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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 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.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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