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Not So Instant Karma: Fisker Files For Bankruptcy

Fisker Automotive has officially filed for bankruptcy. It’s difficult to think of Fisker's demise without also thinking of Tesla Motors' success. Aside from issues with the vision and execution of Karma’s powertrain, and the impossible to recover from Consumer Reports debacle, Katie Fehrenbacher’s February 2012 “3 key differences between Tesla and Fisker” write up was spot on. Fisker likely went bankrupt because of the major differences she outlined in her piece almost 2 years ago:

1. Tech vs Design:   Tesla has been building next-gen electric vehicle technology since its inception in 2003… [Tesla’s] IP is extremely valuable, and puts the company in control of a lot more of the development of its cars.  Fisker is a design shop first before it’s a technology company… 

2. Stage of Development:  Tesla is about four years [(circa 2012)] older than Fisker, but it seems like EV-years are like dog years, they’re accelerated…

3. Elon Musk:  There’s not an equivalent at Fisker, or at most companies… 

A 4th difference and reason for Fisker's shortcomings maybe simplicity (or lack thereof). The Model S powertrain is easy to explain to consumers and makes sense from an engineering standpoint: Model S is all-electric, it only runs on batteries and can do so up to a distance of 300 miles before the need to recharge, you plug in to recharge. The Karma? Well watch for yourself.

Still, the Karma is beautiful and has an incredible road presence, true to Henrik Fisker's pedigree. Here’s to hoping someone salvages the Karma’s sheet metal, and maybe more. Hey Fisker, as Edison said: 

“The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Of course, Edison did not seem to have a cash flow problem and even if he did, the man held a ridiculous amount of valuable patents.

The Writer

New York