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Among her many devastations, Hurricane Sandy swamped the port of Newark and managed to submerge 16 Fisker Karma electric hybrid automobiles, which then caught fire and exploded. Fisker could not explain the sudden combustion, not the first problem for the company touted by President Obama, and which received federal loan guarantees of $529 million federal government part of a $1 billion package for Fisker and Tesla, both producers of high-end sports-luxury cars.
Working Americans could not afford the cars, but Fisker would still provide thousands of manufacturing jobs, according to vice president Joe Biden. But that didn’t happen. Fisker claimed no U.S. company could produce the vehicle, so they opted to assemble the car in, yes, Finland. So 500 manufacturing jobs were outsourced overseas to the Finnish firm Valmet Automotive. That’s why the Fisker Karmas were at the Port of Newark. And according to one investigation of the Fisker fiasco, the United States produces, at the most, 50 percent of parts for the Karma, not the first electric to catch fire.
Last year in Hangzhou, China, an electric Zotye Multiple burst into an absolute “fireball” that firefighters could not control, the second such blaze that year. Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who once pronounced American cars “unsafe at any speed,” is not looking into the matter. But even if they are safe from fire and explosion, and not part of a huge government boondoggle, electric cars are not exactly trouble free.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency requires new-car labels to list the miles per gallon of gasoline the cars achieve. But the EPA does not require electric cars to quantify the environmental costs of the charging source. Neither does the EPA require electric cars to quantify the distance drivers get from charging the vehicle. The charging service is not “free” and the government does not pay for it.
On the other hand, the federal government will give hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to companies that build, in Finland, impractical luxury cars too expensive for most Americans and known to blow up in a storm.