DOE seizes $21 million from electric car company Fisker

Fisker Automotive, an electric vehicle manufacturer that has collected some $192 million in federal loan support, had to relinquish some $21 million of that amount back to the Department of Energy (DOE).

Fisker failed to make a $10 million payment on its loan that it received under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. The government is still owed $171 million from Fisker.

Representatives of the DOE said the money was seized because of Fisker's financial troubles and the failure to make payments on its loan. Fisker laid off three-fourths of its workforce in April and could soon file for bankruptcy without a buyer or some form of cash infusion from elsewhere.

In 2009, Fisker won about $529 million in DOE loan funding to make plug-in hybrid electric vehicles at a disused General Motors plant in Wilmington, Delaware. By February 2012, Fisker had established 45 dealerships in the U.S. and three in Canada.

Fisker's money troubles could be a fresh scandal for the DOE's loan guarantee program. House Republicans have already scheduled a hearing on the subject, titled "Examining the Department of Energy's Bad Bet on Fisker Automotive."

Fisker was founded in August 2007 by Henrik Fisker. The company has its headquarters in Anaheim, California.

Fisker's product rollouts were complicated by the bankruptcy of another former DOE beneficiary, A123 Systems, which made the batteries for Fisker plug-in vehicles.

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