Fisker Files Bankruptcy, DOE Loses $139M

Fisker Karma

by | Nov 25, 2013

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Fisker KarmaFisker Automotive has filed for bankruptcy protection and the Department of Energy sold its loan to a Hong Kong-based investor for $25 million, losing some $139 million in the deal.

The DOE will have recovered a total of $53 million from the original $192 disbursed.

Hybrid Technology Holdings, led by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, is purchasing the hybrid-electric sports cars maker’s assets and will provide $8 million in financing to fund the sale and restructuring, Automotive News reports.

Republican Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Tim Murphy (R-PA), who chairs the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, said the Obama administration was warned as far back as 2010 that “Fisker was doomed” but did not cut off DOE payments to the automotive company until the Solyndra investigation.

Fisker is the latest in a string of electric vehicle industry failures. In September, electric vehicle charging company Ecotality filed for bankruptcy. The company had won $135 million in federal funding; an audit earlier this month said the DOE knew as early as May that Ecotality was not on track to meet its September milestone for completing planned EV charger installations but did not report concerns.

EV battery swapping company Better Place, which also struggled to secure funding, filed a court motion in Israel on May 26 to liquidate the company.

Editor’s Note: After this article was published, DOE spokesman Bill Gibbons sent EL the following statement: “In 2009 and 2010, when the U.S. auto industry was struggling to come back from the brink of collapse, the Department of Energy invested to ensure that not only would the U.S. industry recover, but that we would also be able to compete and thrive in the growing global market for advanced electric and fuel efficient vehicles. Recognizing that these investments would include some risk, Congress established a loan loss reserve for the program, and the Energy Department built in strong safeguards to protect the taxpayer if companies could not meet their obligations.

“Because of these actions, along with the sale announced today, the Energy Department has protected nearly three-quarters of our original commitment to Fisker Automotive.”


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