Taxpayers are on the hook for a multi-million-dollar tab after a U.S. Department of Energy gamble on a green automaker went into the red.
The Obama administration announced Friday it will lose $139 million on a loan to struggling electric car maker Fisker Automotive Inc. after selling part of the loan to a private investor that immediately took the company into bankruptcy.
The transaction brings to an end another effort by the Obama administration to use public funds to stimulate green initiatives. Awarded a $529 million loan guarantee by the administration in 2009 to produce the Karma, a $103,000 luxury hybrid car, Fisker failed to meet DOE benchmarks, causing it to lose its loan guarantee two years later. The company drew down on $192 million before its federal funding was pulled, and the Obama administration seized $21 million from the company in April to help repay taxpayers.
Hybrid Technology LLC, the California car marker’s new owner, said it plans to keep Fisker operating after it emerges from bankruptcy.
The government lost $528 million in the Solyndra collapse, triggering sharp Republican criticism of the loan program and President Barack Obama’s investments in green energy.