The article was contributed by servicingstop.co.uk – a car servicing company based in the UK with over 1,000 garages.
Fisker started out back in 2007 with great expectations. They are a unique company, offering vehicles that resembled Ferraris and Lamborghinis. What is the difference? Fisker builds plug-in hybrids. Celebrities are very interested in the stylish “green” rides, with Aston Kutcher, Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber being three of the highest profile buyers.
How it started
Based in Anaheim California, the company was started by Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler. Henrik was a former designer for BMW and Aston Martin. He designed some of their most iconic cars, including the Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9. That gives reason as to why the Fisker Karma had a superb design. It won several awards and received a great deal of praise.
The United States Government was a huge supporter of Fisker. They saw a company that was willing to reduce emissions and offer great fuel economy within sporty vehicles. Fisker managed to secure approximately £130 million in Government loans. On top of that they also received around £800 million from investors. Clearly they had all the backing they needed to become a success.
The Government originally handed £345,000,000 for a new model named the Atlantic. Further Government funding was halted as Fisker did not reach certain previous agreements. Production never started.
Too much too soon?
Why has Fisker fallen off the rails? Perhaps the Fisker Karma was before it’s time. Everyone would love a hybrid sports car. The only problem is that it could argued that the cost of purchasing one was slightly unreasonable. The amount of funding that was needed to research and develop such a vehicle was eventually passed on down to the price tag.
Fisker was one of the pioneers of plug-in electric hybrid technology. They are now seeking to sell off such technology in the form of intellectual property rights.
Although Henrik Fisker founded the company, he quit his own company after a dispute with management. That goes to show just how dysfunctional Fisker was actually run. He mentioned how proud he was to be in charge when the first ever hybrid plug-in was released.
A few positives for Fisker
In some ways Fisker has been a slight success, selling 2,000 models since the first was released into a showroom. To see such high profile celebrities driving around in Fiskers shows that company was clearly doing something right. They shot to the top as one of the world’s leading luxury car makers alongside the likes of Mercedes Benz.
Facing a crisis
After such great potential, Fisker cut down 75% of it’s workforce in 2013. They are now facing bankruptcy and are desperately seeking financial help. Their downfall could be blamed on poor initial steps. When the Karma was first released, there was a great deal of problems. 239 models were recalled back in late December 2011. They hit supplier problems later on, which meant production had to be halted.
Fisker got so bad at one point that Mitt Romney, President Obama’s rival in the elections was using the company as a punching bag. He said that President Obama had made a bad decision in helping to fund the company.
Where can Fisker go from here?
So what now for Fisker? They are seeking for investors to keep the operation going. If everything goes according to plan, they hope to release a new model in late 2014 or even 2015. This model will be a cheaper alternative to the Karma and smaller too. A vehicle like that will be suitable for a wider area of the market and will guarantee more sales.
Fisker’s operations were unconventional compared to those of major automotive companies. The structure was slightly different, given that they did not have the same type of infrastructure as the major companies. Work was outsourced and contracted out as a result. Many claim this did not help matters.
Guest post by: Eric Muhanji
Petrol and diesel-powered cars ruled the previous century. However, electric cars are entering new markets every year because of their low fuel (electricity) costs and relatively low maintenance costs compared to gasoline-powered cars. Also, these cars are environment friendly and are famously coined as ‘green cars.’ Electric cars are being produced all around the world today due to increasing gasoline costs and also environmental issues. Most customers purchase these cars for their lower handling costs and also the ‘zero emission’ factor.
Most electric cars are serviced by authorized service centers recommended by the dealers from whom you buy the car. These cars do not contain combustion engines and operate with the help of batteries and an electric motor. Let us try to understand more about what kind of service and maintenance is required for electric cars.
Service and Maintenance
Electric cars contain less parts than gasoline-driven cars. Therefore, the maintenance costs of these cars are significantly lower. The batteries of electric cars last for approximately 100,000 miles. This is the only big maintenance issue. Other than this, there are no major problems with electric cars that require a lot of extra spending.
Electric cars contain an electric motor that drives the car with some six to seven more parts that help rotate the tires. Estimates suggest that maintaining an electric car can cost one-third the amount it takes to maintain a normal gasoline-driven car.
The batteries are the most expensive parts in an electric car. Batteries lose their ability to hold a charge over time. This is true for all kinds of batteries. After some 100,000 miles, you may need to change your batteries. These can get so expensive sometimes that buying a new electric car would seem a better option. However, most manufacturers offer warranties on batteries.
The motor brushes in an electric car wear out over time due to constant friction. These brushes may need replacement after nearly fifty to sixty thousand miles. It is also good to carry out periodic checks to make sure the electric components and minor parts are all fine.
The maintenance of electric cars compared to other types of cars is significantly lower due to the fact that these cars do not contain complex engines with parts like pistons or valves.
It is wise to have a proper understanding and knowledge of electric cars before purchasing one. Make sure to ask the dealer in detail about things that need regular checks in these kind of cars. Also, inquire about servicing options and requirements. Electric car servicing definitely requires less money than a gas-powered car. Finding a good auto mechanic who can help you with repairs of your electric car can take some time. However, mechanisms of electric cars are very simple and relatively easy to understand. This is the reason most mechanics can handle repairs of these cars with relative ease.
Batman music is an appropriate theme for something I could imagine in Bruce Wayne’s, you know, bat-garage.
Spanish industrial design firm Applus Idiada has formally presented a new electric race car concept called the Volar-e.
The Volar-e is one of the most powerful electric cars ever built and was showcased for the first time at a special event at the Circuit de Catalunya just outside of Barcelona, Spain, earlier today.
Its makers claim the car delivers a combined output of 1,000 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque, from a total of four electric motors powered by a lithium-ion battery.
The battery, which is made up of 10 individual cells, has its own rating of 38 kilowatt-hours and is said to take between 15 and 20 minutes to charge using a special fast-charging system. To help maintain charge, a regenerative system also features, helping to top up the batteries during breaking.
The technology behind the Volar-e was developed by Applus Idiada in collaboration with another firm specializing in high-performance electrics, Croatia’s Rimac Automobili, which recently unveiled its own 1,088-horsepower electric car.
Applus Idiada says the Volar-e will accelerate to 62 mph from rest in just 3.4 seconds and reach a governed top speed of 186 mph. Perhaps not surprisingly, the company hasn’t mentioned any range, as driving electric cars in race conditions is a sure way to deplete the batteries in a matter of minutes.
What may come as a surprise, however, is that the project received 50 percent of its funding from the European Commission, which says the aim of the project is to address the concerns of consumers who may be reluctant to purchase an electric car, such as limited driving range and long charging times.
The range of this vehicle is really going to be a determinant of whether the VOLAR-e can concept technology can be transferred to commercial use. It doesn’t really matter how fast an electric vehicle can charge and accelerate if it can only do one loop around the track before losing power. The design is beautiful, however the color scheme is definitely meant for a track car. Compare this to other super electric concept cars like the Eliica, the Ultimate Aero GT, and Venturi Volage.
BMW is finally entering the electric vehicle market with their i series after clinging to absolute confidence in clean diesel technology for years. The most promising prospect of the their concept stable is probably the BMW i3 Concept Coupe: a highway capable, two-door hatchback with a subtle futuristic style and hints of the traditional BMW heritage. The Coupe appears much closer to production design than the “Megacity Vehicle” i3 and the supercar BMW i8 seen below:
The i3 Coupe is a happy medium between the outrageously designed super hybrid i8 that is predicted to accelerate from 0-60 in less than 5 seconds, and the neighborhood electric vehicle i3, according to the specs.
The BMW i3 Coupe can drive 80 to 100 miles before requiring charging. Through optional DC fast charging, the battery can be replenished to 80% charge within less than 30 minutes. The coupe will also feature ConnectDrive, which includes a navigational panel that indicates most efficient routes, the locations of charging stations, and a remote app for your smartphone. The i3 Coupe sports a hefty 170 hp engine, which is a lot for its lightweight frame and instant max torque at the rear wheels. So it looks like BMW will maintain some of its sporting heritage with this coupe, even if it does look a lot like BMW inspired Leaf. BMW anticipates the price to be at least $40,000 before tax credits. It will be a gamble to see if BMW fans and electric car lovers will embrace a BMW at that price without the finely tuned machismo growl
Cambodia has unveiled a pretty cool looking little EV with scissor doors. But with a top speed of 60 Km/hour (37 mph), it’s no Lamborghini Murciélago. The Angkor EV probably has a little pep accelerating to that top speed, but obviously there is no 0-60 time yet. The manufacturer claims the two-door can travel 300 km or 186 miles between charges, which is really not bad for a cheap little e-car. At a price point of $10,000, it might be a solid economic choice for those that only do urban driving. But I must say, the doors are kind of funny way to pimp this affordable, eco-ride.
Cambodia’s Heng Development Company has branded the EV the Angkor, after the Angkor Wat Hindu temple, and powerful Civilization world wonder if you are into Sid Meier’s strategy games. Below is a peek into Cambodian English news special, where you can see the Angkor EV’s scissor doors in action, while driving, oddly. Does anybody remember “ghost riding the whip?”
It seems like Tesla comes out with a new all-electric model every week these days, with the first Model S vehicles hitting the streets last year, and now the introduction of their new Model X SUV.
The Tesla Model X is built on the Tesla Model S platform, which means the basic drivetrain is the same, with the battery, controller, and motor sitting in the same position. The basic Model X is rear wheel drive like the S, however, you now have the option to upgrade to front and rear wheel drive. Pictured below is the drivetrain for the optional all-wheel drive model.
The second front mounted motor enables all-weather, all-road capabilities, increases torque by 50%, and horsepower bumps from 362 to 410. When outfitted with AWD, the Model X Performance accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds, outperforming the fastest SUVs and many sports cars. The low profile drivetrain also allows for a “frunk,” or a trunk in the front, as well as plenty of passenger and cargo space.
The interior focuses your attention on a giant touchscreen unit in the center console. Critics say it is less responsive than your cutting edge tablet computer, but definitely navigable. It does make you wonder, when is big a little too big. Looks somewhat obnoxious to me.
Tesla claimed last year they would make the base model available for around $30,000 within 5 years, competitive with current not-even-luxury SUVs. This seems hardly believable right now. If you want to be an early adopter, you’ll pay maybe twice that. You can make your reservation on their website for a mere $5k, which shoots up to $40k for the rare Signature Model. The concept however, truly is revolutionary. An SUV with the acceleration of a supercar, the cargo space of a minivan, and hopefully at the price of a BMW X3 or X5 will surely find a market with dual income families with who want to one up the neighbors.