Justin Bieber Gets Luxury Electric Car Backed by Department of Energy

To celebrate his 18th birthday, Justin Bieber got a surprise gift today on The Ellen DeGeneres Show: a brand-new Fisker Karma, a luxury plug-in hybrid car. But thanks to a $529 million loan-guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy, the sports car also comes from American taxpayers. The plug-in costs around $100,000, while Ellen DeGeneres and Bieber's agent described the Karma as "a very hard-to-get car."

No kidding.

Only 2,000 Karmas have been manufactured so far. Of those, 840 have been delivered to dealers in the U.S. and Canada. But in December 2011, 239 Karmas were recalled because of a fire hazard from a coolant leak.

In addition to the very low output, Fisker parallels Solyndra, the now bankrupt solar panel manufacturer. Both firms received loan-guarantees of more than $500 million from the Department of Energy. Like President Obama, who toured Solyndra's factory in May 2010, Vice President Joe Biden visited a Fisker factory in October 2009. During his visit, Biden praised the company and defended its loan guarantee, saying "This is seed money that will return back to the American consumer in billions and billions and billions of dollars in good new jobs."

To be fair, Fisker has created 500 jobs...in Finland. Fisker claimed it could not find any American manufacturers willing to assemble the Karma, so it used Finnish Valmet Automotive. Fisker did open a factory in Delaware to produce its next electric car, but the firm has already begun to layoff those workers.

Even the Karma's environmental benefits are overblown. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Karma has a 52 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) while its all-electric range is only 32 miles. On gasoline only, it garners a less impressive 20 mpg. AutoGuide.com compared the Karma to other green cars:

To put this into perspective, the Chevy Volt gets a 93 MPGe rating with a 37-mpg rating on gas only, whereas the Prius Plug-in Hybrid is 87-MPGe rating with a high 49-mpg on gas only.

Like other electric cars, the Karma is eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500. But the top buyers of electric cars are quite wealthy and really don't need government-backed incentives. In addition to Bieber, Leonardo DiCapro and Ashton Kutcher are proud owners of the Fisker Karma. Meanwhile, the average buyers of two other electric cars, the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, have an annual household income of $175,000 and $140,000 respectively. Last year, Michigan Rep. Sander Levin and Sen. Carl Levin (both Democrats) even proposed doubling the $7,500 tax credit for electric cars. If accepted, these tax incentives would top $19 billion over the next ten years.

If you want to escape a green energy samsara, here's me on green jobs, while Ronald Bailey, Shikha Dalmia and The Simpsons cover electric cars.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • I saw that episode...||

    ...heard he was a pain in the ass to work with.

  • der||

    I'm an attractive, caring, honest, good hearted women in search of bilover to explore bisexuality. I, so I got a profile(lily green) on --Datebi dot c'0m--. It's the first and safe place for men and women looking for intimate encounters, casual encounters. Come in and discover the excitement you deserve! ^_^

  • cw||

    More government transfers to the wealthy. Why aren't liberals livid?

  • ||

    because many liberals are in the receiving-wealthy group?

  • All AgriCityStatism is about..||

    ...transferring wealth to the elite.

    Most likely, an increasing reliance on cereal grains required the use of large, immobile processing units. With such stationary assets, villages would develop, as the group could no longer easily move about. (Harris, 1993) This is precisely the sort of situation Gilman describes (1981) for how "Big Men"? might be able to attain ascribed position for themselves and exert their dominance.

    Thesis #10: Emergent elites led the Agricultural Revolution.
    by Jason Godesky | 11 October 2005
    http://rewild.info/anthropik/2.....index.html

  • Thomas Paine||

    The life of an Indian is a continual holiday, compared with the poor of Europe; and, on the other hand it appears to be abject when compared to the rich. Civilization, therefore, or that which is so called, has operated two ways: to make one part of society more affluent, and the other more wretched, than would have been the lot of either in a natural state.

    ~Thomas Paine

  • Primitard quotes city-STATIST!||

    It is always possible to go from the natural to the civilized state, but it is never possible to go from the civilized to the natural state. The reason is that man in a natural state, subsisting by hunting, requires ten times the quantity of land to range over to procure himself sustenance, than would support him in a civilized state, where the earth is cultivated.

  • Primitard quotes city-STATIST!||

    The reason is that man in a natural state, subsisting by hunting, requires ten times the quantity of land to range over to procure himself sustenance, than would support him in a civilized state, where the earth is cultivated.

    In other words, nearly seven billion need to die for the return of the "Original Affluent Society."

  • Universal Nutrition||

    First, its hypocritical of a Fibertard to posit universal nutrition as a principle when they openly mock such a goal themselves.

    Second, nobody needs to die. (But keep fibbing if you must, Fibertard.)

    Every individual on earth will have a choice. They will be free to choose to remain part of their culture to the bitter end, and die with it; or, they wll have the choice to embrace a new culture, embrace their own humanity, and survive into a new world.

    5 Common Objections to Primitivism, and Why They’re Wrong
    by Jason Godesky | 26 October 2005
    http://www.rewild.info/anthrop.....yre-wrong/

  • ||

    And if all 6.8 billions decide to "embrace their own humanity," what happens then?

    I suppose we could have a good old fashioned tribal territory war to see who gets all the land.

  • Mayans||

    Mayans went from the civilized to the natural state. As have many other agricultural city-States.

  • Primitard quotes city-STATIST!||

    To preserve the benefits of what is called civilized life, and to remedy at the same time the evil which it has produced, ought to considered as one of the first objects of reformed legislation.

    ~ Thomas Paine

    No friend of the Primitards.

  • No friend of the Libertards.||

    Unless you're a Georgist. Which is pretty much what Thomas Paine's "Agrarian Justice" is all about: a critique of property.

  • Jason Godesky||

    JASON GODESKY!!!

  • John Edwards||

    I want to stick my dick into the folds of Jason's fat.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Let Bieber's name show up on the donor's list to Cato, Heartland, Heritage or AEI and he'll have a gaggle of Occutards at his gates before you can say "hygiene deprivation."

  • ||

    The same reason they focus on Koch's wealth and not Soros.

  • yonemoto||

    not just the wealthy, wealthy canadians!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Justin Bieber got ... Fisker Karma

    They mis-spelled "fister"

  • Ha ha!||

    A pun! Priceless!

  • ||

    Leela: [tries to kill Project Satan with a silver potato to the exhaust pipe] Oh, no! There's no exhaust pipe!

    Project Satan: That's right! Thanks to Ed Begley Jr.'s elecric motor, the most evil propulsion system ever conceived!

  • ||

    see people, if we don't start Forgotten Inventor month soon, by the year 3000 people will think ed begly junior invented the electric motor.

    Then again, the people of that era will probably rely on the rotational energy of Faraday spinning in his grave for charging up their all electric flying cars.

  • ||

    Calculon: The year was 2019, and I was just a lowly robot arm working on Project Satan, a savage, intelligent military car built from the most evil parts of the most evil cars in all the world. The steering wheel from Hitler's staff car. The left turn signal from Charles Manson's VW. The windshield wipers from that car that played Knight Rider.

    Fry: Knight Rider wasn't evil.

    Calculon: His windshield wipers were. It didn't come up much in the show, though. Anyway, only after bringing Project Satan to live did they discover they had made a horrible mistake. For you see, it was pure evil!

  • Big Fan||

    Oh Episiarch, your pop-culture quotes are never superfluous and always pertinent!

  • Oh, Anonpussy||

    Your 'oh's are so super special and are not a literary mannerism of a fatuous dipshit who over paid for that MFA by several thousand dollars at all.

  • Ted S.||

    who over paid for that MFA by several thousand dollars at all.

    How much should a motherf*cking a**hole cost, anyway?

  • Fisker of Etiquette||

    ...while its all-electric range is only 32 miles.

    Poor Bieber. There's no place in Canada that's less than 32 miles from another place.

  • Matrix||

    high-speed rails, to the rescue!

  • Techno-salvationist cargo cult||

    Thorium Fusion to the rescue!

  • Justin Bieber||

    Fortunately, I'm always doing talk shows in the States.

  • Michael||

    Totally made my day. Thanks.

  • ||

    Given the joy and wonderment that Justin Bieber has brought to untold millions of fans, I think a token gesture like this is hardly adequate. Nonetheless, it's still the thought that counts, and as a taxpayer and a fan of quality music, I don't really mind doing my part to help spring for it.

  • Ted S.||

    Given the joy and wonderment that Justin Bieber has brought to untold millions of fans,

    And the retching he's brought to the fans' adult relatives....

  • Colonel_Angus||

    What a stupid smug granola name for a car. I hope the batteries combust.

  • ||

    The Department of Energy should be in the Top 10 list for a possible Paul presidency to butt-fuck out of existence first.

  • ||

    Don't forget the part where their batteries will "brick" if you don't keep them topped off, and they will charge you a discounted price of $20K to replace them.

    Drive your Fisker to the airport, leave it in the parking garage for a week, and you'll probably come home to a $20K brick.

    That's some quality shit Obama invested our money in.

  • Obama||

    We're planning subsidies for those, too. We can't have Justin showing up late to film "Ellen."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Similar thing happened to me when I parked my Jeep over the summer. Just dump a $1.95 can of dry gas in your Fisker's battery and I'm sure you'll be fine.

  • ||

    that's why you're supposed to leave it at a garage where it can stay plugged in the whole time.

    but remember kiddos, those wall-warts you leave plugged in are the real menace!

  • ||

    Different battery type, takes 3+ months to brick.

  • Matrix||

    If only the car catches on fire while he's in it and he's unable to get out of his seatbelt.

  • tarran||

    I want to murder Justin Bieber as sung by a monkey with uncontrollable urges to mastrubate.

    Enjoy!

  • Did you say masticate?||

    Chew on that.

  • Jerry||

    But in December 2011, 239 Karmas were recalled because of a fire hazard from a coolant leak.

    *crossing fingers*

  • ||

    If Tesla had actually had Model-S's to sell, perhaps Bieber would have received one of those instead. Get with the program, Tesla!

  • ||

    Fisker Karma

    They named their company Fusker? Oh, Fisker, I see. That's like founding a company and deciding to call it Pirnhub. Do some due diligence, motherfuckers.

  • ||

    Pirnhub, your #1 source for top quality piranhas.

  • Hugh Akston||

    When your only source of revenue is the government, you don't really have to market-test your name.

  • ¢||

    On gasoline only, it garners a less impressive 20 mpg.

    I get 17.x combined city/freeway mpg—roughly 90% of 20—with my forty-year-old Edsel.

    I said EDSEL.

    The Obamamobile's batteries must weigh a literal ton. Each.

  • ¢||

    forty fifty

    I haven't learned to count the '00s yet.

  • Zeb||

    This is so fucking dumb. Paying rich people to drive what are basically toys. Electric cars may well be a great ideal some day. They may even fit some applications well today. But it is just going to be an expensive waste of time any money until a better (safer, cheaper, higher energy density) battery or cheap effective and safe fuel cell is available.

  • Michael||

    I think it's always worth repeating that as an avid cyclist residing in a major metropolitan area these nearly silent electric abominations scare the living fuck out of me. This goes double for Fisters which are certain to be piloted primarily by the kind of blinkered douchebags that instinctively gravitate toward Audis and typically treat the public way as their own personal test track.

    Having said that, however, I giddily await for the moment that the inevitable conflict between the electric clown cars and crunchy granola bicyclods finally comes to blows.

  • ||

    Well, when that day comes, just remember that a length of bicycle chain makes a great "convincer"*, and I would think a cyclist would have a built-in reason for having one handy.

    *Err, I've heard.

  • ||

    ". . .while its all-electric range is only 32 miles . . "

    32 mile range is about 20 minutes of travel time, tops, and then you have to charge it for 8 hours. This is useless for a street sportscar.

    But its built as a sportscar so it can't carry much of anything, making it useless as an errand car.

  • Ted S.||

    If you drive at a constant 96mph.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement