Congress Sets Date For Fisker Loan Hearings: April 24

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2012 Fisker Karma

2012 Fisker Karma

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Green energy and electric vehicles are an easy target for politicians at the best of times, but even more so when they fail, taking down millions in unpaid government loans with them.

Fisker Automotive isn't dead yet but it does owe the U.S. Department of Energy a large proportion of the $193 million it spent getting the Karma electric vehicle to market.

The House Oversight and Government Reform committee will meet on April 24, reports The Detroit News, to discuss the decision to award $529 million in loans to the struggling startup.

Much of the original figure was frozen in 2011, as Fisker failed to meet certain agreed deadlines in getting the Karma to market.

Since then, the company has faced myriad further problems including the exit of founder Henrik Fisker, eventually culminating in last week's dismissal of 75 percent of the workforce.

The mass dismissal also sees Fisker facing a lawsuit over failing to give adequate 60-day notice before laying off its employees.

In recent months the company has actively sought buyers and investors to quell financial difficulties, and many reports suggest Fisker is on the brink of bankruptcy.

The company is due to repay a proportion of the DoE loan by the end of April--and it isn't yet clear whether this target will be met. The Department would be the firm's top creditor should the company file for bankruptcy, and would have to decide what to do with the company.

The DoE has already had its fingers burned after solar company Solyndra folded last year, and last month announced it doesn't plan to award any more loans from the program--despite seven pending applications.

Rival automaker Tesla Motors announced last month it would pay off its own DoE loans, worth $465 million, five years earlier than scheduled, by 2017.


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Comments (8)
  1. I wonder what happened to the supposed one billion dollars that Fisker claimed to have made from investors went? Did the top level executives grab it and run?

  2. Win some loose some. Fisker might not make it, but Tesla is going strong. The potential gain from Tesla's success in putting EVs on the map as serious desirable vehicles will no doubt have an impact on America's future energy security/environment/economy that far outweighs the losses incurred on the Fisker loan which in the grand scheme of public finance is chump change really.

  3. BAD EV companies such as CODA and Fisker gives the EV industy bad names... The sooner those substandard players are out the better it is for the entire EV industry.

  4. I hadn't even heard of Coda before I started reading the green blogs. A very under-hyped car that could have been really neat, IF they had done things differently. My interest decreased significantly when I found out that fast charging support would not be available.

  5. Really? There was a "DeVry" commerical that portraited a guy who had a Devry degree and end up working for CODA as a "dream job"...

    CODA is terrible b/c it was one of the least efficient BEV out there with nothing "advanced" comparing to most other BEVs out there... Its safety rating is even worse than its reputation.

  6. The crash safety results were another thing that turned my interest off of Coda. Their decision to use LiFePho batteries was an interesting one that raised costs, but offered some weight reduction.

  7. I didn't notice any outrage from Congress when the reports of all those Karmas were destroyed by Superstorm Sandy and the insurance didn't pay.

    The sad truth appears to be that our Congress is trying hard to discredit the very best initiatives {in regards to energy security} that have come out of our government since Jimmy Carter {Democrat} put solar panels on the White House roof, that Ronald Reagan {Republican} took off and threw away. I did not vote for President Obama, but I see no point in trying to discourage a very forward looking, great energy independence program. EV + PV is a great idea for the masses.

  8. Historical footnote. The Carter solar panels went to a University after they came off the White House. Later, they ended up in the Carter Museum.

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