DoE-funded Fisker Comes Back for More

by Patrick Brennan

Fisker Automotive, the Department of Energy–funded company which produces a luxury plug-in hybrid, was most famous for its decision to build its federally-funded phaeton, the Karma, in Finland — and the product itself hasn’t exactly been lauded, even by the New York Times. Now, though, they’re hoping to begin production in the U.S. on a new model, but need more money to do so, and are looking to the feds for a lot of it. The Times reports:

Fisker Automotive’s huge assembly plant in Delaware stands vacant, waiting for the money, equipment and workers to make a new plug-in hybrid electric car backed by loans from the federal government. But whether Fisker, a start-up based in California, ever builds vehicles in the United States is anyone’s guess.

On Tuesday night, Fisker’s top executives showed journalists in New York a prototype version of the car that it hopes to build in Delaware. The first showing of the car, the Fisker Atlantic, was aimed at convincing skeptics that the company has staying power, and at persuading the Energy Department to resume the loans critical to Fisker’s future. . . .

The Fisker story underscores the difficulty a start-up has in competing with major automakers in the fledgling electric-car market.

Mr. Ormisher, the Fisker spokesman, said new investors he declined to identify had committed to join the latest round of financing. However, he added that Fisker did not yet have enough money to begin equipping and staffing the plant in Wilmington, Del., where it hopes to build the Atlantic.

“We were late to market with the Karma and it cost us,” he said. “But we are still hopeful we can reach a settlement with the D.O.E., because obviously it’s going to take a few hundred million dollars to start manufacturing in Delaware.”

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