Auto Show picture of concept Fisker Karma S
Vice President Joe Biden, known for repeated instances of foot-in-mouth disease, unwittingly spilled the beans on Fisker Automotive's plan for a Delaware-built, three-vehicle family of plug-in hybrids.
Fox News reports that Biden told press gathered in Wilmington, Del., that Fisker would eventually build 100,000 plug-in hybrid sedans, coupes and crossovers "every single year."
In a follow-up interview, founder Henrik Fisker told Fox that Biden "definitely told what our product plans are."
Fisker's gambit in the government's full-court press for electrified vehicles is a brilliant one, on its face. While electric-car company Tesla has yet to name a plant for its new Model S sedan--and has discounted the notion of buying the old GM-Toyota NUMMI factory in the Bay Area--Fisker's signed up to acquire the old GM plant in Delaware, which closed earlier this year.
The plant had been the home of the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky roadsters. Fisker is said to have acquired the plant for $18 million.
Both Fisker and Tesla--along with Ford and Nissan--are using federal loans from a Bush Administration energy bill that will provide $25 billion to automakers trying to electrify their fleets or convert them to greener production, to boost fuel economy by 25 percent over 2005 levels. The loans are limited to companies with solid business plans, prototypes in hand, and solid financials. General Motors is said to have filed for loan money under the plan, now that's it's clear of Chapter 11.
Ford will receive $5.9 billion under the plan, while Nissan will get $1.6 billion in loans. Tesla will get $465 million in loans, and Fisker recently qualified for about $529 million in loans--about $511 million more than the cost of the former GM manufacturing site.
The Fisker plant and loan money will be used to build vehicles from "Project Nina," which will bring a plug-in hybrid sedan to market by the middle of the decade, for less than $40,000 after other incentives for green cars are included. Incentives such as tax credits for the purchase of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, for example, have been estimated to reduce its consumer cost to around $32,500.
According to Fisker, Biden said the new Project Nina sedan "looked like a four-door Ferrari." Biden, as you'll recall from the presidential campaign, takes Amtrak to work daily.
Fisker's first vehicle will be the $80,000 Karma coupe and convertible, which is to enter production in Finland late next year. Fox News adds Fisker will bring production of the Karma to America in its second generation, in 2016.