The Fisker Karma is certainly beautiful, luxurious and big. It supposedly has fine detailing, and the “top EcoChic edition is an animal-free showcase of high-end textiles, faux suede and rescued California wildfire hardwood.” We’ve told you about this high-end eco-chic foolishness already.
Now some people, according to Green Car Reports, are accusing the company of being a “green car Solyndra,” slamming it as a black hole for government loans. Henrik Fisker had his say in the Washington Post, defending the delays in the Karma (two years late, produced in Finland). The outcry over Solyndra has been such that the Obama administration is conducting a review of the whole $36 billion DOE loan program. And Fisker and fellow electric carmaker Tesla will both be under the microscope.
DOE officials explained yet again in the Post that the $169 million loan for the Karma was to support engineering work “done in the United States, mainly at Fisker’s headquarters, which has 700 employees.”
The rest of the money, $359 million, goes to support production of the Nina, a midsize range-extended hybrid to be built in a former GM plant in Delaware.
Henrik Fisker says he’s raised $600 million in private equity, and further, that the $100K car wouldn’t be discounted. “How often do you go into a Louis Vuitton store and see the prices lowered?” Go, Henrik!
The proposed investigation just compounded other bad news. Last month, the EPA rated the Karma at a mere 32 miles per charge in all-electric mode and 20 mpg with the big generator running. That gives it an mpge (combined) rating of 52. The Volt is rated at 94 mpge.
Fisker has claimed at least 50 miles on a charge. And it has gotten that number (51.6) from an independent German testing agency, the TUV. Well, who are you gonna believe? I don’t think it will matter much to those flush eco-buyers who will want the car. But it’s terrible press, nonetheless.
And there may be a big problem about certification of the GM range-extender engine, which believe it or not is too smoggy for Europe. It makes too much CO2 when it starts charging, and so there will be more delays for European customers, some of whose cars have been built and will likely have to be modified.
Why the Fisker engineers, working with taxpayer funds, didn’t foresee this problem is a good question.
Fisker has just terrible karma, doesn’t it? Are you outraged or sympathetic?