It must depend on what your definition of “loser” is.
Plug-in hybrid car maker Fisker has responded to a jab that Mitt Romney’s took at President Obama during Wednesday night’s debate when he said “you put $90 billion, like 50 years’ worth of breaks, into — into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right?” The Republican candidate adding “and these businesses, many of them have gone out of business, I think about half of them, of the ones have been invested in have gone out of business.”
Fisker Spokesperson Roger Ormisher told GreenCarReports.com that “we don’t consider ourselves a loser, having sold 1,500 cars already and raised over $1.2 billion of private equity.” The California-based company has sold about 1,500 of its $109,000 Karma luxury sedans this year.
Along with the other companies mentioned, Fisker was granted a low interest loan from the Department of Energy to the tune of $529 million. The money was intended to be used to help develop its lineup of plug-in hybrid cars and retool a former GM factory in Delaware to build them in. However, after drawing down $193 million the company was cut off from the program for failing to meet several milestones spelled out in the loan agreement.
But Fisker is still in business and attracting private investment, having recently closed a $100 million round of funding. The automaker says it will outline production plans for a new high volume model later this year. It is also up to date on its payments toward the Department of Energy loan and says it has created 1,000 new jobs in the United States.
After the debate, Time magazine reporter Mike Grunwald Tweeted that the Romney campaign clarified to him that the candidate didn’t “didn’t mean to say that half the stimulus-funded green firms failed.” Mother Jones has calculated that the figure is closer to 9 percent.
Tesla has stayed out of the debate so far and has not commented on Romney’s statement.