In 2012, Fisker will concentrate efforts in marketing the Karma.
Introducing electric cars in the marketplace is not going to be an easy ride, and the travails of Fisker Automotive, the builder of the electric range-extending Karma, are a testament to that. The company has a credit line of $539 million in US government loans, but has now halted work at its Delaware production plant. In that facility, Fisker intends to produce three vehicles on one platform, called Nina. For 2012, however, Fisker wants to concentrate its efforts on marketing and sales of the Karma.
That may be done with American tax payers' money. In fact, the Karma is manufactured in, of all places, Finland. So far Fisker Automotive has withdrawn just $193 million out of the $529 million loan from the Department of Energy. Now the remaining funds have been frozen by the DOE due to the company missing some milestones stipulated in the loan agreement. Fisker stated that its engineers completed the first stage for the Nina project. They have, in fact, just laid off 26 workers at their Delaware facility after the DOE loans dried up.
The company says they will ramp up the pace of development in the future and will hire more workers. A spokesman for the DOE said: "Our loan guarantees have strict conditions in place to protect taxpayers." The department only allows the loan to be disbursed as the company meets certain milestones and demonstrates results. As has been widely reported, Fisker has experienced some delays in its sales and production schedule - which is common for start-ups." At the end of 2011, Fisker Automotive raised, according to the company, $260 million in equity.
In total, the company has so far raised more than $850 million from private investors. Fisker is still holding talks with the DOE in trying to clarify a few issues and get the loans needed for further development of the Nina. Photos displayed are of the 2012 Fisker Karma.