade ago, the city’s first electric bus was supposed to roll off the assembly line by late 2013.
It was supposed have a range of 200 miles and could carry a passenger of up to 20 people.
It never happened.
In fact, the company that built it, American Electric Power, got caught in a scandal that rocked the electric car industry.
And as the government investigated the company, the Detroit-area electric vehicle market cratered.
The company was facing financial troubles.
In 2015, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) fined it $25 million for violating safety standards for the buses.
The state also charged it with fraudulently selling the buses to local governments.
In 2016, it paid $50 million in back taxes to Detroit.
It has since made big investments in other Detroit cities, like River Rouge, which is in the midst of a $5.2 billion investment to upgrade and modernize its roads and bridges.
But its bus business, the first one to roll out of the assembly plant, has been struggling.
In a letter to lawmakers this week, Snyder said the company is in “a position where it’s facing unprecedented challenges.”
It is facing “a crisis of confidence” as the company faces a series of lawsuits.
“American Electric Power has not been able to meet the regulatory and operational requirements for its electric vehicle fleet,” Snyder wrote.
American Electric has already lost some $1.2 million a day on its electric buses, the letter said.
The company is also losing money because of a lack of customers.
In a statement, the Department of Motor Vehicles said the lawsuit “is not appropriate.”
The department said the agency will review the company’s business plan for Detroit and that “the department does not have the authority to impose sanctions or fine the company.”
The letter from Snyder came the same day that Michigan Gov.
Rick Snyder said he plans to spend the next year trying to persuade the Trump administration to issue a waiver for Detroit to build an electric bus.
Snyder has made a concerted push to encourage electric vehicles.
In May, he signed into law legislation allowing cities to apply for federal incentives.
In June, he gave the city of Detroit a $500 million loan guarantee to build its first electric buses.
And on Thursday, he issued an executive order that would allow the federal government to waive some federal regulations for electric vehicle development.
“In addition to the $1 billion in grants and loan guarantees that the state has secured, the governor has requested that the Department provide a waiver from the Clean Air Act for the first phase of electric vehicle manufacturing,” Snyder’s office said in a statement.
“By doing so, the president would allow for the development of the nation’s first fully electric buses and the manufacturing of electric vehicles in Michigan.”
Sessions and other Trump officials have been supportive of the governor.
And the president has said he wants the federal waiver for electric vehicles to go forward.
But in the letter from the president, the Republican said he doesn’t think it will happen.
He said he would be happy to work with the governor and other members of the administration on a waiver to allow Detroit to move forward on its plan.
But, the mayor of Detroit, Dave Bing, told The Associated Press on Friday that he is not surprised by the letter.
“I think he’s trying to do whatever he can to get the waiver, because he wants this done.
I don’t see why he can’t work with them and be a partner and make sure this is done,” he said.
“He knows the cost of doing nothing and that will be the cost.”