By Dell Hill
Updated By Forbes
Unless you’re Leonardo DiCaprio, you’ve probably never driven a Fisker. In fact, I’d guess most of you have never even heard of a Fisker...But you will, in due time. You see, you’ve invested $529 million dollars in this brand spanking new automobile manufacturer!
DiCaprio is one of TWO lucky owners to take delivery of the hybrid sports car - which screams down the highway for a whopping 32 miles between battery charges and sports an eye-opening 20 miles per gallon when running on gasoline. And all for just about triple what you’d pay for an American made gas-guzzler.
Leonardo DiCaprio owns one-half of the total number of Fiskers Produced.
The Fisker has actually been in the works for a couple of years now, and despite long delays, the Department of Energy is confident that Fisker won’t become the next Solyndra. Those watching from a neutral position aren’t so sure.
According to ABC News:
“Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department's $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.”
Vice president Joe Biden, left, and Henrik Fisker, CEO of Fisker Automotive announces that the company will produce plug-in hybrid electric vehicles at the former General Motors Boxwood Plant, Oct. 27, 2009, in Wilmington, Del. (Rob Carr/AP Photo)
That’s right - Finland. But don’t despair. Plans are in the works to be churning out 20,000 hybrids a year - hybrids built right her in America - well, at least partly built in America.
"There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle," the car company's founder and namesake told ABC News. "They don't exist here."
Henrik Fisker said the U.S. money so far has been spent on engineering and design work that stayed in the U.S., not on the 500 manufacturing jobs that went to a rural Finnish firm, Valmet Automotive.
"We're not in the business of failing; we're in the business of winning. So we make the right decision for the business," Fisker said. "That's why we went to Finland."
Maybe this would be a good time to point out that Fisker may be “in the business of winning”, but his erstwhile company has never been in the automobile manufacturing business either.
I know you’re just dieing to see what the Fisker looks like, so here ya’ go.
Sleek, sporty, impressive lines that give it a Corvette-Ferrari kind of appeal. But that’s where the comparison ends, as you’ll learn when you continue reading the ABC News report. You won’t be lining up to enter the NHRA Winternationals with your new Fisker.
And you’ll want to read that report to find out about all of the “name” and big money supporters who are backing this project. It’s a regular who’s who of Obama contributors, but of course there was no politics involved in the awarding of this gift...I mean guaranteed loan that actually totals closer to a cool $1 billion dollars.
After you see the list of backers, perhaps you’ll have the same question that I had. If there are that many billionaires backing this effort, why did they need a federal loan to begin with?
UPDATE: Maybe the mileage isn't quite as good as I thought. Forbes supplies us with this update:
"The Fisker Karma electric car, developed mainly with your tax money so that a bunch of rich VC’s wouldn’t have to risk any real money, has rolled out with an nominal EPA MPGe of 52.
Not bad? Unfortunately, it’s a sham. This figure is calculated using the grossly flawed EPA process that substantially underestimates the amount of fossil fuels required to power the electric car, as I showed in great depth in an earlier Forbes.com article. In short, the EPA methodology leaves out, among other things, the conversion efficiency in generating the electricity from fossil fuels in the first place.
In the Clinton administration, the Department of Energy (DOE) created a far superior well to wheels MPGe metric the honestly compares the typical fossil fuel use of an electric vs. gasoline car.
As I calculated in my earlier Forbes article, one needs to multiply the EPA MPGe by .365 to get a number that truly compares fossil fuel use of an electric car with a traditional gasoline engine car on an apples to apples basis. In the case of the Fisker Karma, we get a true MPGe of 19. This makes it worse than even the city rating of a Ford Explorer SUV.
Congrats to the Fisker Karma, which now joins corn ethanol in the ranks of heavily subsidized supposedly green technologies that are actually worse for the environment than current solutions."