Fisker falters, and the vultures gather

Another bundle of bad news for EV startup Fisker Automotive hit the wire on Monday, as the company announced that it has put Project Nina on hold, and laid off 66 workers.

 

Another bundle of bad news for EV startup Fisker Automotive hit the wire on Monday, as the company announced that it has put Project Nina on hold, and laid off 66 workers. Project Nina is the working title for Fisker’s second production vehicle, an electric sedan that’s to be built at a former GM plant in Wilmington, Delaware. The company claims that much of the design and engineering work is already done.

The Fisker saga is being watched closely far beyond the EV world, for Fisker is one of several automakers and high-tech energy firms that received federal loans (Tesla, Ford and Nissan also scored). The DOE pledged up to $529 million to Fisker, and the company has drawn $193 million so far. The rest of the money is supposed to be for Project Nina, so Fisker and the feds are going to have to have a little talk.

If Fisker flops, it will be a handy weapon for the Obama administration’s enemies, and if a Republican takes the keys to the White House in November, federal support for EVs will probably screech to a halt.

However, all is not lost. Fisker is working on a new $300 million round of funding, and has already secured most of that. Private investment in the company now totals $866 million, and its venture capitalist backers haven’t asked for the keys back yet. The problems that delayed the launch of the Karma have been fixed, and the new luxury sports sedans are arriving at dealerships. Keep your fingers crossed, fasten your seat belts and hold on tight.

 
 
Image: Fisker