The U.S. Department of Energy and Fisker Automotive have agreed to terms for a $528.7 million loan to create affordable plug-in hybrid vehicles. The money comes from the $25 billion Advanced Technologies Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program, which was created by Congress last November.
Fisker claims the loan will create or save 5,000 jobs among manufacturers and auto suppliers. The plug-in hybrid manufacturer also claims that by 2016 an estimated 821 million gallons of gasoline will be saved and 8 million tons of CO2 offset by sales of Fisker’s low-cost plug-in hybrid models.
The rub? The first “low-cost” model Fisker will roll out will be $39,900 after tax credits. That’s a heavy premium to pay even when getting 50 miles to a charge and a gas-extended range of 300 miles like you do with the Fisker Karma. To make the car a value through its fuel savings, the term “low-cost” will have to lose the ironic quotation marks.
Currently, Fisker has said it has 1,500 orders for future Karma vehicles — a high-end sedan — and has recruited a network of 45 retailers, which it hopes to grow to 100 in the coming years.