Saturday, October 22, 2011

ABC News and conservative poopyheads sensationalizes government loans to electric car company

ABC News and conservative poopyheads sensationalizes government loans to electric car company

"A key question, experts and investigators say, is whether another Solyndra is in the offing," according to an ABC News story about an electric car manufacturer that got a federal loan guarantee but is building its cars in Finland.

However, as Media Matters points out, the article includes, but sort of buries, the information that the U.S. government loan guarantee was for work that's being done here:

    Henrik Fisker said the U.S. money has been spent on engineering and design work that stayed in the U.S., not on the 500 manufacturing jobs that went to a rural Finnish firm, Valmet Automotive.

That's been done in consultation with the Energy Department, which made the loans and which issued a statement saying:

    Fisker’s loan has two parts. In the first part, Fisker used $169 million to support the engineers who developed the tools, equipment and manufacturing processes for Fisker’s first vehicle, the Fisker Karma. That work was done Fisker’s U.S. facilities, including its headquarters in Irvine, California which has 700 employees and plans to continue hiring. While the vehicles themselves are being assembled in Fisker’s existing overseas facility, the Department’s funding was only used for the U.S. operations. The money could not be, and was not, spent on overseas operations. The Karma also relies on an extensive network of hundreds of suppliers in more than a dozen U.S. states.

    The larger portion of the loan -- $359 million – is supporting the production of Fisker’s Nina vehicles. Fisker is using this funding to bring a shuttered General Motors plant in Delaware back to life and employing more than 2,500 workers. Fisker was attracted to this site in part by the opportunity to rehire some of the trained, dedicated workers who lost their jobs when that plant closed.

It would be far better, of course, if the 500 jobs that are currently in Finland were in the United States right now. But the government money that Fisker received appears to have gone to support research and manufacturing in the U.S., as it was supposed to. And Fisker appears to be on the path to create substantially more jobs here. The development of an electric car industry with government support is a story worth reporting, but ABC's Solyndra-centric framing and attention-grabbing headline are misleading.

Fisker is an on the edge of innovation company. Can they make high to medium high end luxury cars that will appeal to people who now drive Mercedes and BMWs and the answer seems to be yes. Which is probably the big reason conservatives are hoping they fail.

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