U.S. tax payers lose $139 million on Fisker sale
Fisker Automotive Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday and the Energy Department sold its green-energy loan for $25 million to investor group Hybrid Tech LLC.
Taxpayers will lose $139 million on the $192 million loan to the failed electric vehicle startup, the Energy Department confirmed let Friday.
Hybrid Technology agreed to purchase the $170 million loan made to Fisker. "This purchase marks the first step towards an acquisition of Fisker’s assets by an affiliate of HT that will eventually lead to the restarting of production and distribution of the Karma sedan, as well as the development and production of future advanced hybrid electric vehicles," the company said.
“HT is committed to building upon the Fisker legacy and presence in the United States as a foundation for the design and manufacture of advanced hybrid electric vehicles,” said Caroline Langdale, spokesperson for HT. “We will work to realize the full potential these fantastic cars offer in helping to remake the auto industry for the 21st Century.”
Fisker was the maker of the Karma luxury-sports plug-in hybrid sedan, which was designed and developed in California and sold in the United States and Europe.
“As we continue to examine Fisker's opportunities, we will be making decisions about the structure and footprint of the new business,” said Langdale. “This enterprise is vitally important to the advanced electric vehicle industry and the public in general, and we look forward to sharing details about our plans for the future.”
The Energy Department defended the award.
“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," Energy Department spokesman Bill Gibbons said Friday. "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.”