Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Fisker Lays Off Most Workers, Plans To Shop Around Remaining Assets

timothy posted about a year ago | from the now-about-all-those-tax-dollars dept.

Transportation 276

After being saddled with a half-billion dollars in loans from the U.S. Department of Energy, electric car manufacturer Fisker just can't catch a break. It's not just the cars; it's the company itself. From a Reuters report: "In a statement, Fisker confirmed that it let go about 75 percent of its workforce. The automaker said it was 'a necessary strategic step in our efforts to maximize the value of Fisker's core assets.' A Fisker representative could not immediately answer questions on the company's financial position. In the past, the automaker has declined to comment on the possibility of bankruptcy. ... About 160 employees were terminated at a Friday morning meeting at Fisker's Anaheim, California, headquarters, according to a second source who attended the meeting. They were told that the company could not afford to give them severance payments."

cancel ×

276 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Frosty Piss (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378345)

hi every1 im new!!!!!!! *holds up spork* my name is katy but u can call me t3h PeNgU1N oF d00m!!!!!!!! lol...as u can see im very random!!!! thats why i came here, 2 meet random ppl like me ^_^... im 13 years old (im mature 4 my age tho!!) i like 2 watch invader zim w/ my girlfreind (im bi if u dont like it deal w/it) its our favorite tv show!!! bcuz its SOOOO random!!!! shes random 2 of course but i want 2 meet more random ppl =) like they say the more the merrier!!!! lol...neways i hope 2 make alot of freinds here so give me lots of commentses!!!!DOOOOOMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! --- me bein random again ^_^ hehe...toodles!!!!!

love and waffles,

*~t3h PeNgU1N oF d00m~*

Re:Frosty Piss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378399)

You are a retard, and this is the most retarded FP I've ever seen. That is all.

Re:Frosty Piss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378561)

And yet it worked. Don't feed the trolls.

Re:Frosty Piss (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43378923)

You are a retard, and this is the most retarded FP I've ever seen. That is all.

It's a leaked copy of the Fisker business plan, so it's entirely on topic.

Re:Frosty Piss (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43379293)

If that is the most retarded FP you've ever seen - then you're obviously new here. Hang around awhile. Or, just scroll back through the archives.

Re:Frosty Piss (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#43379301)

It was way better than all that hosts file crap, though. Compared to that this post almost had a valid point.

And no one will learn yet again. (4, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43378365)

Well, either treat it like NASA if it's so damned important and plow uncounted tens of billions into it, or get out. Trying to be like venture capitalists, but idiot ones, unlike the real ones who won't go near this unlikely technology, just breeds people who will dance the way government wants to attach themselves to the government tit until it runs dry.

Re: And no one will learn yet again. (5, Insightful)

hxnwix (652290) | about a year ago | (#43378797)

Trying to be like venture capitalists, but idiot ones, unlike the real ones who won't go near this unlikely technology

It's not so unlikely: "The company [Tesla Motors] announced in early August 2009 that it had achieved overall corporate profitability for the month of July 2009.[51] The company said it earned approximately US$1 million on revenue of US$20 million. Profitability arose primarily from improved gross margin on the 2010 Roadster, the second iteration of Teslaâ(TM)s award-winning sports car. Tesla, which like all automakers records revenue when products are delivered, shipped a record 109 vehicles in July and reported a surge in new Roadster purchases."

Wikipedia lists their 2012 revenue as -251m, presumably because Tesla Motors is making heavy capital investment in production. They've been profitable before, and their investors apparently think they will be again.

It's worth noting that the already established and highly profitable oil companies take billions of incentives from your government every year. Evidently, they just love giving money to industrialists of every stripe. And banks, of course.

Advancing new basic technology with great strategic potential for reducing US dependency and therefore entanglement in the middle east is an excellent idea. Perhaps Fiskers was a poor choice - but doing nothing until after oil hits $500 a barrel would be far worse.

Re: And no one will learn yet again. (4, Insightful)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#43379163)

Wasn't Tesla one of about 6 or so companies that were part of this stimulus, and all of the rest of them went kaput? That's not very smart investing at all.

Notice something here though - Tesla actually has the backing of known venture capitalists already, including its founder. You can't justify the government being a good venture capitalist when almost everything it touches falls apart.

And ffs, I don't know why people always throw around that the government already subsidizes oil, banks, and . I don't think any libertarian or conservative (the ones who would be opposed to all of the above) approve of that either, so stop throwing that around as if it justifies other bad investments that the government makes.

Re: And no one will learn yet again. (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43379415)

he company said it earned approximately US$1 million on revenue of US$20 million.

Who here thinks they would have made anything resembling a profit without the substantial help from government? First, they secured a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy. Second, they picked up $10 million from the California Energy Commission for machinery purchases. Finally, purchasers of the vehicle get $7,500 in tax credits from the Federal government.

That's not the sign of a company that would have gone somewhere without ample and continued government subsidies.

It's worth noting that the already established and highly profitable oil companies take billions of incentives from your government every year. Evidently, they just love giving money to industrialists of every stripe. And banks, of course.

Everyone gets access to most of those subsidies. There are very few oil subsidies. While all of the Tesla subsidies I just mentioned are unique to "green" technologies.

Advancing new basic technology with great strategic potential for reducing US dependency and therefore entanglement in the middle east is an excellent idea.

Why do you think that? Entanglement with the Middle East just isn't that big a deal, nor does it magically go away just because you're dumping a lot of money into deadend, excuse me, "basic" technologies.

but doing nothing until after oil hits $500 a barrel would be far worse.

The thing you don't get is that no, waiting till oil hits a ridiculous price is not "far worse". First, there's the concept of "time value". Something now is more valuable than something in fifty years. Similarly, a cost now is more costly than a cost down the road.

By holding off on currently uneconomic transitions, we get more money from oil production and the infrastructure. That's money now.

We also put off the cost of transitioning, which I might add is not going to get more expensive merely because we delay. We can't get any more dependent on oil than we've been for the last fifty years. Nor as we now see do we make the transition any easier or cheaper just by throwing money at it. End result of the current generation of green technology initiatives has been that we squander wealth and revert to the old way of doing things once the subsidies go away.

Re: And no one will learn yet again. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43379439)

Trying to be like venture capitalists, but idiot ones, unlike the real ones who won't go near this unlikely technology

Maybe if these start-ups located in lower cost geographic locations their overhead costs and operating costs could be reduced while attracting sufficiently intelligent people to work for these companies.

Re: And no one will learn yet again. (3, Insightful)

JonBoy47 (2813759) | about a year ago | (#43379587)

It's also worth noting that Tesla has publicly committed to paying off its ATVM loans 5 years ahead of time. Of course, the DOE is making them pay off the loans early, but that's another matter... http://www.teslamotors.com/no_NO/blog/early-repayment-tesla%E2%80%99s-atvm-loan [teslamotors.com] http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/update-elon-musk [teslamotors.com]

Re:And no one will learn yet again. (1)

mozumder (178398) | about a year ago | (#43379123)

We definitely need to subsidize a better transportation system. The electric car system isn't it though, as it is marginally better than gasoline cars.

Right now we've subsidizes trillions of dollars on the road system, when that taxpayer money could have gone into a far more efficient rail system.

Re:And no one will learn yet again. (2, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43379349)

I don't really like trains very much - but you're right. People rarely die on trains. One person's mishap on or near a train seldom brings fellow travelers to a screeching halt, to wait for cops, ambulances, and wreckers to arrive. I really think trains kinda suck - but they suck a lot less than our current system.

Biggest problem with trains, as I see it, is that they never go where a guy needs to go. The city and state decide where the train is going, they build it, then it's up to everyone else to live along the tracks, or do without public transportation.

Something needs to be done - but at this late date, I don't expect ANYTHING intelligent to be done.

Re:And no one will learn yet again. (4, Insightful)

JonBoy47 (2813759) | about a year ago | (#43379611)

Public Transportation: A great way to get from someplace you don't live to someplace you don't work. It fails for this very important reason, and liberals never want to talk about...

How many times do we have to go through this? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378383)

A loan guarantee is not the same as a loan. Fisker was "saddled" with over half a billion in loan guarantees but not with actual loans. You know, dollars? The government froze their credit line under 200 million. Saying Fisker is "saddled" with every dollar from a loan guarantee is like saying I'm "saddled" with every dollar of my $30,000 credit card credit line even though I owe $0. Does that make sense at all to anyone?

And this company failed due to the current trend in American economics. Mr. Fisker wanted to invest and build to create a product to sell. The board wanted to do nothing in an effort to save cash. So Fisker left and the board said, "great! now fire everyone, don't produce anything, and will save loads of cash! Surely success will come!" For the exact opposite line of thinking, see Elon Musk who innovated, invested, and built a product that people would want. But the captains of industry, who we are told deserve the most reward because they take the most risk, don't take shit for risks. They want to sit back and squeeze dollars out of what they have instead of actually producing more. So we have Hostess, that didn't want to compete but just rely on brand-name recognition, and the RIAA/MPAA that wants to copyright everything to infinity so no one has to produce anything of value ever again. Thanks, guys!

Re:How many times do we have to go through this? (4, Informative)

guidryp (702488) | about a year ago | (#43378715)

And this company failed due to the current trend in American economics. Mr. Fisker wanted to invest and build to create a product to sell.

This company failed becuase it had a poorly engineered product, with outsourced drivetrain, and outsourced production. That product was one of the most unreliable cars produced in the 21st century so far in an era when cars are getting more reliable.

Mr. Fisker most likely departed because he wanted out of a sinking ship. There was no investing to save this turkey.

Re:How many times do we have to go through this? (1)

grqb (410789) | about a year ago | (#43378813)

I agree. The impression that I have from Fisker is that their product was not well engineered compared to competitors like Tesla. The Fisker Karma looked nice but they did have quality problems. Using lithium-ion batteries from A123 was one of their mistakes (even before bankruptacy, A123 had problems).

Re:How many times do we have to go through this? (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year ago | (#43379195)

Didn't A123 get a bunch of DOE money as well?

Re:How many times do we have to go through this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43379583)

> one of the most unreliable cars

I have to disagree. Two coworkers have Fiskers and someone else in the same building has one. There's a dealer across the street from our building. I haven't heard of any problems. One replaced a nonstop mess of a Honda Civic so he is very happy with how much more reliable a Fisker is over the Honda garbage that the uninformed US public buys. Seriously, have you ever seen a "car guy" buy a Honda?

Re:How many times do we have to go through this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378717)

^This.^

Our corporate culture has drifted so far from "creating value" that nowadays all they can do is maximize short-term profit, usually at the expense of long-term viability. Unless of course they've got some sweet government subsidy; then they can keep sucking the money teat indefinitely. Elon Musk is a prime example of the opposite, a guy who's obsessed with creating the best products possible and willing to risk everything to achieve that goal. For example, when asked about a possible IPO for SpaceX, he usually says he wants to wait until certain goals are reached before taking that step, because a board of directors responsible to shareholders might not be willing to take the risks that may be necessary.

Re:How many times do we have to go through this? (2)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#43378929)

What I see happening time and again is a company is built by engineers and visionaries, but then leadership is replaced with MBAs who understand the value of money while not fundamentally understanding the value of work. Yet they often have the arrogance (they politely call them leadership skills) to believe they understand the organizations they're leading.

Unless they have a professional background in the area they're leading, such as a former life as an engineer being in charge of IT or manufacturing, or a CPA in charge of finance, MBAs are pretty much toxic in any role. If you have an MBA leading your ranks who came from a management background, look around the cabin for the exit signs, keeping in mind that the nearest exit may be behind you.

Re:How many times do we have to go through this? (1)

fche (36607) | about a year ago | (#43379147)

"What I see happening time and again ..."

How many of these situations have you actually seen - first hand - say to the extent of getting to know the engineers and those "toxic" MBAs?

Or are you just regurgitating stuff you've read?

Also hurt by A123 (1)

Fencepost (107992) | about a year ago | (#43378779)

Having their battery supplier fold didn't help matters either.

Re:How many times do we have to go through this? (4, Interesting)

fche (36607) | about a year ago | (#43378803)

"Fisker was "saddled" with over half a billion in loan guarantees "

"saddled" is an interesting choice of words for another reason: it's as if though getting those loan guarantees were a bad thing for Fisker. It would be more accurate to say that taxpayers were saddled with it.

Re:How many times do we have to go through this? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#43379621)

This. "Saddled" makes it sound like they did nothing to acquire the debt. It implies they didn't need the money in the first place, and the debt was forced upon them - as if they'd co-signed a huge loan for some other, ne'er-do-well company that spent it all on hookers and booze.

load guarantee is not a loan, so what! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378841)

Look, someone lent Fisker money. It may not have been the US governement but so what. At the end of the day, Fisker took 200 million up in smoke, the lender got paid back by the US government, and the US government spent $200 million that it got from the taxpayers. Yeah, a loan guarantee is not the same as giving Fisker the money directly, but at the end it amounts to the US government (and taxpayers) being out $200 million while Fisker pissed the money away.

Re:How many times do we have to go through this? (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43379495)

A loan guarantee is not the same as a loan.

[...]

The government froze their credit line under 200 million.

So the loan was a bit under $200 million most which didn't get paid back. That's still a lot of money that the US government is now on the hook for. And incidentally, why did the US government bother to freeze the money? Because they are now under scrutiny for these programs.

And this company failed due to the current trend in American economics. Mr. Fisker wanted to invest and build to create a product to sell. The board wanted to do nothing in an effort to save cash. So Fisker left and the board said, "great! now fire everyone, don't produce anything, and will save loads of cash! Surely success will come!"

Well, the board probably was correct here. The company probably is more successful than if it had "invested" the money down that particular rathole.

While it is true that taking risks can have great benefits, it's worth noting that one can take risks without even a chance of gain. I see no indication here that the board of directors made the wrong choice.

Welcome back to drudgedot (-1, Troll)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#43378393)

This story isn't on the front page because of the technology, because of the environmental promises of electric cars, or even because it is a business story. This is on the front page because Fisker is linked to Democrats, and the failure of this company makes them look bad. This story should be filed under politics, not technology or business.

Welcome back to drudgedot.

Re:Welcome back to drudgedot (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43378445)

I note there isn't any submitter here. Is Timmeyah pulling a solo run?

Re:Welcome back to drudgedot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378465)

That reminds me time to go over to http://www.drudgreport.com/ [drudgreport.com] (http://www.idrudgereport.com for you mobile folk) to read the REAL NEWS!

Re:Welcome back to drudgedot (5, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | about a year ago | (#43378487)

This is on the front page because Fisker is linked to Democrats, and the failure of this company makes them look bad.

And when Fisker first started talking about their cars and got all sorts of drooling interest here ... that's because it was Eeevil Republicans playing long ball and setting up slashdot users for a clever smackdown later when Fisker inevitably failed? Wow those guys are sinister geniuses!

Here's why Fisker is associated with Democrats: because a Democrat decided to hand them half a billion dollars borrowed from other places like China in a vain attempt to pander to the Greener Than Thou voting block. Yes, it was pure politics. You can't make Obama's political decision to give them other people's money (and the interest we'll be paying on that money for decades) go away.

But that has nothing to do with the fact that a theoretically promising and sexy-looking tech product company has badly fumbled something that an endless parade of people keep saying is the Super Sexy Green Future of driving around.

One of my customers invested a pile of money into becoming a Fisker dealer. They have been completely, royally screwed by the engineering, sales, and financial incompetence of that company - as well as bad luck over things like cars getting flooded in storage in storms, and more. Why is this "on the front page?" Because it's a classic tale of a tech venture gone sideways. And you doth protest way too much about the politics. Basically, you're using the opportunity to start a thread that bashes people you don't like. The hypocrisy is delicious.

Re:Welcome back to drudgedot (5, Insightful)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about a year ago | (#43378823)

Let's be real though - the government didn't just invest in Fisker. They also invested in Tesla, which is going strong, along with Ford and Nissan. Nissan delivered with the Leaf, while Ford's return on that investment is much less direct but involves a few different combustion engine technologies/improvements and manufacturing line improvements.

The truth is that this is the way investment works - some companies are successful, others are not. Whether the government should be investing at these different levels is what's really up for debate. It's hard to deny that the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program has generally been a success, whether you believe that the government should have been the ones to invest or not. This program was a $25 billion program, and they lost $200 million of it on a bad investment. Considering the risk profile was expected to be 30%, it would take Ford or Nissan to fail on their obligations under the loan in order for it to surpass that threshold.

You also need to understand that Fisker didn't get all of the money they were guaranteed. A loan guarantee means they'll definitely loan up to a limit, not that Fisker immediately received that amount. The real number they got is about $200 million, not $500 million. Losing $200 million on a total of $25 billion invested in relatively unproven (in the market) technologies isn't all that bad.

Re:Welcome back to drudgedot (2, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | about a year ago | (#43379243)

Whether the government should be investing at these different levels is what's really up for debate.

I question whether the government should be "investing" in any company, least of all green tech boondoggles like Fisker and Solyndra. Meanwhile, millions of Americans who sorely needed that extra 2% in their paychecks before the payroll tax cut expired have now been hit with a higher tax bill. People were surprised when their payroll tax withholdings increased because they believed Obama when he said that he wouldn't raise their taxes. How's that change working for ya? Meanwhile Obama blows money on stupid shit like Solyndra and Fisker. I'd rather have that 2% back in my pocket Mr President thank you very much. If green technology is such a great investment then where are all the qualified professional investors? Why aren't they throwing in? Elon Musk is like a modern day Howard Hughes, a billionaire who puts money into tech that interests him regardless of whether it makes or mostly loses money, so he doesn't count. If qualified professional investors don't feel that green is a good investment then why the hell should the average taxpayer, who knows almost nothing about investing, be asked to "invest" in these companies. It's just another taxpayer rip-off and government waste of our hard earned money if you ask me.

Re:Welcome back to drudgedot (1, Offtopic)

ScentCone (795499) | about a year ago | (#43379433)

It's just another taxpayer rip-off

It's worse than that. Because it was done entirely to buy votes. It was done so that Obama could stand with his teleprompters on a factory floor of yet another (soon to fail) company and proclaim what a visionary he is in advance of an election. So glad I could help pay for that, for him.

Re:Welcome back to drudgedot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43379517)

Whether the government should be investing at these different levels is what's really up for debate.

I question whether the government should be "investing" in any company, least of all green tech boondoggles like Fisker and Solyndra. Meanwhile, millions of Americans who sorely needed that extra 2% in their paychecks before the payroll tax cut expired have now been hit with a higher tax bill. People were surprised when their payroll tax withholdings increased because they believed Obama when he said that he wouldn't raise their taxes. How's that change working for ya? Meanwhile Obama blows money on stupid shit like Solyndra and Fisker. I'd rather have that 2% back in my pocket Mr President thank you very much. If green technology is such a great investment then where are all the qualified professional investors? Why aren't they throwing in? Elon Musk is like a modern day Howard Hughes, a billionaire who puts money into tech that interests him regardless of whether it makes or mostly loses money, so he doesn't count. If qualified professional investors don't feel that green is a good investment then why the hell should the average taxpayer, who knows almost nothing about investing, be asked to "invest" in these companies. It's just another taxpayer rip-off and government waste of our hard earned money if you ask me.

And that 2% would make such a big difference in your life! Wow!

Re:Welcome back to drudgedot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43379531)

I am from the government and I am here to help.

The scariest words in the English language.

Re:Welcome back to drudgedot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43379535)

"Elon Musk... doesn't count". So the question is.... who does?
Except for the likes of Elon Musk, all other "qualified professional investors" are only interested on making easy/quick money in exchange for as little as possible, including nothing.

Re:Welcome back to drudgedot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378851)

Here's why Fisker is associated with Democrats: because a Democrat decided to hand them half a billion dollars borrowed from other places like China in a vain attempt to pander to the Greener Than Thou voting block. Yes, it was pure politics. You can't make Obama's political decision to give them other people's money (and the interest we'll be paying on that money for decades) go away.

Except it seems we're expected to hyperventilate over that amount, while ignoring something like the half a trillion dollars borrowed from other places like China in a vain attempt to spread Democracy overseas. We can't even mention that, it's just unthinkable to still be criticizing George W. Bush for the countless dollars wasted on his wars.

He's out of office, so obviously we're supposed to forget about everything he did, and ignore how his party is still endorsing the same spendthrift ways without concern.

Or how you know, it was his party that got behind the idea of backing loans to private corporations rather than investing in actual government development programs.

But that has nothing to do with the fact that a theoretically promising and sexy-looking tech product company has badly fumbled something that an endless parade of people keep saying is the Super Sexy Green Future of driving around.

One of my customers invested a pile of money into becoming a Fisker dealer. They have been completely, royally screwed by the engineering, sales, and financial incompetence of that company - as well as bad luck over things like cars getting flooded in storage in storms, and more. Why is this "on the front page?" Because it's a classic tale of a tech venture gone sideways. And you doth protest way too much about the politics. Basically, you're using the opportunity to start a thread that bashes people you don't like. The hypocrisy is delicious.

Re:Welcome back to drudgedot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378513)

You are the first one to bring up politics at all.

And on that vein.. You are fucking delusional if you think ONLY the democrats are the problem. Or ONLY the republicans. It's all of them.

If you have voted D or R in the last two decades... YOU are the problem.

Shit wont change until we elect someone other than the same old turds.

Re:Welcome back to drudgedot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378653)

This story isn't on the front page because of the technology, because of the environmental promises of electric cars, or even because it is a business story. This is on the front page because Fisker is linked to Democrats, and the failure of this company makes them look bad. This story should be filed under politics, not technology or business.

Welcome back to drudgedot.

YOU brought the politics into this.

If posting the story makes Democrats look bad?

Well, IF THE FUCKING SHOE FITS...

Re:Welcome back to drudgedot (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#43378663)

This is on the front page because Fisker is linked to Democrats

The word "Democrat" appears nowhere in the linked article. Perhaps you're reading something else...?

Another one bites the dust (4, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43378431)

Another company borrowed huge sums of money from the Department of Energy only to declare bankruptcy a few years later. Sure, it's not a big piece of the pie as far as the US budget goes. But the US government isn't making a few bad decisions. But many thousands of them.

Re:Another one bites the dust (2, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43378589)

That's what it is supposed to do. Private investors don't want to take risks on new technology or research that may or nay not make money one day. Universities, partly government funded, do the research. The government then invests in companies that develop it into new products, and a lot of them fail. In this case though clearly the technology itself was worth investing in, as Tesla has demonstrated.

In the UK we invented graphene at a government funded university but failed to capitalize on it. Now most of the patentsbelong to China, Samsung and US ccompanies. At least the US has the worlds premier EV manufacturer, which was initially part government backed.

Re:Another one bites the dust (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43378611)

That's what it is supposed to do.

I had to laugh at this. Sure, someone needs to make all those bad decisions to cover for the slackers in private industry.

Re:Another one bites the dust (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43378707)

Private investors don't want to take risks

- there is a reason private investors are not putting their money into any of this shit. This story and all those other stories show why the private investors are not doing it.

Ever heard of California and their 'high speed rail', 'high speed' being now the same old rail just maybe 10 minutes faster than 12 billion dollars ago? There were no private investors into that either.

Re:Another one bites the dust (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43379133)

How many private investors are involved in California's highway system?

And there was a private investor in Florida's attempt. It was just as an excuse to scuttle it.

Fucking shit man, can't win for losing.

Maybe because everyone talks about Tesla (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year ago | (#43378453)

Which is a sexy car but kinda sad as it's not one I consider ecological or sustainable for the world at large. Idk Fisker, but I was a fan of Aptera which also failed for various reasons but seemed to me more of a sustainable car nearly every family could afford.

Instead, we're going for car that's electric not because of the environment, but because it's wicked fast and great 0-60 times and looks cool. Nevermind the strip mining needed for all those battery packs and such or that it's a traditional car and so not very aerodynamic compared to what we could achieve (and so not as efficient). Sad that our society sometimes seems to be ruled by the sensibilities of a 13 year old but I guess that's just how it is.

" maximize the value of Fisker's core assets" (4, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#43378459)

Well, if they are laying off 75% of their workers, I guess they don't consider them part of the "core assets."

Whatever happened to companies that loudly proclaimed, "The most important assets we have . . . are our employees!" . . . ?

. . . and actually meant what they said . . .

Re:" maximize the value of Fisker's core assets" (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#43378569)

Well, if they are laying off 75% of their workers, I guess they don't consider them part of the "core assets."

Indeed -- my first question is: "Who's getting a huge bonus for successful maximizing of 'core assets'?"

Re:" maximize the value of Fisker's core assets" (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#43378643)

Well, if they are laying off 75% of their workers, I guess they don't consider them part of the "core assets."

Their "core assets" are probably things they can sell off to get money. You cant sell off employees.

Yet.

Re:" maximize the value of Fisker's core assets" (1)

CdBee (742846) | about a year ago | (#43379627)

Core Assets are things that make money. Normally its Capital Assets - EG, a machine that costs $100000 but makes $50000 basecost contribution (markup on) saleable goods a year and lasts for 10 years would be considered an asset - as it gives a revenue yield greater than the costs it consumes (power, materials) and the costs of financing.

But the real economic value of that machine requires a market willing to buy the goods produced at the stated value. So it is for Human Capital - employees. If they produce goods worth more than their wages cost, and if the market will take those goods and pay for them - then the employees are assets who must be appreciated, and protected, and kept.

The problem is that the wage bill exists whether anyones buying the product or not. Most corporations fail because the product doesnt sell. That being the case the staff are, sadly, a liability not an asset. Economics is a game for the cold-hearted.

Re:" maximize the value of Fisker's core assets" (1)

AmazingRuss (555076) | about a year ago | (#43379095)

Automation and population growth. The value of labor is being driven down by simple supply and demand.

Re:" maximize the value of Fisker's core assets" (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#43379295)

Sir/Madam, if I had mod points, you'd get 'em all

Re:" maximize the value of Fisker's core assets" (1)

nebosuke (1012041) | about a year ago | (#43379549)

Whatever happened to companies that loudly proclaimed, "The most important assets we have . . . are our employees!" . . . ? . . . and actually meant what they said . . .

They mean what they say, but the mistake you're making is the implicit assumption that all employees are equally valuable* (to the company in terms of economic value, not as human beings in general).

For technology companies in particular, the key employees with true, industry-leading expertise in their field comprise the crown jewels of the company's "assets". In these cases, while it is true to say "The most important assets we have are our employees", the truth is that those 5% of employees who are critical to the core business represent 95% of the company's economic valuation of human resources.

* A good way to figure out how valuable you are to the company is to ask the questions "How much would it cost to replace me?", "How does that cost compare to the cost of continuing to employ me?", "How significant is the impact of my departure for other reasons?". If you are the LeBron James the answers might be "at insanely prohibitive cost, and quite likely only with inferior substitutes", "Very high while we lose games and merchandising revenue", and "Massive downgrade of the brand". If you're the janitor, however, those answers would be "The time it takes to process any one of the 300 applications we have on file", "insignificant difference", and "nothing".

not the scissors (1, Offtopic)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a year ago | (#43378485)

article is not about the scissors company Fiskars

Not a big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378497)

How else do you expect to progress unless you make mistakes?

Re:Not a big deal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378517)

We've been through this before many times over the decades. Electric cars make no sense. Hydrogen is not a fuel. Space won't save us. When this will become clear, then the human species can mature a bit, and start the important projects for the next few centuries: to create a new social model to allow us to live on this planet because that's all we have.

Re:Not a big deal (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378679)

We've been through this before many times over the decades. Electric cars make no sense. Hydrogen is not a fuel. Space won't save us. When this will become clear, then the human species can mature a bit, and start the important projects for the next few centuries: to create a new social model to allow us to live on this planet because that's all we have.

You are making assumptions on the viability of paths based on current and past technology. Electric cars actually make a lot of sense, hydrogen is in fact a fuel, and though space may not save us from ourselves that does not mean that we will not have an increased presence there over the years due to advancing technological fronts. A half billion dollar experiment in an electric car company that failed is absolutely nothing compared to something truly idiotic like the invasion of Iraq.

And nobody learned nuthin' (0, Troll)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year ago | (#43378507)

What amazes me is that nobody is learning anything from these green technology failures. Most people live in the real world where they know they can't afford to be green. Solar panels? That's nice in theory but when people realize that they might never be able to recoup the investment they say "Next!" Hybrid cars? Sounds fine on paper but when the owners discover how much it costs to replace the battery pack they don't bother installing one and instead run on gasoline only. And then of course most people have a NIMBY attitude towards green technology or they shoot themselves in the foot with their own love of the environment as in the case of killing a green energy project because of some endangered species.

Re:And nobody learned nuthin' (2)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#43378549)

You're right. It's better to continue spending trillions to pull oil out of the Middle East. That's much less expensive.

Re:And nobody learned nuthin' (-1, Troll)

ScentCone (795499) | about a year ago | (#43378593)

What exactly is it that you think has to be burned to make the electricity to charge up electric cars, when nobody wants anybody to drill locally, frak, use more coal, or put up new nukes? Yeah, oil. The Fisker and its ilk are still pretty much an oil-powered cars.

If you don't like that, focus on energy production. Not which way the energy is used to make the on the car wheels turn.

Re:And nobody learned nuthin' (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#43378655)

To change the energy infrastructure to something that'll be more sustainable, lots of things need to be done at the same time, and those things need to be done by the government, because it's too big and too important of a job for any one private company to handle.

Re:And nobody learned nuthin' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378689)

My solar panels on the roof of my house are making power today in Ohio.... Enough to go 30 miles in one day.

We have the technology, people are just too cheap or too stupid to realize it. Companies are to blame too for not making electric pick-up trucks, highly efficient cars (aptera was close but needed 4 wheels) and sports cars.

Re:And nobody learned nuthin' (3, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | about a year ago | (#43379401)

people are just too cheap

It's true. Most people can't afford $100,000 worth of solar arrays and rechargeable cars that can only get them on a short errand. Damn cheapskates!

Re:And nobody learned nuthin' (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378701)

The US gets less than 1 percent of its electricity from oil.

Re:And nobody learned nuthin' (2)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year ago | (#43378735)

Yes but it goes a little further than that. Our current national energy policy doesn't include mass storage of the generated electricity. AFAIK, the only way to do this would be widespread use of dams and reservoirs with hydroelectric generators but that goes against current environmental/social policy. That said, there is another consequence to forced adoption of electric cars without localized long-term energy storage and that is the people will gradually be forced to live and travel only where there is a ready supply of electricity. But maybe that's really their long-term goal: a few massively overcrowded cities and no human presence elsewhere. After all, mother Gaia needs protection from the cancer that is humanity.

Re:And nobody learned nuthin' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378755)

Actually, most of our oil comes from Mexico and Canada. Our crude oil imports are very diversified.

Re:And nobody learned nuthin' (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year ago | (#43379237)

At least when a *consumer* *decides* to spend a dollar on a product from the middle east, they actually get value for their purchase.

Re:And nobody learned nuthin' (4, Interesting)

TigerPlish (174064) | about a year ago | (#43378733)

What amazes me is that nobody is learning anything from these green technology failures.

Yeah USA's been down this road before. Didn't work then. Won't work now. For a while everyone was "by 2000 there will be no oil anywhere" and 20 years later (90's) people were driving land garbage scows and there was so much oil prices plummeted. Eco went away.

The current wave of Ecothink is similar to the last. Solar still won't work, not with photovoltaics in their current state. Corn is a joke. It's for eatin' and makin' hooch, not becoming fuel. It's upside-down, you spend more energy making than what you get out of it. Adding it to gasoline makes the cars unhappy and doesn't do a damn thing to improve MPG. Wishful thinking can't beat physics. People still fall for Eco and embrace it with religious fervor.

As for electric cars I'm all for it, just please no rows and rows and rows of ballast.. I mean batteries.. weighing down my car and needlessly using dangerous, expensive, hard-to-get materials.

Re:And nobody learned nuthin' (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378949)

Corn is a joke. It's for eatin' and makin' hooch, not becoming fuel. It's upside-down, you spend more energy making than what you get out of it.

That's true of everything, or haven't you heard of the laws of thermodynamics? But if you're going to charge the solar energy that is being used to grow the corn to humans, it's your math that is a joke.

Much like the calculations purporting to prove that growing corn for ethanol was inefficient. Turns out they left out some numbers in their accounting, like how much corn went to foodstocks.

That said, there are other plants, and you can find there's support for growing them, and making ethanol from them.

Adding it to gasoline makes the cars unhappy and doesn't do a damn thing to improve MPG. Wishful thinking can't beat physics.

Too bad it seems like outright deceit can beat the truth, at least in your case, since you're arguing that the ethanol doesn't do something it was never meant to do as if that was an argument against it.

Here's a clue, the reason to add ethanol to gasoline is to improve the quality of the exhaust gases from burning it, not to improve fuel mileage. I know it may shock you, but the chemists and engineers who wrote the papers actually do have science on their side, not just empty rhetoric that completely misses the point of the action. Why next you'll be arguing that an air bag doesn't do a damn thing to improve MPG, or a seat belt, or tempered glass.

Well, great, so what? Can you offer an argument that actually addressed the point of ethanol being added to fuel?

Re:And nobody learned nuthin' (2)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year ago | (#43379257)

If corn based ethanol wasn't a joke, it wouldn't need subsidies for production, and it wouldn't need mandated blends to prop up sales.

Re:And nobody learned nuthin' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43379339)

Apparently you don't realize the difficult in addressing the costs of an externality. The costs of the polluted exhaust from burning gasoline without an oxygenate blend (the whole purpose of adding the ethanol) is not one that's directly borne or noticed, but it does exist.

Would you rather have the injured parties attempt to sue the people responsible for the harm directly?

That won't work. Totally impractical. So we have the mandate, because the harm can be recognized, but the cause cannot be directly applied to any given individual. It's not as simple as noticing your neighbor just spilled a ton of sewage on your lawn. Sorry, but it ain't.

And shit man, if you're worried about subsidies, why don't you ask the petroleum industry why they need so many tax breaks, why they need the support of military forces in the regions they operate, why they're sucking up to the government teat as much as big aggro.

Saddled? (4, Insightful)

guttentag (313541) | about a year ago | (#43378571)

From the summary:

After being saddled with a half-billion dollars in loans from the U.S. Department of Energy...

From the OED:

saddle
v.

1. Put a saddle on a horse
2. (Saddle someone with) give someone an unpleasant responsibility or task.

1. If you somehow meant this car company was reducing fossil fuel consumption by strapping saddles to horses and calling them cars, they should have been out of business a long time ago.
2. If you somehow meant that the DOE forced a half billion dollar loan guarantee on them, and they were unhappy about this... I think you misunderstand the function of the DOE, and possibly the function of a loan guarantee.... And possible the function of a half billion dollars. Are you, perchance, a Fisker executive? They seem to have this same difficulty in understanding the functions of these things.

DOE should take control of the company, oust its top executives and either turn it around or sell off its useful assets to other companies who will use them to achieve the goals of the loan and recoup the taxpayers' costs. Otherwise Fisker will probably sell its assets off for less than they are worth and the executives will get kickbacks or positions at those companies in exchange for doing so.

Re:Saddled? (1)

mveloso (325617) | about a year ago | (#43378631)

Maybe the DOE should ask for personal guarantees from the officers. Most banks do this for small business loans, and the SBA loans are substantially less than $500m USD.

Re:Saddled? (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43379515)

DOE should take control of the company, oust its top executives and either turn it around or sell off its useful assets to other companies who will use them to achieve the goals of the loan and recoup the taxpayers' costs. Otherwise Fisker will probably sell its assets off for less than they are worth and the executives will get kickbacks or positions at those companies in exchange for doing so.

But of course. Bankruptcy court provides standard ways to do this. I believe firesales have been contested before in bankruptcy court for this sort of reason though I'd probably have to google a bit to find an example.

Remember, boys and girls: (0, Troll)

L. J. Beauregard (111334) | about a year ago | (#43378617)

* $500M to develop electric cars: zOMG SOOOOOOOOOCIALISM!
* Unlimited funds to blow shit up in Iraq: USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

Re: Remember, boys and girls: (1)

hxnwix (652290) | about a year ago | (#43378969)

Indeed. Furthermore, how many trillions has the US spent supporting a government in Afghanistan that is no less hated and corrupt than the Republic of South Vietnam was? A government that will last just as long without US support?

And yet, these cretins worry over things costing less than a thousandth the cost. Keep cutting discretionary spending and keep stealing from social security to cut taxes on the rich, US, and you'll be just like Russia in no time. Minus the natural resources. We Norwegians hoped Obama might get you back on track, but you guys apparently resent it, and it is ultimately your right to decline and deteriorate if you want.

FYI, unemployment for graduates with engineering degrees is less than 1% here, and immigration into Norway is easy for skilled workers. Send your useful people to Norway and let the rest finally have things as they please. You deserve better, and the idiots just plain deserve it.

Re: Remember, boys and girls: (1)

Sollord (888521) | about a year ago | (#43379211)

None but we're getting closer thanks to Obama are awesome Nobel Peace Prize winning President... Spending has more than double since 2009

Tesla will be next. (-1)

jacekm (895699) | about a year ago | (#43378619)

I predict, that Tesla will fold next within couple of years. Electric car technology is not competitive, period. Unless you artificially tax gasoline to make conventional cars significantly more expensive to operate, there will be no economical electric car in many years ahead outside of golf course. Recent Tesla announcement that it is finally profitable is just a marketing gimmick to fool politicians and public so they can cough more money in support.Neither Tesla, nor Leaf nor Volt are viable economical products and can only be sustained by taxpayer and political correctness or by cash of corporate giant like GM or Nissan, that earn money in the gasoline powered cars.

JAM

Re: Tesla will be next. (0)

zzottt (629458) | about a year ago | (#43378807)

Mod parent down, this is one of the stupidest posts I have read here today

Re: Tesla will be next. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43379021)

If the parent is so stupid then please enlighten us with your wisdom.

Re:Tesla will be next. (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about a year ago | (#43378911)

Part of what makes it "uneconomical" is that the infrastructure isn't there to cut costs. Imagine that the gas engine didn't exist, and you'd see that it takes quite a bit to develop the technology into something marketable to the average person. Don't forget, the Model T, considered the first affordable car, didn't roll off the assembly line until 1908, more than 20 years after Benz created the first "modern" automobile in 1885. Even then, from 1886 to 1893, Benz sold only about 25 of them. By 1900, they only sold 572. My guess is that there were plenty of people who said it couldn't be done, and that Benz was destined to fail because this thing couldn't be sold to average individuals, during that time.

Re:Tesla will be next. (3, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#43379463)

Yes, of course the first electric car was around before the Model T and there still isn't an "affordable" electric car. In 1900, there were 1575 electric cars registered in the entire U.S., compared with 936 internal combustion cars. [intechopen.com] So, in 1900, electric cars were more popular than internal combustion cars, yet today when there a millions of internal combustion cars registered in the U.S. the number of electric cars is somewhere in the vicinity of .01% of that number. Exactly how long is this technology going to take to mature?

As expected. (4, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43378657)

This was to be expected.

There are people on /. who wouldn't understand such a thing for example. [slashdot.org] There are people here who do not understand that a company must turn up profit and if it doesn't it has no reason to exist, it's employing land, capital and labour inefficiently.

There are also people here [slashdot.org] who think that having government dictate how an economy should run is the preferred way, not allowing the private ownership and operation of property (capitalism) and free market (equality before the law, rule of law that does not discriminate against people and thus create inequality of treatment and inefficiencies of economy) to do what it does best - savings, investment, production.

There are is the answer and that "borrowing" from yourself to "pay" your debts is actually a [slashdot.org] meaningful act [slashdot.org] .

So this is yet another failed example of government "investing". You can't invest somebody else's money if they are forced to give it to you under the threat of violence, so that money is not coming out of your pocket, you are forcing it out of other people's pockets to run your own technocrat goals, and mostly really those are corrupt goals.

Note that this was one of the ways that Al Gore's profited [slashdot.org] from his gov't ties.

Re:As expected. (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#43378727)

Oh, puh-lease. Gnashing of teeth over a few hundred million dollars? Really? And our oil-grubbing decade long wars in the Middle East cost how many trillions? *Yawn*

Re:As expected. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43378741)

No question about it, the wars are illegal, I mean to say unconstitutional, undeclared, offensive and should have never happened. All the wars since 1945 that is.

Re:As expected. (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#43378799)

Right, so when we've got the government pumping trillions into "war" to extract oil, why shouldn't a tiny fraction of that be spent to try to create new technologies and a new infrastructure?

Re:As expected. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43378817)

You mean why 1000000 wrongs don't make a right, don't you?

Well, the gov't shouldn't be involved in any illegal matters, be it unconstitutional wars or unconstitutional behaviour regarding money.

Re:As expected. (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#43378855)

There's simply no way that the wars are going to stop. There's too much money involved. The only practical way, as I see it, to deal with the problem of the massive military industrial complex, is to cut it off at the knees with game changing technology.

Re:As expected. (1, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43378905)

Game changing technology? You mean like nuclear, which government controls very tightly as well?

No, the only way to fix a problem is not to attack the symptoms, it's to go for the root cause and the root cause is the government power that it is not allowed to have actually. The real problem is the implicit and explicit support for all that the government does by the mob. There will be no 'game changing technology' coming out of government.

A private sector can take some results of some research done by whoever (irrelevant if it was gov't or anybody) and turn it into a product. Of-course gov't is not authorised to be involved in any research either and it shouldn't be, it becomes a pressure point, a way to extract more money and create more political influence.

The reality is that the gov't enjoys the status quo because while the mob cheers for the populist message, the actual actions that are taking place are very specific to profits of very few certain, very well connected individuals, and until you change that nothing will change.

The real problem is that people find it profitable to enter the gov't, to buy its power for their profit. That's what the real problem with "socialising costs and privatising gains" are, but you see, the mob realises it when it looks at things like BP but it doesn't connect the dots when it looks at things like the postal office and other utility monopolies granted by gov't.

What I mean to say is that any government involvement means power involvement, it means power over individuals, power to steal freedoms and sell them to somebody who is right there and understands the value of power and is absolutely interested in buying it.

You can't stop it without closing the fountain of power. You can't stop any of it without putting the boot down on the throat of gov't, like the snake that it is and forcing it into a constitutional cage. Gov't is useful in a way a snake can be useful, in exactly that very way.

Gov't is useful by providing the antidote to the snake bites by other powers, other oppressive gov'ts. But that's the extent of it. Let the snake out of its cage and it will bite you.

Re:As expected. (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year ago | (#43379281)

Is it really trillions? Or more than a trillion?

Re:As expected. (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43379545)

Right, so when we've got the government pumping trillions into "war" to extract oil, why shouldn't a tiny fraction of that be spent to try to create new technologies and a new infrastructure?

What "war" to extract oil?

Before Bush invaded Iraq they were preventing Saddam Hussein from selling oil. If they wanted the oil they just had to say 'actually, we'll buy it from you' instead. It's not as though he was going to refuse to sell.

That "Saddle" is USA taxpayers $$ down the drain (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378691)

Again we see the Obama Administration's lack of expertise in investing OUR money ($529 million). Did you know Fiskar makes the cars in Finland? Creating jobs, just not here.

Re:That "Saddle" is USA taxpayers $$ down the drai (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43379129)

Please, it's peanuts to everything else, and it's not that many jobs. They just don't have a factory of their own yet. Maybe they'll never get one, but if they did, i doubt they'd keep even part of the production in Finland.

Quit your whinning. Bush and the rest of the rebuplicans would've just wasted it on something totally useless, like gifts for each other and their rich friends. Atleast Fisker technology can be sold.

How did they become "saddled by" this debt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43378757)

Did someone at DOE go to Fisker and force them to take on this debt, or did they ASK FOR IT?

"Becoming saddled with" implies it was involuntary. But Fisker asked for these loans. When they couldn't get them on their own (banks and venture capitalists apparently aren't as stupid as they wanted them to be), they asked all of us to guarantee the loans. Well, the banks and VCs were smart, and our representatives in the transaction weren't.

It is the citizens of the United States of America that are "being saddled with" this extra debt.

Subsidize (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43379075)

Should the government just subside end user demand instead of subsiding capital. It seems like a more market oriented way to encourage production of something. Maybe the government should increase rebates for electric cars, but then again we have Telsa Motors (which just announced they were profitable in the last quarter) party because of a government subsidy and Tesla could be the next Apple of the automotive industry

/sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43379369)

"They were told that the company could not afford to give them severance payments."

Meanwhile, the executive-level officers of the company are probably going to make out with the profit from cannibalizing its remains.

Karma bites you in the ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43379499)

Stating the obvious...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>