By Amy Oliver Cooke and Michael Sandoval
It’s hard to keep up with all the disasters plaguing “clean” technology. We’ve highlighted some of them in previous columns, but now find ourselves overwhelmed with bad news for the green-at-any-cost crowd. So periodically we’ll provide a “renewable roundup,” reading and deconstructing the latest developments so you don’t have to.
Running on Empty: Electric Cars
Fisker Automotive, maker of luxury electric/hybrid vehicles, got a $529 million taxpayer guaranteed loan courtesy of the Department of Energy (DOE) in April 2010. According to the DOE the money was for two production lines that would “create or save” up to 2,000 jobs in Wilmington, Delaware and “displace” 17,400,000 gallons of gasoline. Up to this point, Fisker has created only 700 jobs in California and Deleware.
All that money; all that potential; and very few cars. Forbes contributor Bill Frezza writes that Fisker has delivered a total of 40 cars, and those have gone to the less than one percent among us such as “Leonardo DeCaprio and Ray Lane who received tax credits because they bought an electric car.”
That’s only $13,225,000 per car. Don’t worry Leo and Ray didn’t have to pay that much. According to Car and Driver the 2012 Fisker Karma is in the $100,000 neighborhood and can go a full 50 miles without using a drop of gasoline! Let’s face it; the Karma is not just an eco-feel good vehicle. It’s sweet looking, not like “smart cars” that resemble a Fisher-Price Cozy Coup with a battery. But it isn’t really economical.
Frezza reports that Fisker’s problems produce a ripple effect. Because the auto manufacturer keeps delaying production, a Michigan electric vehicle battery manufacturer laid off 125 employees just before Thanksgiving and reduced its 2011 earnings projection.
Even in the face of brutal economic reality, green dreamers keep fantasizing and predict “electric cars would become the leading application for lithium ion batteries by 2015, surpassing laptop PCs and other handheld devices.”
Frezza asks, “Who are they kidding? How many portable electronic devices do you own? How many electric cars have you ever even seen?”