LOS ANGELES -- Electric car startup Fisker Automotive Inc. said Monday it has suspended work at its manufacturing plant in Delaware and laid off 26 workers while it renegotiates the terms of its $529 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The company said in a statement that it has received $193 million of the DOE loan so far, mostly for its Karma vehicle, which was introduced late last year.
Another 40 contractors and employees who were working in design and development of Fisker's Karma luxury car in Anaheim, Calif., also have been cut.
Fisker's Wilmington, Del., plant is expected to manufacture the company's second vehicle, known as the Nina. The $336 million balance of its DOE loan is intended to fund the Nina program, Fisker said.
The Delaware plant was formerly owned and operated by General Motors.
The Energy Department awarded Anaheim, Calif.-based Fisker $529 million in loans in April 2010 from a program intended to spur development of advanced-technology vehicles.
Part of the loan is for redeveloping the closed GM plant in Wilmington for Fisker’s use.
The introduction of the Karma was delayed because of regulatory issues and battery pack problems that prompted a voluntary safety recall by Fisker.
The DOE loan for the Nina project was contingent on Fisker meeting development and sales milestones for the Karma, which the company missed, the Associated Press reported.
Fisker is now negotiating with the DOE to modify the loan agreement so funds for that project can be released.
"We hope we can reach a resolution soon," Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher told the Associated Press.
The company hasn’t had access to the U.S. money since May, Ormisher told Bloomberg.
In a statement, Fisker said much of the engineering, design and development work on the Nina is complete and that it expects to resume operations quickly.
Fisker attributed the layoffs in California to a desire to conserve costs following the completion of design and development work on the Karma.
Reuters and David Phillips contributed to this report