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Fisker Karma  (Source: jalopnik.com)
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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RE: In related news....
By FITCamaro on 2/7/2012 5:57:00 PM , Rating: 1
This assumes GM would have tanked to begin with.

They could have gone into bankruptcy, reformed under a new organization (exactly what they did anyway), and kept going. Without the US tax payers writing off all the pension benefits that GM owed the UAW. The difference would have been that the law would have been followed. Preferred stock holders wouldn't have had what they were owed illegally seized. Dealerships wouldn't have been closed based on who the owners gave campaign contributions to.

All that's going to happen now is that in 15-20 years, the UAW will drive the company into the ground again with outrageous pay and benefit demands.


RE: In related news....
By Keeir on 2/7/2012 7:51:37 PM , Rating: 2
Congrats Fit. You've identified the individuals we should actually blame for the auto bailout.

The establishment at the UAW. Our political leadership.

Blaming 1 out of dozens of products at a particular company is not only wrong but stupid. Worse, you waste alot of energy attacking something whose success and failure essentially make no difference to those actually to blame (I highly doubt the UAW cares what GM produces as long as they get paid).


RE: In related news....
By Dorkyman on 2/7/2012 8:07:27 PM , Rating: 2
Glad to see we can finally agree on something--the UAW and our political leadership are precisely where most of the blame lies.

And, by the way, GM has not been rescued, it has simply been given a transfusion so that it can live a little longer. I expect it to do the swan dive into an empty pool within the decade. THEN the best parts will come back as something else, something better. And pensions and pay will be cut back to reasonable levels.


RE: In related news....
By Keeir on 2/7/2012 8:34:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Glad to see we can finally agree on something--the UAW and our political leadership are precisely where most of the blame lies.


I think most people would be surprised.

I think a Serial Hybrid is by far the most promising piece of future automotive technology I have seen to date. It has the potential to be cost effective, resource effective, allow massive performance, allow massive range, and deployed to essentially any shape of car while allowing for easy integration of other future technology.

Yet I would never support a waste of government resources or the shenanigans that went on just to put a Serial Hybrid on the market.

But guess what? That ship has sailed. GM has gotten its bailout. I can rant about their products, etc. It won't change the fact that the deal is done. The best I can do is remember when I cast my ballot, contribute to a politician campaign or discuss politics with my friends and co-workers. And I do.

GM products ought to be viewed with an open frame of mind and assessed based on merits or lack there-of.


RE: In related news....
By Ringold on 2/7/2012 9:19:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
GM products ought to be viewed with an open frame of mind and assessed based on merits or lack there-of.


I think people are. If they made economic sense and were doing well, I don't think it'd hardly ever be brought up. Even the Republican party has an industrial policy branch not far removed from the Democrats; they'd probably of hailed it as a success.

But, the Volt doesn't make sense for most people, and due to the nature of the circumstances which gave it birth its therefore a symbol of all thats wrong with crony capitalism. So, it's an easy whipping boy.

Again, if it'd been a success and dealers were begging GM to send them more, I think it'd be a totally different situation.


"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke














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