By on September 22, 2009

This is no time for dogma...

Retool this! Fisker will use the majority of its Advanced Technologies Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVML) loan towards developing its next generation of plug-in, range-extended hybrids, according to the company’s press release [via Yahoo]. Preliminarily dubbed Project NINA, Fisker’s next vehicle range will be “affordable and fuel-efficient” vehicles with a similar drivetrain to its Karma sibling. Unfortunately, Fisker’s idea of affordable is $39,999 “after tax credit.” Sound familiar? Some portion of the AVTML money will go towards wrapping up Karma development, but it’s clear that Project NINA is the new priority. “Inspired by the ship belonging to explorer Christopher Columbus,” Fisker’s release intones, Project NINA “is symbolic of the automobile industry’s transition from old world to new.” Which is oddly appropriate. If it weren’t for state funding, that voyage would never have taken place either. [Thanks for the tips!]

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33 Comments on “Fisker Snags $528 Million DOE Loan...”


  • avatar
    jmo

    I have to say, that is a hot looking car.

    Side note – how will auto design change due to the introduction of electric vehicles? It would seem the design and packaging of an electric car would allow for mroe flexibilty.

  • avatar
    CyCarConsulting

    I am now starting to file all of these cars into my Dale car file, along with Tesla and all that ilk. Tesla has a showroom on Wilshire here in Santa Monica. Until I see a spoiled milf in the Whole Foods parking lot, loading tofu and soy in the trunk, I am not going to believe anything about these new cars.

  • avatar
    rolosrevenge

    Reading their release is really something. They haven’t delivered a single car yet but they are talking about “75,000-100,000 of these highly efficient vehicles will roll off assembly lines in the U.S. every year beginning in late 2012” That’s even crazier than what Tesla is saying.

  • avatar
    Bruce from DC

    Between Fisker and Tesla, we see the “Silicon Valley” way of car manufacturing: promote vaporware, or nearly so.

    That’s their right and privilege, so long as it’s their money at risk. But when it’s my money (i.e. tax dollars), the situation is different.

    Speaking of differences, while it is true that Chris Columbus’ voyages were financed by “public” money, at least the expectation (ultimately born out by CC’s. successors) was finding gold, or an all-sea route to the Orient.

    Would that the goals for this public money were as clearly thought out and enumerated. Who says that monarchy is a bad thing!

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    I’m just glad to see all those millions of dollars being drained from taxpayers right into a car company that will never build one car for public consumption.

  • avatar
    BDB

    The government subsidizes high-tech research all the time (and has since at least WWII). The space program led directly to microchips and later personal computers. Oh, and not to mention federal R&D cash gave us the Internet we’re communicating on right now. If you have a problem with it, you’re an idiot, we’d fall behind every other country in developing new technologies. High tech, cutting edge research is not profitable in the short or even medium term so the private sector (unless it gets subsidized) wants nothing to do with it’s initial development costs.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    How come when Fisker gets DOE money it’s a loan. But when Ford gets money from DOE TTAC calls it a bailout? (no flaming, just wondering)

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    Well, the Karma has been such a success it is no wonder Fisker is moving on to his next project.

  • avatar
    wsn

    BDB :
    September 22nd, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    If you have a problem with it, you’re an idiot, we’d fall behind every other country in developing new technologies. High tech, cutting edge research is not profitable in the short or even medium term so the private sector (unless it gets subsidized) wants nothing to do with it’s initial development costs.

    —————————————–

    Very true. China could convert water to gasoline back in the late 60s. That’s the root cause for their rapid growth …

  • avatar
    sutski

    This is a landmark moment for the US Car industry. Period. A true Model T Ford moment I would wager. Fisker is a get things done man and after successful tenureships at Aston and BMW he can also pen a sweet line.

    Q-drive, the powerplant for the Karma is made by Quantum Technologies and is 408hp system with 900+ torques…and for only $80,000 WAY less than any Porsche, Beamer or Audi for starters! 5.8 seconds to 60 as well !!

    Quantum (QTWW) was up 58% to 1.40 today on release of this news. It is the only way to own a part of Fisker I know of. If it goes to $85 a share, my Karma on order will be practically for free :)

    The truth about cars is that this is the new Ford of America. 100mpg SILENT electric luxury cars on sale within 12 months is MASSIVE news. Recession or not.

    Fisker also announced the creation of 5,000 US jobs as a result of the NINA program ! More great news !! $40,000 for a next generation family model is even greater news! There are MILLIONS of people worldwide who would happily spend that amount for such a car with such a designer and such a propulsion system!

    Not even mentioning the Sunset which is simply stunning (and silent too)…

    http://www.new.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2712831&l=f044373578&id=743425389

    I would expect the Q-drive powertrain to be completely modulable so I doubt the costs/timescales of doing other iterations like the NINA will be anything like as long to market when you can effectively just strap a different body on ?

    Car manufacture has definitely changed forever.

    Drivetrain unit, overall design, custom body parts, assembly and sales is all you need. If the Q-drive system eliminates wearing parts and most mechanical fault issues, designing and project management become the main jobs to making a car and a brand.

    That and a few million in finance…

    Companies such as this

    http://www.tazzari-zero.com

    will be springingup all over the place selling $25,000 cars as battery and drivetrain modules become available to be modulated.

    Excellent news all round !!

  • avatar

    The Karma is a attractive car but the Sunset the convertible version which was presented at Pebble Beach this year is a very attractive car. The sedan made the conversion to the topless version without losing any of its visual appeal.
    http://carsinpedia.com/car_day_archive_details.php?id=369

  • avatar

    The pictured car has a kind of Snidely Whiplash sort of grin to it, and I approve. Very over the top comic book villain. Ugly, but purposefully so.

  • avatar
    sixspeed

    jmo: I have to say, that is a hot looking car. – Yeah, too bad it doesn’t run on Petrol.

    Someone should tell this guys that the Dot Com Bubble has burst a long time ago. Seriously, it has…

  • avatar
    fiskerauto

    The plug-in technology in the Fisker Karma, and other alternatively-fueled vehicles, has not yet been developed for mass production. This is why costs are high right now. However, market studies show sales of PHEV technology will catch on, and when they do development — and ultimately product — costs will come down quickly and dramatically. Remember when flat screen TVs cost $10,000 or more? If those who could afford that technology then didn’t support it, we wouldn’t have $600 flat screens today. Same for cell phones, computers and even refrigerators. It’s important to note, too that these are conditional loans dependent on our meeting certain milestones, and we will be creating or saving at least 5000 jobs. Fisker didn’t just get a half-billion dollar check — we have to earn it.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    fiskerauto:
    However, market studies show sales of PHEV technology will catch on, and when they do development — and ultimately product — costs will come down quickly and dramatically.

    Toyota can read market studies, too. When Toyota thinks PHEV cars will “catch on” in the US, I’ll believe it.

    I just don’t see batteries powerful enough for mass market use. The technologies you site may allow for replacement of the transmission and valve train with electric motor and electric switching components. However, POWER will still have to come from an internal combustion engine.

    It’s important to note, too that these are conditional loans dependent on our meeting certain milestones, and we will be creating or saving at least 5000 jobs.

    Interesting metric, “saved jobs”. Is there a procedure or method in GAAP to measure “saved” jobs? If you don’t layoff 5000 people (do you employ that many???) a job is “saved”?

  • avatar
    jmo

    – Yeah, too bad it doesn’t run on Petrol.

    How many miles do you drive a day? I drive 8.8.

    The average American drives less than 30 miles per day – it will work for the vast, vast majority of Americans.

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    What a difference a year makes. Last year the American car industry was public enemy number one. This year it is the most subsidized industry in history. What a disgrace.

  • avatar
    sixspeed

    @ jmo:
    How many miles do you drive a day? I drive 8.8.

    The average American drives less than 30 miles per day – it will work for the vast, vast majority of Americans.

    It really depends, because I run a business out of my home, and sometimes I don’t do any miles at all, and sometimes I need to do roundtrips that are as much as 300 miles long. I drive a 2008 Hyundai Santa GLS SUV (5 speed manual), and by driving it conservatively I achieve 28.5 MPG (miles to the gallon).

    I’ve seen a post from someone at Fisker earlier tonight, and they seem not to lake the position that most people are taking towards their product. The fact of the matter is that they are making a luxury electric vehicle, that only rich people will be able to afford. The darn thing about self made millionaires (and even those that have a net worth under a million dollars), is that they tend to be very practical people, and they watch how they spend their money. So no, they won’t buy into this. What’s left? Movie stars, actors, and entertainers, that will buy this for PR. And of course, trust fund babies who never had to work a day in their entire life for a dollar. Manufacturers like Toyota know this, and that is why they’ve come up with a product that appeals to the masses.

    At the end of the day, in any industry you look at, wetter it’s IT, Car Manufacturing, and so on, you’ll see that over a long period of time those companies survive that make a product that’s just good enough, affordable, that is functional and that the masses can afford. Elitist products like have about the same chance of survival in this economy and marketplace as a snowball in hell.

    And I’ve seen the earlier post about how this technology is supposed to become cheaper, and the comparison to LCD TVs, but that’s just utter crap. LCD is an affordable technology, and always was, and the reason why it LCDs where so expensive in the beginning was because companies that where making LCD TVs needed to turn a profit, and they weren’t popular enough yet, so not enough people where buying them. But manufacturing costs where not that high. Every company has to recover R&D costs, but this is a whole different ball game. Don’t tell me that a company that was founded in 2007 can solve our transportation needs in a couple of years… oh wait, it’s a luxury electric vehicle (a toy for rich people….) never mind then…

  • avatar

    $528m? Time to send my resume to Fisker, then!

  • avatar
    charly

    Daanii2, you forget the banking industry

    sixspeed, if rich people would buy cars only for their practicality than no BMW, Lexus or Mercedes would be bought

  • avatar
    sutski

    @fiskerauto

    Don’t do yourself down. $100k for a top of the line luxury car to me does not have a so called extra “early adoper” price tag at all, it is is a really great price, new tech or not! I would guess that by staying under $120k you have opened up a huge sector of 30 – 45 year olds looking to upgrade from 3 series bmw, 350Z, cayman etc to a more fuller sized and hopefully more enviro-orientated gadget car! Pity it’s not a “shooting-break” really as you could whack a lot more solarcells on the top!

    And the interior is even better from what I have seen. The 2 vid links sent out were great too. Please keep up the info like this coming out of Fisker!

    P.S any chance you could offer solar panel coverage on more than just the roof ? With thin film solar tech coming on strong now and certainly will be by end 2010, I would be happy with much more of a solar cell orientated exterior color scheme!

    Thanks and please keep that QTWW lot working hard !!

  • avatar
    jmo

    LCD is an affordable technology, and always was, and the reason why it LCDs where so expensive in the beginning was because companies that where making LCD TVs needed to turn a profit, and they weren’t popular enough yet, so not enough people where buying them.

    The same could be said of the Fisker. The car is expensive because it’s sold in low volume and they don’t have the economies of scale of a larger manufacturer.

    Porsche and BMW are still in business while Chrysler and GM went bankrupt. A company selling expensive products to the affluent can survive while mass market fail.

    And of course, trust fund babies who never had to work a day in their entire life for a dollar.

    Jealous much?

  • avatar
    wsn

    jmo :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Porsche and BMW are still in business while Chrysler and GM went bankrupt. A company selling expensive products to the affluent can survive while mass market fail.
    ——————————–

    That’s a very poor example. The sales of Porsche went done more than 60% and they were on the brink of insolvency (due to futures trading though) before the VW deal.

    On the other hand, Toyota can go on like this for years before they fail.

  • avatar
    jmo

    The sales of Porsche went done more than 60% and they were on the brink of insolvency

    Primarily Due to the ill fated attempted takeover of VW not the decline in sales.

    What about BMW?

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    I haven’t followed so closely but doesn’t it seem that Tesla seems more like smoke’n’mirrors while Fisker is just plugging away at creating product without all the fanfare.

    There will be early adopters, people who are willing to put out the money just for something exclusive. There will be those that buy it for the performance credentials and look alone. More than anything, I see the people who buy electric cars will likely already own a second vehicle so they won’t be so paranoid about being stuck without the use of a car.

    When the iPhone first came out, it had a price tag of something like $700 and I laughed because I thought Apple was smoking dope to try and create a cell phone. Apart from the hundreds of thousands that have sold so far, I was right!

    If any electric car company can make a go of it, they’ll be way ahead of the curve while the rest of the market tries to catch up.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Apart from the hundreds of thousands that have sold so far, I was right!

    Hah :-)- they sell 4.3 million worldwide every 3 months.

  • avatar
    sutski

    @kyle

    Yes performance look and exclusivity. Exactly what makes a good car.

    It will be my only car an I have no worries at all about it breaking down. Seriously. Even it does, so what? They will fix it. (But as long as it is something serious like the tranmission and not just the rearview mirror or door trim fallnig off!)

    As we are talking Aston levels of finish and service, I would assume a courtesy car would be provided anyway, if not, my insurance will pick it up and me up. No drama. Bring it on!

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    Hah :-)- they sell 4.3 million worldwide every 3 months.

    I was planning on saying millions but I played it conservative because I didn’t know for sure. The point is that I was dreadfully wrong and perhaps some of us will be wrong in our skepticism of electric cars.

  • avatar
    european

    @Bimmer +1

    and as for the others
    (especially Kyle S.)

    yes, sure electric cars will work and oil consumption will fall. but you all arent seeing
    the big picture: where’s the electricity gonna come from to power those cars? especially knowing
    that the North American powergrid is running close to 100% capacity. it wasnt long ago when this happened:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_Blackout_of_2003

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    That was during a heat wave when people were running the Air-Con Marathon. I suspect typical usage will be an overnight charge when electric utilization is lower.

    Regardless, it won’t ever be an issue where I live. We have so much power, we export it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manitoba_Hydro#Exports

  • avatar
    european

    thanks for the link Kyle,
    but even if your plant is exporting, someone from NA is using up that excess electricity, and in my
    original post i said “North American powergrid is running close to 100% capacity”.

    and yes i agree, ACs were being used and that helped induce the blackout, but imagine 10% of cars in NA being electric. that makes for 30million more users(cars) on the grid, and all at once (even at night)? i will say no more, make your own conclusions.

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    It’s a valid concern. I guess we’ll just have to see how it all shakes out. My feeling is that 10% of the market is going to be a long way off.

  • avatar
    sutski

    Chill dudes, you are in safe hands.

    “Obama also pledged to make major investments in infrastructure, including not just road and bridge repairs but construction of a new, national “smart grid” that “will save us money, protect our power sources from blackout or attack, and deliver clean, alternative forms of energy to every corner of our nation.”

    :)

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