Tesla, Ford, and Nissan aren’t the only automakers receiving federal aid to pursue green vehicles. The U.S. Department of Energy announced yesterday that Fisker Automotive, the firm developing the slinky Karma plug-in hybrid, is receiving a $529 million loan as part of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Loan program.
Fisker received the conditional loan to continue developing its two plug-in hybrids, the Karma sedan and Karma S hardtop convertible. Both operate like the Chevrolet Volt in that the gasoline engine never actually propels the vehicle, but only acts as a generator to charge the batteries. Fisker also hopes to apply some of the funding to its “Project NINA,” a second-generation hybrid with a lower price point. Fisker says the loan will help save more than 5000 jobs in the automotive sector,divided amongFisker itself and a number of struggling domestic parts suppliers. “This investment will create thousands of new American jobs and is another critical step in making sure we are positioned to compete for the clean energy jobs of the future,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
“Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles could revolutionize personal transportation and cut our dependence on foreign oil, not to mention give us cleaner air and less carbon pollution.”
If all goes according to plan, the first production Fisker Karma will reach dealers next summer, making it the first luxury plug-in hybrid on the market. Production will initially be limited to approximately 5000 units annually, although Fisker claims it can increase that figure to 100,000. Pricing is estimated to be approximately $47,000, although the company hopes a $7500 federal tax credit will entice customers.