POLITICS

Review: Green car Obama gave $193M might not be ‘good enough to buy’

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Mitt Romney can update his criticism of President Obama’s green car subsidies, made in the first presidential debate, to reflect new concerns that one of the most expensive green cars might not be “good enough to buy.”

President Obama’s Energy Department awarded Fisker Automotive, a company headquartered in California that builds cars at a factory in Finland, a $529 million loan guarantee to produce the Fisker Karma.

“Is the Karma good enough to buy (so Fisker can repay taxpayers)?” Extreme Tech asks in a hands-on review of the Fisker Karma, which costs $102,000. “Bottom line: The Fisker Karma is a pretty much a Chevrolet Volt in a better wrapper. Just multiply the wow factor, handling, and cost by a factor of three . . . [T]his is one car that will turn a lot of heads. Whether that’s worth $100,000 is less certain.”

It bodes poorly for taxpayers that General Motors is having trouble selling the Chevrolet Volt. Fisker has already received $193 million of that Energy Department loan guarantee; the remainder of the taxpayer subsidy was frozen in May 2011 because “Fisker has experienced some delays in its sales and production schedule,” as DOE spokesman Damien Lavera explained.

Fisker promised to take over a plant in Delaware that would employ 2,500 workers, but the factory was “absolutely empty” in April.

During their debate last week, Romney chided Obama for supporting Fisker. “You put $90 billion — like 50 years worth of breaks — into solar and wind, to — to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1,” Romney said. “I mean, I — I had a friend who said, you don’t just pick the winners and losers; you pick the losers. All right? So — so this is not — this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy-secure.”

 

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