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Car company that got $500 million green energy loan announces layoffs

Written By : Wintery Knight
February 7, 2012

From Politico.

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Excerpt:

In another setback for President Obama’s clean energy loan programs, the recipient of more than a half-billion dollars in federal loans is laying off workers at their Delaware and California operations.

Delaware’s News Journal reports that Fisker Automotive, a California-based electric car start-up company, is laying off an undisclosed number of staff to try to reserve enough capital in order to qualify for more federal help from the Department of Energy, according to a Delaware state development official.

“They’re trying to preserve the cash that they have,” said Alan Levin told the News Journal. “And unfortunately, until they meet the milestone that DOE continues to set … they’re not able to access the additional capital that they need.”

The company also came under fire last year for taking federal loans while producing cars in Finland. Company officials told ABC News at the time that “there was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle.” The company was working on reopening a shuttered General Motors plant in Wilmington to produce vehicles — an effort that top Obama administration officials lauded.

[...]“This is proof positive that our efforts to create new jobs, invest in a clean energy economy and reduce carbon pollution are working,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “We are putting Americans back to work and reigniting a new Industrial Revolution that is paramount for the economic success of this country.”

The company received $529 million in loans to produce two lines of plug-in hybrid cars.

The Wall Street Journal explains who stands to gain from the loans that were given to Fisker.

Excerpt:

A tiny car company backed by former Vice President Al Gore has just gotten a $529 million U.S. government loan to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000.

The award this week to California startup Fisker Automotive Inc. follows a $465 million government loan to Tesla Motors Inc., purveyors of a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster. Tesla is a California startup focusing on all-electric vehicles, with a number of celebrity endorsements that is backed by investors that have contributed to Democratic campaigns.

[...]Kalee Kreider, a spokeswoman for Mr. Gore, confirmed that the former vice president backs Fisker and purchased a Karma. “He believes that a global shift of the automobile fleet toward electric vehicles, accompanying a shift toward renewable-energy generation, represents an important part of a sensible strategy for solving the climate crisis,” she said in a statement.

Fisker’s top investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a veteran Silicon Valley venture-capital firm of which Gore is a partner. Employees of KPCB have donated more than $2.2 million to political campaigns, mostly for Democrats, including President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign contributions.

Officials at Kleiner Perkins didn’t return requests for comment.

So let’s recap. A company connected to Democrats gets $500 million from taxpayers, then lays off employees to qualify for more payoffs.

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