Will Fisker Ask For Rest Of Its Stalled DoE Low-Interest Loan?

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2012 Fisker Karma in Costco parking lot, Santa Monica, California [photo: Chris Williams]

2012 Fisker Karma in Costco parking lot, Santa Monica, California [photo: Chris Williams]

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For Fisker Automotive these days, no news is probably good news.

Its latest CEO, Tony Posawatz, has been at the helm for four months now.

And Fisker is putting all its efforts toward developing and producing its next model, the Atlantic mid-size sport sedan, by late 2014.

In a recent Fox News interview, Posawatz offered hints that Fisker may try to get access to the rest of its Department of Energy low-interest loan for that purpose.

"We do need a little more funding to take that next step" and put the Atlantic into production at its plant in Wilmington, Delaware, Posawatz told Fox.

"We are having discussions with the DoE on what's next," Posawatz said, "now that we're post-election."

But, he said, Fisker really had "nothing yet to report on in that regard."

The loan under the DoE's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program was frozen early in 2011 after Fisker missed numerous deadlines for putting its Karma range-extended electric luxury sedan into production.

At that point, the company had received $190 million of the total $529 million commitment, which was split between funds to launch the Karma and those to develop the Atlantic.

While it recently completed a round of private financing, bringing its total cash raised to more than $1 billion, the company likely needs more cash to get the Atlantic into volume production.

Now that the presidential election is over--and the candidates are no longer calling startup electric-car companies like Fisker "losers"--the landscape has changed.

Volt Line Director Tony Posawatz

Volt Line Director Tony Posawatz

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Posawatz gave no more details about what Fisker felt the DoE might require to release the Atlantic development funds, saying only, "I think we're gonna have some discussions with the Department of Energy."

Beyond that, he said, there's "nothing really to report on that right now."

The post-election fate of the DoE's ATVM loan program is a topic of much curiosity these days, since less than $9 billion of the $25 billion allocated under president George W. Bush has been granted in loans.

The program's four largest recipients were Ford, Nissan, and Tesla, soon followed by Fisker.

The last such award was a $50 million loan granted to Vehicle Production Group in November 2010.

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Comments (6)
  1. They've raised 1 billion dollars and that's not enough? This feels like the same situation we had with the big banks, they've got the money but they need that for their Christmas bonuses first I guess.

  2. @CDspeed: Major global automakers spend $1 billion or more on each platform or architecture, on which they build one or more models. In general, they renew these every 7 years or so. Designing, engineering, testing, and producing cars under multiple conflicting regulatory regimes costs a HUGE amount of money. It's one of the reasons you don't see people starting more car companies: It's just brutally capital intensive, and the payback cycle is very long.

  3. Oh I know but they should at least get started, they need a second product.

  4. Ya know, with all this "fiscal cliff" talk, perhaps having the government hang on to the money is not a terrible idea. Particularly in Fisker's case.

  5. Here's one for you. Would you rather the government print a couple hundred billion every couple years to clean up after each global-warming induced mega hurricane (e.g. Sandy and Katrina), or start investing aggressively in technologies that can slow and reverse the CO2 buildup? Or how about taking the money out of military budget? There are way worse wastes in the government than green tech tax breaks.

  6. I agree in principle, but given Fisker's record of producing inefficient cars, I don't think Fisker is a "green" investment. Hope Fisker proves me wrong.

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