The Science of Sustainability

Clean Car Diaries: Tesla Unveils and Fisker Stops Production

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Tesla's new Model X. Photo: Wired

Tesla and Fisker are not exactly producing electric cars for the 99 percent. Still, these two luxury green automakers are closely watched because both companies have received hundreds of millions in federal loans to help jump start the EV market and rehabilitate major U.S. commercial car factories. Also, they produce sexy cars.

Model X reveal

Elon Musk has pulled the curtain back on his company’s third electric car. The Model X is an SUV that features a pair of double-hinged “Falcon Wing” rear doors for easy loading and unloading. Musk says they will open in tighter spots than the traditional door though I don’t know why you want to park this $50,000 plus luxury car that close to anything. The Model X will do 0-60 MPH in 4.4 seconds. Tesla has begun taking reservations online for its latest high performance EV.

Now that the over-hyped debut of the new crossover has come and gone maybe Tesla can get back to building it’s Model S Sedan which is to be released this summer. Both the Model X and Model S will be built at the company’s factory in Fremont, California which was purchased from a now defunct Toyota-GM factory.

Fisker

Photo: Road and Track

Fisker shuts down

Meantime, southern California based EV manufacturer Fisker has stopped work at its Delaware auto factory after the U.S. blocked a loan. Last year the Department of Energy awarded Fisker 529 million dollars to manufacture its next plug-in at a closed GM plant. The project is on hold while officials for Fisker and the DOE try to work out concerns that the electric car manufacturer is missing some important deadlines.

While Fisker execs say the company is not going to go down the same path as now bankrupt solar panel company Solyndra, Republican Congress members are already calling for more oversight of DOE loans. Fisker sells the Karma plug-in electric sports car retailing for a whopping $102,000 in the U.S. The company’s new car is supposed to sell for about half of that.

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About the Author ()

Andrea is KQED's Senior Science Editor . Andrea was born in Los Angeles and discovered radio news through listening to her college radio station. With a curious mind and a love for telling stories, she set off for Tampa where she landed her first job as a reporter for Florida Public Radio. After three years reporting in an unbearably humid climate and a brief stint as a miscast opera reporter, Andrea returned to L.A. to work for public radio, then for television news and finally as a reporter for CBS radio. Andrea has been at KQED for over twelve years, working first as a producer for Forum, and then as the senior producer for The California Report. She is now KQED's Senior Science and Environment Editor and narrates the QUEST television program. Andrea says she feels lucky to cover emerging science and environmental trends in a place where geek is chic.