The Department of Energy is granting Fisker automotive a conditional loan worth $528 million to build more plug-in hybrid electrics.
The money will come in two installments. The first is for $169.3 million which will be used to finish the expensive Karma. A car that will be built abroad, but according to the DOE, “65 per cent (based on cost) of the part” supplied from the U.S.
The next chunk of money–$359.36 million–will be for Project Nina, a more affordable plug-in hybrid. The Karma will cost $87,000. The next car, which hasn’t even been announced will cost $39,900. The DOE says Fisker will be making 75,000-100,000 of that plug-in annually starting in late 2012. Considering Fisker doesn’t even have the Karma on the road now, getting a whole new car on the road in about three years would be very impressive.
Up to now, the DOE has pretty much skated without backlash on these loans. We’re curious to see how the public receives this one. The program was approved under Bush’s watch, and vetted by Obama’s DOE, so it’s going to be hard to drum up a lot of partisan rage.
However, as we pointed out, Fisker isn’t even making the Karma in the United States. The Project Nina could be far far away from being a reality. And unlike Nissan or Tesla, who also got money, Fisker doesn’t pretend it wants to make cars for the everyman. Fisker wants to be a premium brand. It wants to be like Audi.
The company says it will generate thousands of jobs. It will be reducing our dependence on oil. It will be a loan, which means it should be paid back. Regardless, it’s still a handout on some level. Cheap government money.
Will this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and causes a big backlash against loans for the electric car companies?
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