I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, but the chips just didn’t fall right for Fisker Automotive. Fisker’s defaulted loan is now up for auction.
In the beginning, Fisker Automotive had been awarded $529 million in guaranteed loans, from DOE’s [Department of Energy] Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, about four years ago, to develop and manufacture an extended-range electric vehicle [EVER] line, the first model of which was the Fisker Karma. Depending on how successful the Karma was, future models, including the Surf and Atlantic, would follow. Fisker Automotive had withdrawn some $192 million to get started but, failing to make payments and meet and production goals, they were cut them off from any further funding.
Since the fall of main battery supplier A123 Systems, as well as a series of unfortunate events, including flooding and fire, some bad executive decision-making, and a general lack of demand for $100,000+ vehicles, Fisker Automotive has finally succumbed to bankruptcy. A number of potential investors have expressed interest in taking control of the company, including Wanxiang, who’d already acquired and rebooted A123 Systems, and even former CEO and Founder Henrik Fisker.
Now, past all hope of recovery, the DOE is putting Fisker Automotive’s loan up for auction. Fisker Automotive had paid back barely $21 million of the $192 million that it’d originally withdrawn, meaning that DOE is looking to recover up to $171 million. Judging by some of the bidding, such as German investor group Fritz Nols AG offering $25 million, and Henrik Fisker and Hong Kong investor Richard Li offering $33.6 million, DOE is going to take a loss.
Bidding will take place through October 7, with the stipulation that the winning bid “will include a commitment and business plan that promotes domestic manufacturing capabilities and related engineering for advanced technology vehicles here in the United States,” according to DOE Loan Program Office executive director Peter Davidson.