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Fisker Lays Off 46 While Renegotiating DoE Loans

Latest setback for battery-car start-up.

by on Feb.07, 2012

Fisker Automotive founder Henrik Fisker with his plug-in hybrid, the $102,000 Karma.

The following story has been updated to reflect additional details and the claim by Fisker that production of the Karma plug-in hybrid continues despite the delays in receiving DoE loan money.

Already behind on deliveries and facing the need to renegotiate its $529 million in government loans, Fisker Automotive has laid off 26 workers at a plant in Delaware that was being geared up to produce the maker’s next battery car.

Another 40 Fisker employees and contractors working on the development of what is codenamed Project Nina have been released at Fisker’s officces in Anaheim, CA.

The Final Word!

The automaker has suffered a series of setbacks in recent months, including a slow start-up of production of the $102,000 Karma, which is being imported from a plant in Finland.  The plug-in also received a much lower fuel economy rating than had been anticipated following tests by the EPA.  Concerns about the safety of the Karma also prompted a voluntary recall of the small number of hybrids that had already reached the U.S.

But the latest issue centers around the $529 million in loans Fisker was granted by the Department of Energy.  It already received $193 million but the government is refusing to release additional money because the California-based start-up has missed several targets included in the loan agreement.

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Fisker Sets Plug-in Hybrid’s Launch Date

Shows “final production version” at LA Auto Show.

by on Dec.03, 2009

Henrik Fisker with his plug-in hybrid, the $87,900 Karma, which debuts in September 2010.

Henrik Fisker with his plug-in hybrid, the $87,900 Karma, which debuts in September 2010.

The first Fisker Karma, a high-performance plug-in hybrid, will reach dealer showrooms in September 2010, said the company’s eponymous founder Henrik Fisker.

That’s the better part of a year behind the initial estimates of the California-based start-up but considering Fisker Automotive launched just two years ago, few expected the company could meet its initial, ambitious timetable.

Karma is a two-door sports car, but under the skin, it features a hybrid-electric drivetrain based around a large, 22 kwH lithium-ion battery.  That’s enough to yield 50 miles of driving on battery power alone, Henrik Fisker told reporters during a news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and to propel the vehicle from 0 to 60 in just 6 seconds, with a top speed of 125 mph.

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Plugged In!

When the battery runs down, Karma will be able to keep rolling, using a backup internal combustion engine.

“This,” said Fisker, “is about environmentally-friendly cars without compromise.”

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