As we head towards a presidential election, green vehicle subsidies are proving a political hot topic. One of the latest, concerns Fisker Automotive’s $529 U.S. Government loan to help it move forward with vehicle development and production.
A third of the funds from said loan were allocated toward U.S. engineering efforts on Fisker’s first car, the Karma, which was put into production at the Valmet facility in Finland; the rest was supposedly earmarked for development of its second model the Atlantic,which was slated for production at a former GM plant in Wilmington, Del.
However, when development work on the Atlantic was suspended in February, eyes in the House of Representatives began sharpening their focus on Fisker and other alternative energy startups. Charles Grassley, the most senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and John Thune another top Republican on the Commerce and Financing committees, have been probing US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, whether it was “advisable” for the government to grant Fisker the money in the first place.
Grassley and Thune are also emphasizing the angle that taxpayer funds were used for the development of high priced vehicles that are viewed as very small niche products at best.
In Fisker’s defense, it has secured some $1 billion in private equity to help fund the development of the Atlantic and even a Department of Energy spokesman, Damien LaVera said delays (like those Fisker has been experiencing) are common and that [the department] is working with Fisker “the best path forward so the company can meet its benchmarks, produce cars and employ workers [in the U.S.].”
A Fisker representative said the company continues to work with the DoE to explore all possible funding options.
[Source: Auto News]