Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Delaware still hopeful as Fisker quits electric-car maker

Plant unbuilt, waiting for cash

Delaware still hopeful as Fisker quits electric-car maker

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Fisker Karma
Fisker Karma

UPDATED with Delaware comments: Citing disagreements with his own executives and managers, Henrik Fisker has resigned the chairmanship of Fisker Automotive, the electric-car company to which the U.S. government pledged half a billion dollars (most of which is still frozen in government accounts) to re-open a General Motors plant near Vice President Joe Biden's Delaware home. More from the Detroit Free Press here.

"Henrik is an outstanding visionary. But the company is past the design phase. They need financing, they need  a strategic partner and they have the right guy in Tony Posawatz," the ex-GM Chevy Volt chief who is Fisker's chief executive, Delaware state economic development chief Alan Levin told me.

"Hendrik's leaving does not change anything," Levin added. "We've been in constant contact with that management team," which remains hopeful it will find new backers and unlock federal loan dollars to finish the plant. "You've seen the car?" Levin added. "It is striking."Delaware could lose $21 million, pledged to the California-based carmaker by Democratic Gov. Jack Markell, if Fisker cancels. 

Will Fisker's departure cripple the Fisker? History says maybe not: Delaware's own du Pont family counselor, John Jakob Raskob, forced out General Motors' founders before he reorganized the company into the biggest carmaker in the world in the late 1910s and 1920s. 

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PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

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Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

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