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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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RE: The media hurt the Volt not the crashes
By Keeir on 2/7/2012 7:34:21 PM , Rating: 1
Sigh, Reclaimer, you probably ought to be a bit more restrained.

Apple never took zillions of dollars of taxpayer money to then make phones that exploded.

Well. GM never took "zillions" of dollars. GM took loans, bailout money, and other assistance that will likely be in the billions of dollars, but whose final value is undetermined.

An even worse exaggeration when you consider GM produces many products and used the bailout funds in a variety of ways. One of which was to help the introduction of the Cruze to the US... a car I think you approve of...

I do not have the knowledge or skill to appropriate calculate the end cost to the US government for the development and deployment of the Volt. But lets stop assigning 100% of the bailout to one model that GM makes. It very well be that GM ends up taking millions of dollars to produce a car that catches fire when operated counter to its instruction manual. A crime that could rightly be held against every major car manufacturer in the US.

RE: The media hurt the Volt not the crashes
By Dorkyman on 2/7/2012 7:55:13 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno, the latest reports are that GM is going to net out at costing the taxpayer over $20 BILLION. That's close enough to "zillions" to me.

By Keeir on 2/7/2012 8:16:15 PM , Rating: 4
Since Zillion is a number with no formal definition, I guess it could mean anything.

Lets make an attempt then. In 2010, GM produced ~8.5 million automobiles. Lets take that 20 BILLION and assign it equally to each of the 8.5 million cars sold. That works out to be ~1,100 dollars per sold model (again, just one year). So lets say that's the bailout cost per model.

Seems like the Volt with a 60,000 yearly sales goal would really only account for say 66 million dollars of that bailout. Hmmm...

My number is of course ridiculous. But so is claiming "zillions."

If you want to be angry. Be angry at the UAW. Be angry at Obama. Be angry at GM management. Angry at a car model? Stupid.

Regardless of the Volt's failure or success, the method and cost of the Obama's administration action in bailing out GM was counter to the fundamental values espoused in both the US constitution and by Obama himself during his election campaign.

Continually attacking one particular car model is not a good strategy to bring this to attention. After all, if Volt 2.0 is widely successful, then Obama and the UAW I guess get a free pass? Lets focus on the real issues here.

Volt the car should be viewed in the context of its engineering and automotive merits.

GM bailout should focus on the frankly "Un-American" actions taken by our elected officials.

RE: The media hurt the Volt not the crashes
By Reclaimer77 on 2/7/2012 9:22:44 PM , Rating: 2
Sigh, Reclaimer, you probably ought to be a bit more restrained.

And you're being far too obtuse.

I do not have the knowledge or skill to appropriate calculate the end cost to the US government for the development and deployment of the Volt.

Are you sure? Because from the way you've been bird dogging me on this issue, I thought you were an industry specialist and Government accountant.

So please. Apparently I'm wrong on all counts and have no valid opinions. Tell me how it is.

But lets stop assigning 100% of the bailout to one model that GM makes.

You just don't get it do you? I'm fundamentally apposed to the bailout for several reasons. It's not about the cars! It's about, good lord, I'm not going all into it again. I've said it a million times now. What happened was wrong, and goes against everything this country is supposed to be about. We cannot have our Government picking winners and losers, choosing to be a major shareholder in some companies, and letting others fail etc etc. Why is this so hard to understand?

Is your intention here to beat me into submission until I accept that's how things should be done? Good luck.

By Keeir on 2/7/2012 9:29:42 PM , Rating: 2
I thought you were an industry specialist and Government accountant.

Hah. It would take a team of Government Accountants to track down every detail. We both know that.

Listen. I hate the Bailout. I hate it. But no amount of whining and crying will fix it. It shouldn't have happened. Too bad it did. I will remember as I have remember when voting.

But we have the situation we have. To vindictively punish one model of the company or the company is general is practing the same bullshit.

You are wasting taxpayer money (or cheering the waste) to make a political statement. I find this disgusting. Regardless of the political statement made.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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