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Christopher Jensen reports in the New York Times on yet another disaster from the massive U.S. corporate-welfare (i.e., pork) for “green” cars, this time luxury vehicles for the uber-rich:
Fisker Automotive is recalling all 239 of its 2012 Karma luxury plug-in hybrid cars because of a fire hazard, according to a report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Prices on the 2012 model start at $103,000, including the destination charge.
What the Times “fails” to note is that as with Solyndra, GM and Tesla Motors, Fisker received massive federal funding from the Obama administration for this “green” electric car that is actually made in Finland. According to ABC News in October:
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 company’s manufacturing jobs are still limited to the assembly of the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car in 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 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.”
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.
Henrik Fisker was asked in October if taxpayers should worry:
When asked directly by ABC News if taxpayers should worry about the more than $500 million in federal funds on the line, he was emphatic: “No, I don’t think they need to worry about it,” Fisker said. When asked if Fisker might be the next Solyndra, he said, “Absolutely not.”
Fisker Karma luxury plug-in hybrid cars