Group Sues for Fisker Documents – Car Pro News

The activist group Judicial Watch says it has sued the Department of Energy to obtain records detailing the DOE’s $529 million loan promise to Fisker Automotive, maker of luxury electrified vehicles.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton says it appears that the government “shelled out over half-a-billion dollars to a failing and incompetent green-energy company.”
Judicial Watch previously sought the records under the Freedom of Information Act, but hadn’t received them by Feb. 1, so sued to get the records. The group disclosed the suit late Wednesday.
DOE should “turn off the government spigot to Fisker,” Fitton says.
The Energy Department already did, in fact, as of last May.
Fisker failed to meet certain undisclosed production and sales milestones set out in the loan agreement and hasn’t been able to draw on the loan funds since then.
Fisker cut expenses and sought new investors, but this week had to begin layoffs — 26 workers who were preparing a former GM plant in Delaware and about 45 engineers at Fisker headquarters in Anaheim, Calif.
The automaker and the government are negotiating new milestones and other details to turn the loan spigot back on. So far, Fisker has drawn less than $200 million, the car company and the government say.
DOE and Fisker say the automaker has raised more than $650 million in private capital to complement the government loan.
Judicial Watch says it’s not right that U.S. taxpayers’ money was loaned to Fisker, which builds its only model, the $103,000 electric Karma, in Finland, not the U.S. Fisker says the money — $169 million of the DOE loan — went to pay engineers based in California for design and development of Karma.
Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher says Fisker’s 45 U.S. dealers have sold 200 to 300 Karmas and have orders for roughly 2,000 more.
The bulk of the loan money — $359 million, unavailable to Fisker — is to overhaul the Delaware plant to build three more, lower-price models, starting with a smaller extended-range electric sedan to be priced in the $50,000 range. In a speech, Vice President Biden, whose home is in Delaware, told autoworkers that the plant eventually would make “100,000 plug-in hybrid sedans, coupes and crossovers every single year.”
Fisker planned to start production of the sedan in 2013. It’s unclear what effect the drying up of DOE loan money has on that timetable.


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