The US Department of Energy is awarding a $528.7-million conditional loan to Fisker Automotive for the development of two lines of plug-in hybrids—the Karma and the new Project Nina vehicle—by 2016. This is the fourth conditional loan commitment the Department of Energy has entered into under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan program. The Department plans to make additional loans under this program over the coming months to large and small auto manufacturers and parts suppliers up and down the production supply chain.
In the first stage of the program, Fisker Automotive will use a $169.3 million ATVM loan for engineering integration costs as it works with primarily US suppliers to complete the company’s first vehicle, the Fisker Karma. (Earlier post.) Engineers will also design tools and equipment and develop manufacturing processes. This work will be conducted at Fisker’s Pontiac, Michigan office with support from its headquarters in Irvine, California.
While the final assembly of the Karma will be done overseas, more than 65% (based on cost) of the parts required for Karma will come from US suppliers. The four-door Karma is scheduled to appear in showrooms in summer 2010.
The second stage includes a $359.36-million ATVM loan for Fisker’s Project Nina—the design, engineering and assembly of Fisker Automotive’s next-generation plug-in hybrids, starting at about $39,900 after tax credits. Fisker says that Project Nina—inspired by the ship belonging to explorer Christopher Columbus—is symbolic of the automobile industry’s transition from old world to new. Fisker estimates production of up to 75,000-100,000 of these plug-ins in the US per year beginning in late 2012.
Fisker automobiles use an extended range electric vehicle architecture, and will offer a cruising range of about 300 miles.
The first three conditional loans included $5.9 billion for Ford Motor Company; $1.6 billion to Nissan North America, Inc.; and $465 million to Tesla Motors. (Earlier post.)