Fisker Automotive To Fisker Inc : The Highs And Lows - SUV VEHICLE

Fisker Automotive To Fisker Inc : The Highs And Lows

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Fisker, an American automotive brand, has a story as electrifying as its vehicles. Founded in 2007, the brand’s journey has been a rollercoaster ride – marked by both pioneering spirit and setbacks that threaten to derail its ambition. On the one hand, Fisker has been a true innovator. They were among the first to champion electric vehicles (EVs) in a time dominated by gasoline. Their early designs garnered praise for aesthetics and sustainable features. However, the path hasn’t been smooth. Financial struggles and production delays have cast a shadow over the company’s past. Unsuccessful concepts and legal troubles further complicated their initial foray into the market. Yet, Fisker survived.




However, the problems are back, and this time, more. Recent news paints a picture of a company teetering on the edge, facing renewed financial woes. Looking back, they’ve managed to surf the wave and bring a market-ready electric SUV, the Ocean, to the table, with promises of more models on the horizon (if and only if the firm survives its current issues). This is a significant feat in a market saturated with hopeful contenders, many of whom haven’t delivered a single car.

UPDATE: 2024/04/09 13:00 EST BY ANIEBIET INYANG NTUI

This article has been updated to encompass the latest developments in Fisker’s evolving story. The revision incorporates a new chapter that details the company’s current challenges, including financial difficulties, rumors of a partnership with Nissan, quality concerns, significant price reductions, delisting from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and the withdrawal of Fisker’s 2024 financial forecast.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from Fisker’s press material and other authoritative sources, including CarBuzz & HotCars.


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Fisker Started Life As A Contemporary Coachbuilder

Fisker started its days off as an upmarket coachbuilder in 2007. It created visual reinterpretations of the R230 Mercedes-Benz SL and E63 BMW 6 Series, namely the Fisker Tramonto and Latigo CS, respectively. Fisker created these at a time when coachbuilding was not a significant trend in the automotive world, making these two products relatively unknown.

Henrik Fisker partnered with Bernhard Koehler, who was the son of a renowned German industrialist and art collector who went by the same name, to form the Fisker car company in Orange County, California. Fisker launched the Tramonto as their first product, quickly followed by the Latigo CS.


Fisker planned to build 150 of these cars, each, but it only got around to making two Latigos and 13 Tramontos, primarily due to the global recession that occurred in 2008. Soon after, Tesla commissioned the firm to design the first-ever Tesla Model S, followed by the lesser-known Artega GT EV sports car.

The Fisker Tramonto Is Based On The Mercedes-Benz SL55

2006 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG profile shot
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Fisker chose the R230-generation Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG as the platform for its inaugural product. The firm states a big reason for using this as a donor car was because of the electrically retractable hardtop and Active Body Control system. The supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 engine, upgraded to deliver 610 horsepower to the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission, also served as a significant motivator. Official tests applauded the unique design, but it didn’t justify the $250,000 starting price.


Fisker Tramonto Performance Specifications

Engine

Supercharged 5.4-liter V-8

Power

610 HP @ 5,800 RPM

Torque

649 LB-FT @ 5,800 RPM

Transmission

Five-speed automatic

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

3.6 seconds

Top Speed

202 MPH

(Specifications sourced from Fisker)

Changes made to the original design include a shorter rear overhang, an elongated hood with a power dome, and more discrete bumper lines. An anodized aluminum wire mesh grille, lightweight, purpose-designed five-spoke, three-piece 20-inch wheels, and several bespoke exterior trimmings accompany these features. Fisker also made extensive revisions to the interior, including milled aluminum-finished controls, hand-stitched premium leather upholstery, and a new analog clock for the dashboard.


The Fisker Latigo CS Redefines The BMW 6 Series

The Latigo CS was a less intense option compared to the Tramonto, as it sourced its platform from the BMW 645 Ci. The firm initially planned to base it on the 650 Ci, with the option of upgrading to the V-10 M6 platform, but financial constraints prohibited this. The Latigo, like the Tramonto, received bespoke aluminum and carbon exterior trimmings, a set of lightweight 10-spoke three-piece aluminum 20-inch wheels, and stainless steel exhaust tailpipes.

Fisker Latigo Performance Specifications

Engine

4.8-liter V-8

Power

360 HP @ 6,300 RPM

Torque

359 LB-FT @ 6,300 RPM

Transmission

Six-speed manual

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

5.4 seconds

Top Speed

150 MPH


(Specifications sourced from Fisker)

Fisker also introduced refined aluminum trimmings and controls to the interior, along with some polished carbon fiber surfaces, and premium leather upholstery sourced from Distinctive Industries, which is a renowned importer in the field. The sunroof cover features an Alcantara finish, complemented by a hand-stitched leather headliner. The Latigo retains most of the 6 Series’s interior fittings, including the Logic 7 premium audio system and BMW iDrive infotainment system.

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The Karma Was Fisker’s First Electric Car


The Fisker Karma first broke cover in 2008 in prototype guise with the promise of being the first ever electrified luxury performance car to hit the global market. Fisker said it would launch the model with an $80,000 starting price and a 15,000-unit production run. Quantum Technologies developed the Q Drive hybrid powertrain, which includes a Ford Ecotec turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. This powertrain pairs with a duo of electric motors that draw energy from a compact 20.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The Karma is a series hybrid PHEV, meaning the ICE sends power to the battery pack, rather than directly to the wheels.

Initial claims state the car will accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 5.8 seconds and hit a top speed of 125 MPH. It also claims an all-electric range of 50 miles on a single charge, but the EPA estimated a more realistic 31-mile range. Reviews applauded the model for being a refined and luxurious creation, despite the costly price-tag. Fisker delivered an impressive 2,000 Karma units throughout the North American and European regions before the model was put to rest in 2014.


When the Karma’s prototype was first revealed, Tesla Motors filed a lawsuit against the company for stealing some of the company’s electric drive systems it had developed for the Model S. It also alleged that Fisker intentionally penned an inferior design for the Model S, and reserved its best ideas for the Karma. After the court ruled in Fisker’s favor and ordered a payout of $1,144,285 in damages, Tesla dropped the lawsuit.

The Fisker Karma was subject to several recalls throughout its production cycle. In December 2011, the first recall was issued due to a coolant leak that could lead to a fire, affecting 239 units. At that time, customers had received only 50 units, while the rest were still on dealership floors. Fisker resolved the issue by January 2012, which was quickly followed by a recall for all of its cars, due to a faulty cooling fan.


Fisker Goes Bankrupt In 2014

Fisker Latigo CS (2)

Despite its best efforts, Fisker could not sustain long-term operations and had to declare bankruptcy in 2014. Fisker’s official battery supplier, A123 Systems, went bankrupt just two years prior to this. Hendrik Fisker made the tough but logical decision to sell all the company’s assets to China’s Wanxiang conglomerate, which also acquired A123 Systems.

After significant cost-cutting endeavors, Wanxiang repurposed the company into Karma Automotive and launched the Revero EV. Karma planned to produce 3,000 units, but it only got around to making a few hundred before calling it quits yet again. However, this did mark the end for the brand, as it rose from the ashes just a few years later with the Ocean SUV under the newly revived Fisker badge. This was primarily thanks to the decision to raise money from investors and sell electric car platforms to competing manufacturers.


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Fisker Launches An EV Strategy

2024 Fisker Ocean
Fisker

After Henrik Fisker raised $50 million in Series C funding from Moore Strategic Ventures, he bought back the brand from Wanxiang, transforming Karma Automotive into Fisker Incorporated. The company was then listed on the NYSE through Spartan Energy Acquisition Corporation. Fisker spent the money on opening new technology and production centers in California and India, with the intention of building a comprehensive electric car fleet that could rival the likes of Tesla. Fisker has already begun dealership networks in China and Europe. It has also done away with CCS charging connectors in favor of NACS ports, making them compatible with Tesla’s Supercharger network by 2025.


The Fisker Ocean Is A Fresh Start

The Fisker Ocean represents the start of a new journey for the brand. The mid-size electric crossover is a much more compelling offering when compared to the Karma, and shows us just how much the niche company has learned from its troubled beginnings. The Fisker Ocean is available in Extreme, Ultra, and Sport trims, each with different drivetrains, battery capacities, and power outputs.

2024 Fisker Ocean Extreme Performance Specifications

Layout Dual-motor, all-wheel drive
Horsepower 564 HP
Torque 543 LB-FT
Electric Range 360 miles
10-80% Fast Charging Time 33 minutes
0-60mph 4.0 seconds
Top Speed 127 MPH


(Specifications sourced from Fisker)

The range starts at a competitive $38,999, and is available with premium audio systems, a solar roof, cutting-edge digital displays, and multiple comfort and convenience features. Early reviews suggest that the Ocean is an accomplished product, but there are still areas Fisker needs to refine. Fisker is set to introduce an off-road-specific Force E package, giving the SUV significantly more adventurous abilities.

Fisker Pear

Camouflaged Fisker Pear
Fisker


The Fisker Pear is a smaller crossover aimed at competing with the Tesla Model Y. Fisker plans to release this model in 2025, with a very aggressive $29,900 starting price. Fisker has not yet revealed official specifications, but it is known that the Pear will be built on a scaled-down version of the platform used for the Ocean. The range will be assembled in Ohio in collaboration with Foxconn. It is likely to adopt the same or similar trim levels as the Ocean.

Fisker Ocean Peak Key Details

  • The Fisker Pear is a smaller crossover vehicle.
  • It targets the same market segment as the Tesla Model Y.
  • Official specifications have not been released yet.
  • It uses a scaled-down version of the Ocean’s platform.
  • The production will take place in Ohio, in partnership with Foxconn.
  • Fisker has not disclosed the battery pack capacities for the Pear.

Fisker has teased range claims of 180 miles for the base battery and 320 miles for the extended range battery, as well as a 6.3-second 0-60 MPH time. Other confirmed specifications include a 180-inch length figure and two-wheel options ranging from 20 inches to 22 inches.

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Fisker’s Future Plans

Silver Fisker Ronin Super GT
Fisker

Fisker has made it clear that it wants to offer a comprehensive range of electric cars in order to solidify its position in the market as a leading electric car manufacturer. Two of its current concepts consist of the stellar Ronin performance sports car and a rugged Alaska truck. Both of these products will be niche and aspirational options to supplement the Ocean and Pear, but the Alaska has more mass market appeal, considering how popular electric trucks have become.

Naturally, there are a lot of people who are still skeptical about Fisker’s possibility of becoming an established manufacturer, but after years of struggles and lessons, we could be seeing the brand officially find its footing and transform itself into a respectable household name, alongside the likes of Tesla.


The Fisker Ronin Produces 1,000 Horsepower

Fisker will only produce 999 Ronin units, which are set to hit the production line by the middle of 2025. The performance roadster features three electric motors that generate 1,000 horsepower to all four wheels, granting it a 2.0-second 0-60 MPH time and a 170 MPH top speed. Pricing starts at a hefty $385,000, but given the exclusivity and performance claims, that’s a fair price to ask.

2026 Fisker Ronin Specifications

Motor Triple motor, all-wheel-drive
Horsepower 1,000 HP
Top Speed 170 MPH
0-60 mph 2.0 seconds
Range 600 miles
MSRP $385,000

(Specifications sourced from Fisker)


The Ronin adopts a unique four-door body design that doesn’t compromise overall rigidity. Rear carriage doors, as used on the Mazda RX-8, are the primary reason for this. It also features a carbon fiber hardtop folding roof, making it the first electric car of its kind. The battery pack details for the Ronin are not known, but Fisker confirms a range claim of 600 miles.

The Fisker Alaska Is Built To Climb

Fisker Alaska
Fisker/YouTube

The Alaska full-size electric truck was a surprise to many when it was revealed at the brand’s event in California. Pricing for this model starts at a competitive $45,400 for the base 75 kWh trim. A larger 113 kWh battery pack will be available via more premium trims. Fisker claims a 230-mile range and 7.2-second 0-60 MPH acceleration time for the base trim. The flagship will cover 340 miles and reach 60 MPH from a standstill in 3.9 seconds.


Fisker Alaska Performance Specifications

Motor

Single motor, rear-wheel drive

Horsepower

TBC

Top Speed

TBC

0-60 mph

7.2 seconds

Range

240 miles

MSRP

$45,400

(Specifications sourced from Fisker)

Some bizarre but intriguing features consist of a big gulp cup holder and a cowboy hat holder. Storage compartments for work gloves and a large center armrest, capable of holding flashlights and pens, accompany these features. You can also use the passenger tray to hold a tablet or other digital devices. Wheel sizes range from 20- to 22-inches and deliveries will commence in the first quarter of 2025.


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Fisker Is On The Brink

2024 Fisker Ocean
Fisker

Fisker finds itself precariously perched on the edge of financial ruin, again. A confluence of unfortunate events has unfolded in 2024, casting a dark shadow over the company’s future. Once brimming with optimism and a healthy backlog of customer reservations, Fisker now faces a multitude of challenges that threaten to derail its dreams.

Fisker is grappling with a severe cash flow crunch. Production delays, logistical nightmares, and a failed partnership with a major automaker have exacerbated the problem. The company has been forced to make drastic measures, resorting to a price slash of a whopping $24,000 on the Ocean in a desperate attempt to drum up sales and generate much-needed revenue.


Earlier reports hinted at a potential deal with a major carmaker, said to be Nissan, that could have provided a lifeline for Fisker. This collaboration would have helped Fisker reduce production costs for its Alaska pickup truck and transition from a startup to a full-fledged car manufacturer.

However, talks between the two companies fell through. Sources close to the matter revealed that Nissan is currently undergoing internal restructuring and is prioritizing its own supply chain and manufacturing efficiency in the face of rising competition, particularly from affordable Chinese EVs. Nissan ultimately decided to partner with Honda instead.

Quality Issues Plague Fisker As Reservations Plummet

2023 Fisker Ocean
Fisker 


The Fisker EV brand has also been marred by quality control issues. Early customer experiences haven’t been ideal, with reports surfacing about software glitches, malfunctioning key fobs, and even instances of doors refusing to open. These problems have triggered investigations by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), further denting consumer confidence in the brand. A shaky start with quality is particularly detrimental in the competitive electric vehicle market, where reliability and cutting-edge technology are paramount.

Reservations for the Fisker Ocean SUV, initially robust at around 70,000 since 2019, have experienced a mass exodus. Reports suggest a staggering cancelation rate, with over half (around 40,000) reservations vanishing into thin air. The production of the Ocean SUV has even been halted all together. This translates to millions of dollars in potential revenue evaporating, and it gets worse financially, Fisker may be forced to refund pre-order fees as per the terms and conditions of the reservations.


Fisker Faces Bankruptcy

Fisker Ocean
Fisker

With dwindling cash reserves and a failed attempt to secure funding from a major automaker, bankruptcy seems like a stark possibility for Fisker. The company has withdrawn its 2024 financial forecast, a worrying sign for investors. Adding to the company’s woes, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has delisted Fisker’s stock due to its plummeting value.

Furthermore, Edmunds, a car testing publication, reported an alarming depreciation rate for the Ocean. Their test vehicle lost a staggering 69-percent of its value in just two months. The company’s future remains highly uncertain. Without a significant cash injection, a drastic turnaround in sales, or a successful strategic pivot, Fisker might join its predecessor, Fisker Automotive, in the graveyard of failed automotive ventures. The coming months or even weeks will be critical for Fisker.


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