Fisker CEO Has Plans for Smaller Electric Car in 2010

By dancurranjr On May 20th, 2009

fiskerPontiac will be at the center of the action, according to the head of Fisker Automotive, as he plots the company’s strategy for moving into the less-expensive end of the vehicle market.

Henrik Fisker, founder and chief executive officer of Fisker Automotive, said that now is “the most dramatic change in the history of cars. It’s the first time in 30 or 40 years where new start-up car companies have a real chance. They really haven’t had any chance in the last 30 or 40 years because they would just come up with another gasoline-powered car and nobody needs that.”

Fisker is preparing to launch a new plug-in hybrid early in 2010.

“What you’re seeing now is these start-up companies like Fisker Automotive — we have the technology — that we’re actually more experienced than the big car companies,” Fisker said, whose new automotive company is based in Irvine, Calif. Fisker established a technical center in Pontiac last fall.

“You can compare that to guys that started Google, or Apple with iPhone. You have these things happening when you have a dramatic new technology. You find people are willing to try new technology or even a new design,” Fisker said.

Fisker has already lined up dealers to sell the four-door Fisker Karma in early 2010, but he has more ambitious plans — including a lower-priced vehicle that uses the same plug-in hybrid technology.

“We’re first doing the four-door and then we’re doing the convertible and then we’re planning some third derivative off the Karma platform. Then we’re planning a high-volume vehicle for a lower price. We’ve applied for a Department of Energy grant. If that loan comes through, we’ll have this vehicle on the road in 29 months,” he said.

“We’re setting up to do all the interface with all our suppliers (in Pontiac) and we’re gearing it up to start work on the next project, which will be a much higher-volume car and will have different construction than the Karma. We will use our learnings on how to integrate the technology.”

Last month, Fisker Automotive received an additional $85 million in venture capital funding for the development and manufacturing of its plug-in hybrid automobiles. That represented the largest injection of capital into Fisker since its founding in August 2007.

The investment by Eco-Drive and Kleiner Perkins, one of Silicon Valley’s leading venture capital firms, “validates our vision of joining together the advances in technology for plug-in hybrid powertrains with the eco-chic beauty and eco-conscious comfort of the Fisker Karma,” Fisker said.

The Fisker plug-in hybrid has been honored in the Conde Nast Traveler Innovation and Design Awards 2009. The award celebrates excellence in 10 categories — from sustainability to transport. Online voters selected the Karma over 15 other category entrants, including the Honda FCX Clarity and Nissan Cube.

SOURCE: Oakland Press

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