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Fisker Karma  (Source:
A total of 26 employees were laid off

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) pulled the plug on a federal loan it provided to Fisker Automotive, forcing the automaker to stop work on a Delaware factory.

California-based Fisker Automotive, known for the $102,000 Karma plug-in and the Nina midsize sedan, received a total of $529 million in loans from DOE in April 2010. The loans were part of a program to progress development of high-tech vehicles, where Fisker received $169 million for Karma engineering and $359 million for Nina production. The loans were also meant to revamp a closed General Motors plant in Wilmington, Delaware for Fisker auto production. So far, Fisker has drawn down $193 million from its loans.

Fisker has been behind schedule on selling its first auto here in the U.S., and in May 2011, DOE blocked the loans previously provided to the automaker due to "unmet milestones." According to Damien LaVera, DOE only allows Fisker to use the loan if the auto company upholds its end of the deal and shows results. However, Fisker has been a little behind.

The lack of access to loans has affected work on the Delaware factory. In fact, work on the auto factory has now been halted, and 26 people were laid off.

"It's been frustrating that Fisker and the Department of Energy weren't able to come to terms on the revisions to the loan in time to avoid this," said Brian Selander, a spokesman for Delaware Governor Jack Markell. "I'd say the project is on hold while the two sides try to get things sorted out."

DOE seems to be a bit more cautious of who it provides its financial offerings to after the series of alternative energy failures through 2011 and 2012. In September 2011, Silicon Valley-based solar panel company Solyndra filed for bankruptcy after receiving a $535 million loan from DOE in 2009. Government officials reportedly warned the administration about Solyndra's viability back at that time, but these warnings were set aside to meet political deadlines.

In November 2011, Beacon Power, a company that creates flywheels to store power and increase grid efficiency by preventing blackouts, filed for bankruptcy after receiving a $43 million loan guarantee from DOE in August 2010.

Just last month, auto electric battery maker Ener1, whose EnerDel subsidiary received a $118.5 million DOE grant in August 2009, filed for bankruptcy.

Electric vehicles haven't had a great year, either. Last year, General Motors' Chevrolet Volt was heavily criticized after three Volts sparked or caught fire in a series of side-impact crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Fisker had some battery issues of its own as well back in December 2011, where over 200 Karma's were recalled.

Also, somewhat similar to Fisker's factory situation, an Indiana Think City EV plant has been sitting stagnant after failing to produce the Think City EVs, which are tiny two-seater EVs manufactured by Think Global.

Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker said the company sent 225 Karmas to dealers in December, with another 1,200 on the way.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek

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fox test drives a volt
By don't believe the hype on 2/7/2012 5:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
the results are here.... car ran out of juice twice within 20 miles of this guy's trip. Granted he may of had the heat on, but if the life span of a charge is less then 30 miles on a full charge when the heat or AC is on, chevy should mention that.

RE: fox test drives a volt
By Rukkian on 2/8/2012 10:28:23 AM , Rating: 2
Lets run the same test on any other plug in out there - do you think the leaf would get anywhere near 100 miles with the same conditions and driving habits?

The difference here is you can always use the gas engine, which is not possible on other pure electric cars.

Heck, lets have them take a big gas guzzler and drive it peddle to the medal in the same conditions and see how close it is to the advertised MPG. You can't take a worst case scenario and then say Chevy should say this.

In the real world, with people using their volts, for normal usage, customers have been happy. GM offered to buy back their volts if anybody was scared of the fires, and not one person took them up on it, that says something.

Do I like the price tag? No
Would I buy one at this point? No
Do I think it is an awesome piece of technology that will bring further advancements in the future? Absolutely

RE: fox test drives a volt
By espaghetti on 2/8/2012 12:53:10 PM , Rating: 1
Do I like the price tag? No

Would I buy one at this point? No

Do I think it is an awesome piece of technology that will bring further advancements in the future? Absolutely

Agree. However, not at the taxpayer's expense.
Where is the rugged individualism that built this country?
Why is it so hard to find?
We have allowed politicians to buy our votes with favors for too long.
Something has to give. Maybe a "How to not lose your soul after you've been elected for dummies" book.

Just saying.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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