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Electric car maker Fisker begins the usual “painful public death” process.

Meet yet another of thank-God-he’s-former Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu’s bad calls with your tax money:

Struggling carmaker Fisker Automotive laid off 160 employees, most of its staff, Friday as it struggles to reach a financing deal that would save the maker of the Karma hybrid sports car.

The Anaheim company dismissed all but a core group of about 40 workers needed to keep the business running as it continues talks with three Chinese businesses considering buying or investing in Fisker, according to individuals familiar with Fisker’s strategy.

As the article later notes, Fisker received a Department of Energy loan that was supposed to start being paid back this month; however, the number that the LA Times used ($192 million) is only technically accurate. Fisker actually borrowed $529 million*; but their business model was, alas, a bit optimistic and it turns out that making batteries for the car wasn’t exactly profitable**. The Department of Energy finally turned off the spigot, thus triggering the following death spiral. A heck of a thing when the good news is that the government didn’t manage to waste all of your money, but that’s life in the wacky endless circus that is modern American ‘green’ policy.

Total private money lost in all of this? $1.2 billion. But, hey: Steven Chu was a Noble prize winner. That’s something, right?

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: If we absolutely have to have a Department of Energy, can we at least have bureaucrats running it from now on? It’ll be cheaper in the long run, not to mention the short.

*Part of that loan, by the way, was to set up a factory in Delaware. Guess what? Yup, never opened, and Delaware taxpayers are apparently now out of an additional $21.5 million of THEIR money that their governor loaned to Fisker. Gov. Jack Markell’s office is carefully avoiding talking about how they’re going to get that money back, largely because they’re probably not.

**The aforementioned battery company was A123 Systems, which despite because of its own massive government subsidies (DoE gave them a grant of $249.1 million) was forced into bankruptcy. Post restructuring, it is now known as… B456 Systems.

You may be forgiven at this point for deciding that Big Green is simply now just messing with your head.

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