D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has appeared on legaladvice.com, themanifest.com, and vice.com.

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jan 19, 2021

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The Fisker Karma got dismal fuel economy ratings from the EPA.
The Fisker Karma received dismal fuel economy ratings from the EPA. (fisker)

On Friday, we talked about Fisker, an electric carmaker that has received more than a half-billion dollars in federal loan guarantees from the Obama administration. Thus far, Fisker has only unveiled the Karma, an electric vehicle (EV) that features a gasoline engine much like the Chevrolet Volt once the batteries are exhausted.

Critics have noted that despite the federal loans and promises to utilize a defunct General Motors manufacturing plant for production of their cars, Fisker has outsourced their manufacturing and their cars aren’t being built in the United States, or even North America. Instead, the company is building cars in the European country of Finland.

The company founder said of the move to manufacture in Finland, employing Finnish workers, that “we’re not in the business of failing; we’re in the business of winning. So we make the right decision for the business. That’s why we went to Finland.”

While some complain of using American dollars to employ Europeans, other pundits have moved to throw Fisker into the same category of high-risk federal loans like Solyndra, the now bankrupt solar panel maker that received a half-billion dollars in federal funding under somewhat questionable circumstances.

If that isn’t enough negative energy to sour potential buyers of the Fisker Karma, we’d suggest turning attention to just released results of EPA testing on the fuel economy of the car. Despite company claims that the Karma would be rated for 100 MPGe (the company later lowered their expected rating to 67.2 MPGe) and have a 50 mile range from batteries, the actual EPA results came in at 52 MPGe and 32 miles from the batteries.

And once you’ve exhausted the 32 mile range from the batteries? At that point, the Karma gets a piddling 20 MPG from its gasoline engine. We’re quite certain there are much greener cars to be had, and without huge – and questionable – government subsidies.