More layoffs at Fisker; plant ‘absolutely empty’ image

Electric car maker Fisker Automotive has laid off another dozen workers at its Newport-area factory. The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., reports the layoffs (12 more workers) occurred Friday.

One of those let go was Jeff Garland, who had been working on community affairs and business development efforts in Delaware. He said the plant is currently “absolutely empty.”

The layoffs, which occurred quietly Friday, come as the company continues closed-door negotiations with the U.S. Energy Department for a loan that could determine whether Fisker ever builds a car in Delaware.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Energy froze a $529 million loan awarded to Fisker in 2009 as part of an Obama administration program to spur advanced vehicle development.

Just a few weeks ago, Fisker CEO Tom LaSorda said the company was looking at alternative locations for making its cars if the Department of Energy does not move forward with planned financing for the electric car maker.

A different production site would trigger “clawback” provisions in the various loans, grants and tax breaks Fisker was given as an inducement to build in Delaware.

Production of Fisker’s Atlantic was originally scheduled to begin later this year. Those plans were put on hold after the Department of Energy suspended the automaker’s $529 million federal loan because the company missed milestones related to its first car.

Fisker has received $193 million of the $529 million DOE loan, mostly for work on the Karma, a sports car that is being built in Finland and sells for about $100,000.