Electric cars get a boost from the White House

Tesla won't be the only start-up with an electric car on the market if would-be automaker Fisker pulls off its latest financial deal.

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced approval of a $529 million loan to the
Irvine-based company for development and production of two lines of plug-in hybrid
electric vehicles. The loan will support the Karma, a full-size, four-door sports sedan, and a line of family-oriented models under development, according to a DOE statement.

“The story of Fisker is a story of ingenuity of an American company, a commitment to
innovation by the U.S. government and the perseverance of the American auto industry,” said Vice President Joe Biden in prepared remarks.

Fisker plans to manufacture the Karma and other product lines at a recently shuttered General Motors factory in Wilmington, Del. Fisker plans to hire 2,000 assembly workers, and government officials expect that through domestic parts suppliers and service providers, employment will increase substantially.

“The Boxwood Plant is opening again, employing workers in Delaware, and is serving as a roadmap for all we can accomplish if everyone works together," Biden said.

Josie Garthwaite of Earth2tech.com reported that the loan "marks the fourth agreement to reach this stage under the DOE’s highly competitive Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program." She said between June and October 2009, DOE made loan agreements with Tesla Motors, Nissan, Ford, Fisker and parts maker Tenneco.