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Fisker Automotive lands $529 million White House loan

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(Read caption) Fisker Automotive has received a conditional loan of $527 million to build affordable, fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid cars. Pictured here is the company's first car, the Fisker Karma.

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Fisker Automotive, a private company based in Irvine, Calif., has received a $529 million loan from a Department of Energy program designed to fund the development of alternative vehicles.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu told the Los Angeles Times that the low-interest loan, which was announced on Tuesday, "is another critical step in making sure we are positioned to compete for the clean-energy jobs of the future."

In a statement, Fisker said it would use the bulk of the money to fund the design, engineering and assembly of a next-generation plug-in hybrid cars. The cars will retail at $39,900, after tax credits, according to a Fisker statement:

By 2012 Fisker Automotive is expected to launch a family oriented, user friendly plug-in hybrid featuring cutting edge technology, radical styling and world-class quality. Global sales are predicted to exceed 100,000 units annually. A significant percentage will be exported, helping to balance the US trade deficit.

The rest of the loan will reportedly go towards a line of more affordable vehicles.

Earlier in the year, the Department of Energy issued loans to Ford, Nissan, and Tesla – part of a green energy push on the part of the Democratic administration.

In August, Obama unveiled the details of a separate $2.4 billion grant and loan program aimed at boosting production of electric cars and next-generation battery technology. The funding for the program comes from the 2008 $787-billion economic stimulus bill.

The program represents “the largest investment in this kind of technology in American history," Obama said at the time. "For too long, we’ve failed to invest in this innovative work, even as countries like China and Japan were racing ahead. That’s why this announcement is so important.”

Editor's note: The original article incorrectly identified the name of the car that Fisker will manufacture with the government loan.

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