• AutoBoy Posted: 9/23/2009 11:11am PDT

    struggling a bit with the federal government giving loans for pretty high-end sports car development projects. very much appreciate the overall logic between helping kickstart green projects. feels like things could be a bit more discerning. regardless, great article.

  • richard avatar Richard Posted: 9/23/2009 11:59am PDT

    @AutoBoy: It's definitely a concern -- although even the Ford Focus and the Nissan Leaf are projected to debut on the pricey end of things. Until the EV segment picks up some steam, the technology is going to remain fairly expensive.
    That said, as someone who deals with government programs a good bit, I think the smaller loans given to Tesla and Fisker seem fair, in light of the much larger sums awarded for much more mainstream vehicles. And again: the cash arrives in the form of loans, which the companies will have to repay, unless they go bankrupt -- but really, what are the chances of that happening? Oh, wait...

  • Jason Posted: 9/23/2009 1:31pm PDT

    This is really bad using money that was printed out of thin air to loan to a company people hardly know anything about and a luxury company that may not even be able to stay in business.
    The Dept of Energy, Stephen Chu must not have read Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt or doesnt care if this will cause more problems. The government should NOT be in the business of loaning money because goverment never lends by the strict standards that private lenders do. When a private lender lends out money they are risking thier own money so they will be more careful who they lend it to, because if they are3 not careful they will drive themselves out of business. When the government lends out money they are handeling other peoples money so they wont be as carefull who they lend it to because they dont have to worry about driving themselves out of business because they are not a business and the Federal Reserve is always be ready to bail them out. Since this is in effect our money we shoulve had a say into how the money is used. Most of the public didnt now about this until after it happened.

  • elon musk Posted: 9/23/2009 3:50pm PDT

    I am happy that Fisker got to join the free money party. It wouldn't have been fair that Fisker didn't get their hand out too. Once we are bailing out all car companies it might as well be fair.

  • Jim Posted: 9/23/2009 3:53pm PDT

    I'm sure Obama will prevent it in the future - if he knew...

  • Elon musk Jr. Posted: 9/23/2009 3:55pm PDT

    What can I tell @Elon Musk...
    Don't you have enough money from pay-pal? why you need us to help you with this crazy idea of electric sport car for super rich people?!

  • nebraska Posted: 9/23/2009 3:58pm PDT

    @autoboy -- hard to see how we can bail out i-banks which simply move numbers around and not fund some actual development that can lead to cascades of jobs (if it works). your concern is well founded from the point of view of "why are wefunding anything" but at a minimum, compared to banks -- here there is at least a chance of something tangible beinbg created.

  • greedo Posted: 9/23/2009 4:03pm PDT

    I'm really glad to se. These cars coming to production. Anything we can do to help keep their development and production in the US is a good thing for our future, too.

  • Javajunkie Posted: 9/23/2009 4:08pm PDT

    What is the market for a $57,000 car? I don't care how green it is-the government backed this when the country is in a recession millions have lost jobs. And of course they pale in comparison to the loans to Ford and Nissan-those automakers serve a much larger sector.

  • Jezza Posted: 9/23/2009 4:38pm PDT

    Glad to hear Fisker got the money. They will be outsourcing production to Finland I believe, in the same factory that Porsche gets its Boxsters and Caymans built.

  • marquis Posted: 9/23/2009 5:04pm PDT

    Is there a requirement to actually bring these cars to market this time? Otherwise these development loans seem to lead to nothing but vaporware.

  • Damien Thomas Posted: 9/23/2009 5:48pm PDT

    Nice to see that in even this day and age these relatively small companies can beat the big boys - I'd take the Karma any day over the Volt or a plug-in Prius.

  • richard avatar Richard Posted: 9/23/2009 6:00pm PDT

    If I were playing devil's advocate, I'd argue that governments make investments like this all the time -- sometimes in people (e.g. first-time home-buyer mortgage subsidies), sometimes in for-profit companies (e.g. small business loans), sometimes in educational facilities (e.g. science and arts grants to universities.) The idea behind all those investments is that directly or indirectly, they improve the quality of life for American citizens. As such there is absolutely precedent for what the DOE has done.
    As for loaning money to Tesla and Fisker for higher-end vehicles, that's a bit harder to understand, but -- again, devil's advocate -- you could argue that EV technology is expensive to begin with, and smaller, nimbler companies like Tesla and Fisker may have the ability to leverage improvements faster than large organizations burdened with bureaucracy. Plus, their loans are significantly smaller than Ford and Nissan. On the other hand, maybe I'm too generous in my assessment.
    Like all investments, you never know what the pay-off may be. Some do better than others. Some tank altogether. But IMHO, as someone who loves cars and is a complete tech geek, I think there are far worse uses to which the feds could put their money. My $.02.

  • Walker OConnor Posted: 9/23/2009 11:44pm PDT

    @Jezza: Roughly a third of the loan goes toward development and integration on the Karma, which as you note is to be assembled in Finland. The other two-thirds, however, is for design and engineering of the smaller Nina car, and that is planned to be built in the US.
    @marquis: Yeah, good point. I'd have been a little happier if they'd gotten the money contingent on getting the production line rolling, since they say they'll be delivering cars to customers 6 to 8 months from now -- and NO ONE HAS DRIVEN ONE YET ....

  • peterpaul008 avatar peterpaul008 Posted: 7/9/2012 5:38am PDT

    That’s a good thing that the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Fisker a $529 million low-interest loan, which will help the company develop the $87,000 Karma and the upcoming Nina, a lower-priced sedan that will ring in around $45,000.
    kwik quid