U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) said he’s trying to attract Chinese billionaire Richard Li to Delaware but doubts Li’s company, Hybrid Technology LLC will end up producing vehicles in the First State.
Carper spoke at a Bloomberg Government event in Washington D.C. today where he gave his predictions on the future of Fisker.
Hybrid Tech purchased Fisker’s federal loans through the U.S. Energy Department earlier this year. The loan auction provisions require the company to commit to engineer and manufacturer the Karma, Fisker’s luxury hybrid sports car, in the United States.
Carper said Delaware’s Boxwood factory, a 3.2 million square foot plant in Newport, is too big for the production of the Karma.
“I think at the end of the day, they’re going to build Karma’s somewhere in this country, this is a huge plant to take, we can build 225,000 vehicles a year at this plant, and the Karma, I’ll be surprised if they build 5,000 (cars). So, it’s not a plant that lends it self to building the Karma,” said Carper.
Fisker had been in the process of developing a more affordable hybrid model, the Atlantic, before it went bankrupt. Carper said if development of that model resumes through Hybrid Tech, the company will likely move the manufacturing overseas.
“I don’t think there’s commitment to build that vehicle and the follow-ons in this country,” said Carper.
However, the senator said he hasn’t given up enticing the Chinese billionaire.
“Right now, we’ve reached out to Richard Li, our folks, the U.S. Consulate General there in Hong Kong has been very helpful there; he and his staff, taking letters from us to Richard Li, a gift, a book of beautiful pictures of Delaware, we said ‘this is your new state Mr. Li. We want you to come and see us and see your plant and we’d like to come see you in the meantime,’” said Carper.
If Hybrid Tech does not end up using the Boxwood plant, Carper said the state could end up taking control of the facility.
“There might be some interest on the part of Delaware to end up controlling the destiny of that plant, rather than having it controlled by somebody else,” he said.
While Delaware waits to see how the bankruptcy proceedings will shake out, Carper is preparing to attend the Detroit Auto Show on January 12 to meet with automakers about the possibility of doing business in Delaware.