What is Happening to Fisker Motors?

An innovative automotive company, Fisker Motors or Fisker Automotive, Inc creating one of the world’s first production plug-in hybrid electric cars, the Fisker Karma. Upon making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in 2008, the Karma was seen as revolutionary and the company soon started full-scale production.

However, five years later Fisker Motors stands at the crossroads, facing financial difficulties, stopping production and laying off many of their employees. What happened to this once thriving green automotive company and can it return to its glory days?

The History of Fisker Motors

Henrik Fisker co-founded Fisker Motors in 2007 with his business partner Bernhard Koehler along with Quantum Technologies. Henrik Fisker is still a very well respected name in the automotive community, helping to design many premium vehicles such as the V8 Vantage, Artega GT, BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9

With the US Department of Energy backing the new Fisker Karma to the tune of $500 million, the company set forth on creating one of the world’s first plug-in hybrid cars. Before, there had been hybrids in which the electric batteries were charged by the gasoline engine, but this version allowed owners to plug into an electrical socket to charge up the battery. The company set up their headquarters in Anaheim, California and the work began on what would be known as the Fisker Karma.

The Fisker Karma

The vehicle that was produced looked nothing like the standard hybrids that had been seen before. The Karma had all the appearances of a high performance vehicle with a long hood and a sleek aerodynamic style.

Henrik Fisker had intended to sell the Karma in late 2009 to take advantage of the unique niche this vehicle was intended to fill. However, numerous delays in production pushed back the initial release by two years. In October, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency certified the vehicle’s emissions and drive range which allowed Fisker to finally get the Karma into production.

Problems Arise

fisker_karmaThe nearly two years of delay meant that the Fisker Karma was entering a different world than what was intended. Official production of the Karma lasted less than nine months as it was stopped in mid-2012. Fisker began seeking new investors for his Karma, but there were many complicating issues.

First, the A123 Systems which supplied the batteries for the Karma went bankrupt. There were numerous complaints about the Karma which resulted in many repairs and even a recall of the model. Add to this the resignation of Henrik Fisker as CEO and the entire production facility was shut down. A planned second vehicle, the Fisker Atlantic was put on hold.

Fisker Motors Today

With Fisker Motors on the verge of bankruptcy, three quarters of its work force laid off and numerous issues still facing the company, it seems that only new investment will actually save the business. While there is a renewed interest in creating the type of vehicles similar to the Fisker Karma and Fisker Atlantic, it remains to be seen if this company can salvage what it has and regain its footing as the leader in plug-in hybrid design.