While Part I of the Fisker Karma story introduced the car and its tech, and Part II reviewed the interesting combination of features and design mandates which accompanied the advanced tech, Part III is the one you’ve really been waiting for.
It’s all flames, floods, and failures.
To my recollection, we’ve only had one EV-type vehicle thus far in the Rare Rides series, and it was Toyota’s ill-fated and corporately sabotaged RAV4 EV. That changes today, with another plug-in vehicle that crashed and burned.
Today’s Rare Rides is the first installment in a three-part trilogy of the life and times of the Fisker Karma.
Henrik Fisker, chairman and CEO Fisker, Inc., surprised many earlier this month when he revealed his fledgling company plans to produce a new car bearing his name. Some critics who remembered the ill-fated Fisker Karma scoffed.
Well, the Danish businessman is attempting to close the doors on murmurings of overblown hype by showing off a different set of doors. Naturally, he did so in a befitting venue for shadowy electric car executives — Twitter.
Just a few short moments ago, I was converted.
No, not by electric drivetrains or other alternative sources of transportation fairy dust.
I was converted by the four men in charge of the Fisker Karma’s resurrection — now called the Karma Revero — into believing the company’s viability as a future going concern.
It’s been a long wait since Henrik Fisker’s brainchild floated — bloated and belly-first — to the surface of the automotive pool, but we’re told a new plug-in hybrid statusmobile is on the way. That means new jobs coming to the Detroit area for as long as Henrik can keep the money rolling.
Last week, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation pledged $450,000 in funding so that Karma Automotive LLC — formerly Fisker Automotive — can build an engineering and purchasing building in Troy. The city plans to offer additional funds to see the $3.6 million project get off the ground, where the reborn company plans to employ up to 150 people.
The Fisker Karma’s battery pack and drivetrain, supplied by Quantum Technologies
The Department of Energy today is auctioning off the paper for the $192 million it loaned to Fisker Automotive as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program. An obvious question is why would anyone want to buy that debt? Many of the press reports about the sale say that by purchasing the debt, a buyer could ultimately gain control of Fisker’s assets including intellectual property, like the extended range hybrid drivetrain and controls thereof. While Fisker may indeed have assets with some value, I’m not sure that anyone’s going to spend at least $30 million, the minimum bid required by the DoE, to be able to duplicate the Fisker Karma’s drivetrain.
The United States Department of Energy will today auction off Fisker Automotive’s loan from the federal government, on which the moribund hybrid car startup defaulted. Last month the department said that it would hold the auction after “exhausting any realistic possibility” that it could recoup all of the $168 million still that Fisker still owes.
Congressional Republicans blasted current and former Fisker executives, as well as an official from the Department of Energy over missed milestones for their Department of Energy loans, which saw the company repeatedly fail to meet obligations while continuing to receive taxpayer money.
PrivCo, a private corporate intelligence firm, has published a 20+ page dossier on Fisker’s seemingly strong ability to fundraise for itself, while failing to do a good job of actually creating cars. With Fisker teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, the results are staggering; with just under 2000 units sold, Fisker burned through an estimated $1.3 billion in venture capital, taxpayer-funded loans and private investor funds.
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