Fisker Automotive secures DOE loan for electric vehicles

The company has been awarded a $528.7m loan from the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop plug-in h

The loan will support the Karma, a full-size, four-door sports sedan, and a line of family oriented models being developed under the company's Project Nina program.

Fisker, a startup based in southern California, expects to manufacture the Karma and Project Nina lines at a recently shuttered General Motors factory in Wilmington, Delaware. Fisker anticipates that it will employ 2,000 American assembly workers. Industry experts expect that domestic parts suppliers and service providers also will increase employment.

Initially, Fisker Automotive will use the proceeds of the loan for qualifying engineering integration costs as it works with primarily US suppliers to incorporate components into the Karma's design. The engineering integration work will be conducted in Irvine, California, where engineers will design tools and equipment and develop manufacturing processes.

The Karma is scheduled to appear in showrooms in late 2010. The second stage will involve the purchase and retooling of the former GM plant to manufacture the Project Nina line, which is expected to begin rolling off the assembly line in late 2012.

The Karma and Project Nina models will have an all-electric, tailpipe-emission-free range of 40 to 50 miles on a full charge, the company said.
Using gas and electric power, Fisker plug-in hybrids are expected to have a cruising range of up to 300 miles. When full production is reached in 2015, Fisker estimates annual sales at up to 115,000 vehicles.