More Trouble for Fisker Automotive – Car Pro News

Fisker Automotive, an electric car maker that received a half-billion-dollar loan from the federal government, said that it has laid-off workers in Delaware and California.
The layoffs include 26 workers at a former General Motors plant in Wilmington that Fisker is retooling to manufacture its Nina plug-in hybrid sedan. Another 40 contractors and employees who were working in design and development of Fisker’s Karma luxury car in Anaheim, Calif., also have been cut.
The layoffs come as Fisker is seeking to renegotiate its loan agreement with the Department of Energy.
Fisker has received $193 million of the $529 million DOE loan, mostly for work on the Karma, which sells for about $100,000. The introduction of the Karma was delayed because of regulatory issues and battery pack problems that prompted a voluntary safety recall by Fisker.
The Energy Department made loan availability for the Nina project contingent on Fisker meeting development and sales milestones for the Karma, which the company missed. Fisker is now negotiating with the DOE to modify the loan agreement so funds for that project can be released.
“We hope we can reach a resolution soon,” Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher said Monday.
Fisker has said it expects to eventually employ more than 2,000 people at the Delaware plant, where production of the Nina was to begin later this year, with sales starting next year. The company reported in October that more than 100 workers were reconfiguring the plant.
In 2009, Vice President Joe Biden joined Fisker officials in Delaware in announcing the resurrection of the former GM plant, and Delaware’s Council on Development Finance approved a $12.5 million loan to Fisker to help build the Nina in Delaware. The loan will become a grant if Fisker spends at least $175 million renovating the old GM facility and shows that it created 2,495 jobs in five years.
While continuing to negotiate with the Department of Energy, Fisker also is pursuing alternative financing that could prove critical if talks with DOE fall through. Fisker said it raised $260 million in private equity in late 2011, bringing total private equity financing to more than $850 million.


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