How Fisker got $500 million in government loans for a fuel economy flop
When Fisker Automotive won heaps of praise from Vice President Joe Biden and a $529 million loan from the U.S. government, officials touted the Karma luxury sedan as getting up to 100 miles a gallon, going 50 miles on a full battery charge and offering “supercar” performance. None of those targets were met but Fisker’s moving ahead, your tax dollars in hand.
The news of Fisker’s shortfalls in its mileage targets announced yesterday was the latest in a series of misses since designer Henrik Fisker unveiled his concept in 2008. Fisker is still sticking to the goal of selling 10,000 Karmas this year, even though it can’t legally deliver cars in California yet. And company officials pushed another deadline back Tuesday, telling the Wilmington (Del.) News-Journal that the smaller Nina sedan has been delayed from 2012 to mid-2013 at the earliest.
While the actual electric range and fuel economy numbers of the Karma 32 miles of electric-only range, a 52 mpg-e overall rating and only 20 mpg when its 2-liter GM turbo engine is on surprised many, they weren’t shocking to auto industry observers who’ve noted the Karma was not just an expensive electric sedan, but also the largest and heaviest one to date. Early prototypes were hidden with bodies of Chevy Silverado crew cab pickups, and the Karma tips the scale at roughly 5,300 lbs. unloaded, thanks to 22 kWh of batteries stored under the floor.
The figures along with performance results that now peg the Karma’s 0-60 time at an un-supercar 6.3 seconds were enough to convince one long-awaiting Fisker customer to consider asking for his deposit back on the $97,000 sedan:
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