The Grassley-Thune letter to Chu questions the portion of the funding that

supported the overseas manufacture of the Karma model, even though the

money was used for U.S.-based work.

It also asks a series of other questions about the funding for the two Fisker

projects, such as what “technical expertise” the Energy Department brought to

bear in evaluating, granting and monitoring the loan to Fisker.

A DOE spokesman did not provide immediate comment on the GOP senators’

April 20 letter.

But the department’s public affairs chief, in a blog post last October,

defended the Fisker financing despite delays in the Delaware project, as well as

the $465 million loan for Tesla Motors, a California-based manufacturer of high

-performance and costly electric vehicles.

Dan Leistikow, the DOE official, struck back. “Critics have complained that the

first vehicles introduced by Fisker and Tesla are more expensive, high-end


“This complaint misses the mark in several respects. First, both manufacturers

plan to start with high end vehicles and then quickly move to more affordable

product lines,” Leistikow wrote in October.

“These are start-up companies that intend to grow over time, so they are

following a common pattern for emerging companies: starting with a premium

product for a smaller customer base, and eventually moving to lower cost, mass

marketed products as they gradually scale up operations,” he added.

Leistikow also noted that other loans under the ATVM program have supported

less expensive vehicles. Ford and Nissan have received the largest loans under

the ATVM program.

But Grassley, in a statement, questioned the DOE support for Fisker.

“It’s important to know what went into the Energy Department’s decision to

fund the production of expensive luxury vehicles. The riskiness of loans to

companies that may or may not be able to pay them back deserves scrutiny. The

taxpayers can’t and shouldn’t have to subsidize these decisions,” he said in a

statement Monday.

Update: An Energy Department spokesman defended the loan program and

the Fisker support specifically in a statement to The Hill.

“The Department’s loan program invests in advanced hybrid electric vehicles

because they have the potential to significantly improve performance and fuel

economy for American consumers. Our loans and loan guarantees have strict

conditions in place to protect taxpayers,” spokesman Damien LaVera said


Addressing the Fisker project, he added:

Our loan documents require borrowers to meet certain milestones and

other conditions prior to receiving loan proceeds. As has been widely

reported, Fisker has experienced some delays in its sales and production

schedule — which is common for start-ups. As Fisker works through those

issues and incorporates lessons learned from the production of the Karma,

the Department is working with Fisker to review a revised business plan

and determine the best path forward so the company can meet its

benchmarks, produce cars and employ workers here in America!!!




Stay in touch with the latest news and subscribe to the RSS Feed about this category

Comments (0)

Comments are closed

No attachment

You might also like