Selling Karma (With a Solar Roof)

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Mar 16, 2011    •    531 Views

The Fisker Karma car has 2 electric motors, 1 Lithium-ion battery, and 1 internal combustion engine. Depending on the model, you can have a solar panel roof, do 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds and reach a top speed beyond 125 mph.


“…a small gasoline engine … turns the generator, which charges the lithium ion battery pack, powering the electric motor and turning the rear wheels.” The solar roof will help charge the car. 

Soon, you can buy the Ecochic, Ecosport, or Ecostandard model. Here is the brochure.  Prices start at $95,900. Estimated annual cost saving (on gas) is $1500.00. The car looks amazing.

In 2009, Fisker Automotive received a half-billion dollar loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop an affordable hybrid plug-in. The goal was a car that would sell for less than $40,000 that, Fisker says, will be available during 2012 or 2013.

The Karma is the first step. 

The Economic Lesson

So, again we have the question. Through loans and outright spending, what should the federal government fund? Should Fisker Automotive have received a federal loan?

This returns us to opportunity cost and how the money otherwise might have been spent or not spent. The most desirable alternative that was not selected is the opportunity cost of a decision. Choosing is refusing.

We also should think about what you believe the federal government should and should not do. Should the federal government only fund necessities that the private sector would not support such as a transportation network? Or, should government pay for goods and services that a society wants? 

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