Fisker Halts Project Nina Development, Lays Off US Workers

By · February 07, 2012

Fisker Karma

Fisker Automotive has reportedly halted development of Project Nina as it renegotiates terms of its DoE loans.

Fisker Automotive has halted development of future electric cars, and laid off at least 66 employees here in the US. Twenty-six of Fisker's Delaware employees and 40 contractors in California were laid off in an attempt to conserve cash as the automaker seeks to renegotiate the terms of its Department of Energy (DOE) loans.

Company executives insist that design, engineering, development and testing of its second vehicle—a mid-size plug-in hybrid referred to as Project Nina—is nearly complete and that production will begin in mid-2013.

"We hope we can reach a resolution soon," Roger Ormisher, a Fisker spokesman, said on Monday.

Meanwhile, the automaker was forced to lay off workers at its former General Motors facility in Wilmington, Delaware. "We are frustrated that Fisker and the DOE have been unable to come to terms on revisions to their loan agreement in time to avoid this," announced Brian Selander, a spokesman for Delaware Governor Jack Markell.

Fisker's Delaware facility

Fisker has laid off 26 employees at its former General Motors facility in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo shows Delaware employees in upper right-hand corner and Fisker's California crew in main image.

Fisker was expected to receive a $529 million loan from the DOE. The company has been plagued by missed deadlines and other technical problems. Fisker Automotive so far has been awarded $193 million, from the allocated DOE funds.

Delaware economic development director Alan Levin believes that Fisker and the DOE are close to signing an agreement that will get the automaker back in action. "We knew that this was always a possibility," Levin stated of the layoffs. "What they're trying to do is conserve cash."

A DOE spokesman did not respond to inquiries by the Associated Press.

Comments

· · 2 years ago

I don't understand why the average American's tax dollars are being used to hold up a company that exclusively makes cars that the average American will never afford. Sure, we'll clean some of the air in Carmel, but what about everywhere else? Besides, the people who drive these cars spend most of their time riding around in golf carts anyway don't they? Junk like this just sits in the collection garage.

· · 2 years ago

Well, I shouldn't say that rich people can't have fun. But, can't they just take a Ferrari to an EV conversion shop and do the same? Or get a Mini-E. Maybe in the scheme of things, half a billion dollars isn't a lot of money for a little pleasure. But, it seems like one of the more middle-class targeting projects would have delivered clearer skies.

· · 2 years ago

Starting off with a high priced car is not a bad thing if they are forced to have low volume initially anyway. That is what Tesla did with the Roadster. If a manufacturer uses elite cars as a place to start and then moves toward affordable cars with future models then we can all gain.

But Tesla didn't have the Roadster burn gas at 20 mpg after the batteries went down.

Tesla then, with the momentum and experience they gained from the Roadster, took their prices down a notch with the Model S so that they will soon be making cars roughly halfway in price between the Roadster and an affordable car. So they are moving down the price/quantity curve and I think that gives them credibility that they will eventually have affordable cars. They say that they intend to and they are going in that direction.

In the same way Fisker has the Nina. But there are a number of open questions. Will Nina really be a big step down in price? Will the Nina be gas efficient after the batteries are empty? After the Nina will Fisker then take the next step down to an affordable car or will they stay elite forever? The way that Henrik Fisker conducts himself it seems to be a little harder to believe that he will ever do affordable cars compared to Elon Musk.

But most the most important question is: can Fisker actually deliver a reasonable volume of working cars?

· · 2 years ago

alt-e: Yeah, I guess so. The Model S is pretty close to the Leaf and Volt in price. With any luck the model T will be cheaper in price.

· · 2 years ago

@ tterbo - Yes, but will it only come in black?

· · 2 years ago

alt-e: :D

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

The price of Tesla S is double Leaf or Volt.

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

My beef here is that Fisker is acting like it's holding DOE (i.e. taxpayers) hostage on Nina project / production. By having this lay off and on hold project due to DOE funding stoppage, it's showing that the Nina project is fully funded and supported by the DOE loan and DOE loan only, and not by those various rounds of VC fundings. No DOE money, NO Nina! We (Fisker) have no interest ourselves in this project.

Another "this is the car that America HAD to build" thing going on here?

This funding should have gone to Nissan or others that have a well thought mass production EV roadmap and implementation plan, for, say, battery development or vehicle weight reduction project.

· · 2 years ago

Driving a Fisker is like switching your house over to burn only incandescent bulbs -- just to show how much energy and resources you can waste. There is no other production electric car that consumes anywhere near as much energy. Why is the DOE supporting a car that weighs more than a pickup truck and uses twice as much energy as a decade-old GM EV1? Seems we are going in the wrong direction.

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