Another half billion in tax payer guaranteed money. Another company run by Democratic donors and supporters. And another company that has labored long and hard and produced...a lemon. Network news catches on to what AT wrote about yesterday.
With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.
Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department's $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.
"There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle," the car company's founder and namesake told ABC News. "They don't exist here."
Henrik Fisker said the U.S. money so far has been spent on engineering and design work that stayed in the U.S., not on the 500 manufacturing jobs that went to a rural Finnish firm, Valmet Automotive.
"We're not in the business of failing; we're in the business of winning. So we make the right decision for the business," Fisker said. "That's why we went to Finland."
Now the Finns are very nice people, I'm sure-a handsome, hardy folk who make great sardines and have an excellent hockey team.
But carmakers? C'mon, Barry. What gives?
Politics, that's what:
The loan to Fisker is part of a $1 billion bet the Energy Department has made in two politically connected California-based electric carmakers producing sporty -- and pricey -- cutting-edge autos. Fisker Automotive, backed by a powerhouse venture capital firm whose partners include former Vice President Al Gore, predicts it will eventually be churning out tens of thousands of electric sports sedans at the shuttered GM factory it bought in Delaware. And Tesla Motors, whose prime backers include PayPal mogul Elon Musk and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, says it will do the same in a massive facility tooling up in Silicon Valley.
Here are some performance details of the Fisker car supplied by blogger Andrew Fox:
I recalled reading that the Federal government had become a major financial partner in Fisker Automotive. That would explain the official rollout taking place in Washington. When I got back to my computer, I looked up the specifics. We the taxpayers are on the hook for more than half a billion dollars, about the same amount that got loaned to Solyndra, another "green manufacturer," before they went bankrupt. At least Solyndra was manufacturing their products in this country, providing American manufacturing jobs (if short-lived jobs), and making a product that average Americans could conceivably afford. Fisker is manufacturing these gorgeous Leonardo DiCaprio toys in Finland. And the kicker, for those of you who would still claim that the risk of half a billion tax dollars is justified by environmental gains... contrary to the company's initial hype, the Karma will only run for thirty-two miles on its electric motors before its turbocharged gasoline engine needs to kick in (as opposed to the initial estimate of fifty miles). Once that occurs, the Karma gets about the same mileage as a Ford Explorer. Not the new Explorer, even. The older, gas-hog, body-on-frame model. We're talking twenty miles per gallon, folks. So much for your "green investment."
And Fox links and comments on this study of Fisker performance from Green Car Reports:
The analysts at Green Car Reports, "the ultimate guide to cleaner, greener driving," worry that the Fisker Karma may discredit the entire Department of Energy loan program. Given that, in a comparison of EPA mileage ratings between the two "American made" (scare quotes present due to the Karma being manufactured in Finland, with its electric motors and batteries being sourced from China) plug-in hybrids now on the market, the Chevrolet Volt and the Fisker Karma, the Volt is "rated at 94 MPGe in electric mode, and 37 mpg on gasoline, with an electric range of 35 miles," whereas the Karma is rated at "54 MPGe in electric mode; 20 mpg in range-extended mode," with an electric range of just 32 miles, they may well be right to worry. Oh, and Fisker conveniently left out that little detail about "20 mpg in range-extended mode" in their press releases sent out in the last few days. Details are for the little people, don't you know...
Also on the list of major investors is Obama advisor John Doerr.
The only "green" Obama and his Democratic cronies care about is cold hard cash, wrested from the taxpayer's purse in service to the president's re-election.