Fisker is in trouble! Tesla sued them! Why? Simple: for stealing design ideas. Last year Tesla hired Henrik Fisker, a Danish-born designer who is known for his work on high-end exotic sports cars, to do the body design for a four-seat sedan, code-named White Star.
The Tesla lawsuit contends that Mr. Fisker and his chief operating officer, Bernhard Koehler, doing business under the name Fisker Coachbuild, fraudulently agreed to take on Tesla ’s $875,000 design contract to gain access to confidential design information and trade secrets, then announced a competing vehicle. Last fall Mr. Fisker founded Fisker Automotive, which is backed by the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Both the planned Tesla sedan and Mr. Fisker’s recently announced Karma are meant to be hybrid cars using a small gas engine to power a generator that charges a battery, which in turn powers an electric motor. The design, known as a serial hybrid, is thought to greatly extend the range and efficiency of hybrid vehicles.
The Tesla lawsuit states that before doing the design work for Tesla, Mr. Fisker had no experience with hybrid technology. It says that he did substandard work for Tesla, essentially sabotaging it, and then used the revenue from the design contract to develop his company’s car.