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.
Fisker has never recieved quite the fanfare of Tesla, but their novel approach to green transportation should be turning some heads. After years of Fisker Karma delays, satirized by the EVCast, we might finally start seeing some of these luxury plug-in hybrids rolling around eco-chic areas in the US. Deliveries have begun in the US in late 2011, and hopefully they will pick up in 2012.
EVer stands for “electric vehicle extended range,” meaning the vehicle can drive completely electric until it runs out of juice and needs to be recharged by the on-board gasoline powered generator. Fisker’s EVer technology uses a state-of-the-art Nanophosphate Lithium-ion Battery pack to power two electric motors at the rear wheels. The EPA rated all-electric range for the Fisker Karma at 32 mi (51 km) under the agency’s five-cycle tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls. EPA’s estimated energy consumption is 65 kWh per 100 miles. They found that a full tank of gas and battery would get about 230 miles. Fisker is still confident the vehicle will get 50 miles electric under optimal conditions. An independent German association actually found the car did indeed get 50 miles in “stealth” mode, basically the energy efficient setting.
The battery is a 22 kWh lithium ion unit supplied by A123 Technologies. When the battery get low, it is replenished by a 175 kW generator, turned by a 2.2 L gasoline engine. The solar roof is actually capable of generating a half kilowatt-hour a day, although this is naturally susceptible to be inconsistent. Some estimate the roof can provide up to 4 to 5 miles (6.4–8.0 km) of additional range a week assuming continuously sunny days.
The Fisker Karma can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds and has a top speed of 125 mph. The dual electric motors put about 1000 lbs/ft of torque at the wheels, which is instantly available at 0 RPM. The 260 HP 4-cylinder direct injection engine that spools the generator is a surprisingly powerful motor only used for electricity generation.
Charge time can be anywhere from 6-14 hours, which varies with battery’s remaining charge capacity and whether 110v, 220v or 240v current is used.
- The Karma’s wood trim is 100% sustainably sourced from Fallen, Sunken and Rescued Wood to ensure that no live growth is ever used.
- Xenon headlights are standard as well as low energy LED lights everywhere else on the vehicle.
- Seating foam is fashioned from soy-based bio fiber and the carpet backing is created from recycled post-consumer materials.
- Optional leather is sourced form a closed loop manufacturing plant where 85% of the hide is humanely used.
- Water based Diamond Dust paint features a recycled glass flake mixture that utilizes 35-55% recycled glass while releasing zero volatile organic compounds into the environment. The paint also features an invisible reflective infrared layer to help cool the interior during hot weather.
As of December 2011, pricing in the U.S. starts at US$102,000 for the basic model, and US$116,000 for the high-end model.
Here is a Road&Track Review of the Fisker Karma EVer:
For more information, check out the Fisker site.
Officially Official: Fisker buys GM’s Wilmington Delaware plant
In Wilmington, Delaware this morning, Governor Jack Markell was joined by Vice President Joe Biden and Henrik Fisker for the official announcement about the purchase of General Motors’ closed plant there. Fisker will re-tool the plant to build a new, more affordable plug-in hybrid sedan to slot in below its more luxurious Karma. The goal is to have the model sell for under $40,000 after federal tax credits.
The current schedule is to have the car in production by the end of 2012 with volumes getting up to 75,000-100,000 units annually by 2014. Fisker has moved up its development schedule for what they are calling Project Nina thanks to the $528 million low cost loan it recently received courtesy of the Department of Energy. During the announcement, Fisker stated that he wants to export half of the production from the plant while creating 5,000 jobs in the U.S. (2,000 at the plant and 3,000 at suppliers). The local UAW president was also on hand, so it looks like the plant will remain unionized, which is very unusual for a startup auto plant.
Fisker is paying $18 million for the factory from Motors Liquidation which is the remainder of “Old GM” which is selling off assets from bankruptcy court. The plant most recently produced the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky, both of which ended production last spring.
Gallery: Fisker Karma
[Source: Fisker Automotive]
Fisker Automotive to Buy U.S. Assembly Plant to Build Affordable Plug-in Hybrid Cars
WILMINGTON, Del., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ — Fisker Automotive has selected the Wilmington Assembly plant in Wilmington Delaware to build affordable plug-in hybrid cars.
Fisker executives made the announcement inside the dormant facility today, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, Delaware Governor Jack Markell and other state officials.
The plant will support Fisker Automotive’s Project NINA, the development and build of an affordable, family-oriented plug-in hybrid sedan costing about $39,900 after federal tax credits.
Production is scheduled to begin in late 2012. Fisker Automotive anticipates Project NINA will ultimately create or support 2,000 factory jobs and more than 3,000 vendor and supplier jobs by 2014, as production ramps up to full capacity of 75,000-100,000 vehicles per year. More than half will be exported, the largest percentage of any domestic manufacturer.
The modernized Wilmington Assembly plant was selected for its size, production capacity, world-class paint facilities, access to shipping ports, rail lines and available skilled workforce.
“This is a major step toward establishing America as a leader of advanced vehicle technology,” said Henrik Fisker, CEO. “Wilmington is perfect for high quality, low volume production and will soon be the proud builder of world-class, fuel-efficient Fisker plug-in hybrids.”
Fisker Automotive has signed a letter of intent with Motors Liquidation Co. (MLC), formerly known as General Motors Corp. to purchase the Wilmington plant for $18 million after a routine four-month evaluation period.
An additional $175 million will be spent to refurbish and retool the factory over the next three years.
Funds will come from a conditional loan of $528.7M the Department of Energy awarded the company in September.
The loan is part of the $25B Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program (ATVM) appropriated by Congress in 2007 to help the United States lead in the development and manufacturing of advanced technology vehicles.
The company’s first car, the Fisker Karma, will be the world’s first production plug-in hybrid when it goes on sale this summer at retailers in the U.S. and Europe.
Fisker plug-in hybrid cars will help remove the country’s dependence on foreign energy by eliminating the need for 42 million barrels of oil by 2016. They will also offset 8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
“With our close-knit business, government, and educational communities and our potential to respond rapidly to new opportunities, today’s announcement is a testament to what works best in Delaware. Fisker is a perfect partner in shaping Delaware’s economic future, and we are thrilled that the vehicle that can reshape the automobile industry will be built here in Delaware, by Delaware workers.” said Governor Jack Markell (D-Delaware).
Gary Casteel, UAW director responsible for the plant, said, “It gives me great pride to give UAW Local 435 workers the opportunity to partner with Fisker Automotive to create a greener America by building a plug-in hybrid car that will compete globally.”
ABOUT FISKER AUTOMOTIVE, INC.
Fisker Automotive is a privately owned, premium American car company with a vision to lead the automotive industry into the next-generation of automobiles with high-end design expertise and eco-friendly powertrain technology. Global headquarters are in Irvine, California, USA.
The company was created in 2007 to leverage the design capabilities of Fisker Coachbuild, LLC, founded by auto design veterans Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler, and the PHEV powertrain capabilities of Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. (NASDAQ:QTWW) , a major Tier 1 supplier of clean vehicle technologies to the automotive OEMs. Previously, Fisker, CEO, was design director for Aston Martin and president and CEO of BMW’s DesignworksUSA. Koehler, COO, led operations for Ford’s Global Advanced Design Studio and created concept cars for Aston Martin, MINI and BMW.
ABOUT WILMINGTON ASSEMBLY
The Wilmington Assembly plant was built by General Motors in 1947. Over the years it has been expanded to 3.2 million square feet on 142 acres of land. It includes an on-site powerhouse and waste water treatment facility. More than 8.5 million cars have been manufactured there, including the Pontiac Streamliner, original Chevrolet Impala, 1997-1999 Chevrolet Malibu, Saturn L-Series and the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky/Opel GT roadsters. Production capacity is 300,000 cars per year. The plant and its workforce have received many awards for excellence in quality, production and safety.
The Fisker Karma made its world driving debut on August 15th, 2009 during the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races. The event was held at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, California. The Karma did one, complete, twisting lap at the raceway, hitting speeds of up to 100 MPH without using a single drop of gasoline. Here is a video of the car in action at the event. Notice the aggressive, jet turbine-like acceleration note, a fair consolation for those who will miss the growl of a V8 engine.
Fisker Karma Performance Specs:
Plug-in hybrid technology Q DRIVE: 50 miles on a full charge, then a gasoline, charge-sustaining generator kicks in to replenish battery power
Two Driving Modes: The driver will be able to select between two modes of driving. The first mode is Stealth Drive, which is the quiet economy mode for optimal relaxed and efficient driving. By flipping the second paddle behind the steering wheel, the car will switch to Sport Drive, which will access the full power of the vehicle.
0-60 in 7.5 seconds (0-100 km/h 7.5 seconds) Top speed 95 mph (153 km/h)
0-60 in 5.8 seconds (0-100 km/h 5.8 seconds) Top speed 125 mph (200 km/h)
Regenerative brakes featured to recapture braking energy
Low center of gravity provides optimal sport vehicle driving dynamics
The Fisker Karma Sunset is not only a convertible adaptation of the 2011 Fisker Karma, but will also claim the honor of being called the world’s first hybrid convertible. The Sunset will have a folding hardtop, be capable of 0-60 in 5.8 seconds and have a 125 MPH top speed, all while being a serial hybrid that you can drive 40 miles gas free. The regular Karma will retail for $87,900; expect a healthy premium for the S. Since the Sunset will be a coupe, it will only feature two larger doors and the rear seat passengers will inevitably be more cramped. Fisker’s Karma Sunset concept was already named the 2009 Production Preview Vehicle of the Year.
The Press Release:
DETROIT, MI Jan 12, 2009: Fisker Automotive, the new American manufacturer
of premium green automobiles, unveiled the Fisker Karma S concept at the 2009
North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) today. The four-seat, plug-in
hybrid hardtop convertible furthers the company’s belief that driving style and
performance need not be compromised for environmental friendliness.
The open-air Fisker Karma S concept shares its aluminum spaceframe architecture
and clean Q-DRIVE® powertrain with the Fisker Karma sedan. Designed and
engineered by Quantum Technologies exclusively for Fisker Automotive, Q-DRIVE®
provides 50 emission-free miles on a single charge to its lithium-ion battery pack,
and up to 403hp from two electric motors. The power retractable hard top, a first
for Fisker, glides neatly into the trunk and a unique design language sets the Karma S
“Our objective is to create a singular design language and heritage around our state-
of-the-art Q-DRIVE® powertrain,” said Fisker Automotive, Inc. CEO Henrik Fisker.
“The Karma S is an extension of the Fisker Automotive product range of eco-
conscious automobiles and sets the tone for our future.“
Pretty hip ad.