Senators: New questions about Fisker’s DOE loan image

Two Republican U.S. senators questioning U.S. assistance to luxury plug-in carmaker Fisker Automotive Inc. asked the Energy Department to answer new questions about its $529 million in loans to the company.

The two senators initially wrote the Department of Energy on April 20 asking for information on whether Fisker was properly reviewed before it received the loan and if the department had the proper expertise to monitor the company.

“It appears that Fisker has experienced difficulty creating American jobs and questions have been raised regarding the decision to loan Fisker over half a billion dollars of taxpayer money, ” Grassley and U.S. Senator John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, said in a letter sent today to Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The lawmakers received a response from the DOE a month later, but they alleged on Monday it lacked much of the information they requested, promoting them to write a second letter.

“The Department of Energy’s response is evasive at best and fails to address the questionable details surrounding the taxpayer-backed loan granted to Fisker to make a luxury car,” said Thune.

Back in 2010, Fisker Automotive won $529 million in low-cost DOE loans, and has drawn $193 million, mostly for use in developing the Fisker Karma that was designed and engineered in the United States but assembled in Finland.

Early this year, the DOE froze a $529 million loan to Fisker because of a one-year delay in bringing the Karma to showrooms. The move forced Fisker to suspend work at the Delaware factory and lay off 26 workers in February.