(Scheduled post... such are the perils of being on the road and posting on something that has been covered elsewhere. Oh, well. Enjoy.)
A tiny car company backed by former Vice President Al Gore has just gotten a $529 million U.S. government loan to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000.
The award this week to California startup Fisker Automotive Inc. follows a $465 million government loan to Tesla Motors Inc., purveyors of a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster. Tesla is a California startup focusing on all-electric vehicles, with a number of celebrity endorsements that is backed by investors that have contributed to Democratic campaigns.
The awards to Fisker and Tesla have prompted concern from companies that have had their bids for loans rejected, and criticism from groups that question why vehicles aimed at the wealthiest customers are getting loans subsidized by taxpayers.
We’re not really sure what all the yapping would be about. Hasn’t the Environmental-Industrial complex pretty much established their bona fides in spending your money on the politically-favored/connected on technology that is not yet ready for prime-market time all for the benefit of the well-heeled’s self-esteem?
Matt Rogers, who oversees the department's loan programs as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, said Fisker was awarded the loan after a "detailed technical review" that concluded the company could eventually deliver a highly fuel-efficient hybrid car to a mass audience. Fisker said most of its DOE loan will be used to finance U.S. production of a $40,000 family sedan that has yet to be designed.
It’s not entirely clear to us that $40,000/unit falls under the mass audience category but who the hell cares about the masses when one of the main beneficiaries of your largesse has dutifully signed up.
The Karma will target an exclusive audience -- Gore was one of the first to sign up for one. Mr. Fisker says all new technology starts out being expensive. He pointed to flat-screen televisions that once started at $25,000 but are now affordable to the mass market.
Way to dig deep, Al! And what are these flat-screens they speak of? Its damn-near miraculous that these T.V.s have dropped in price by order of magnitude in just the 10 or so years since they have been commercially available. Seriously, how was that possible?
Read more about the joys of crony subsidization, picking winners and losers and the self-congratulatory joys of Big Green, here.