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VL Automotive and Wanxiang put in a Low Bid for Fisker

Stick a fork in `em, because Fisker’s about as cooked as it can get. As much as it saddens us, we have to admit that the once promising brand is set to be sold or head into bankruptcy. So far, Fisker has two interested parties, per a report from Reuters, that are looking to buy it out.

The most aggressive team is headed up by Bob Lutz’s VL Automotive and China’s Wanxiang Group, as they reportedly put in a bid of $20 million for the spiraling company. $20 million may sound like a big number for a nearly bankrupt company, but it is a far cry from the $2.2 billion valuation given to Fisker in the spring of 2012.

Of course, no one involved in the process is confirming the report of this super-low bid, but folks close to the situation are claiming that it is true and that Fisker is considering the offer.

There is one other team that is interested in purchasing the company outright, but there aren’t any reports of them bidding. However, there are reports that a third investment group is interested in buying out DOE’s $171 million interest in the company, which came as a result of the loan Fisker received in its infancy that was later frozen.

This is all we have for now, but we’ll keep an eye out for more reports as time goes on.

Click past the jump to read more about VL Automotive’s interest in Fisker

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Fisker Website Down as Congressional Hearings Take Place

In the past few months, things have gone from bad to worse for Fisker.It all started to come to a boil when its lithium-ion battery supplier, A123 Systems announced its bankruptcy and came to a head with Henrik Fisker’s decision to step down.

But things are continuing to spiral out of control for the company. Back in 2009, Fisker received a $529 million loan – only $193 million of it was actually given to Fisker – and the lack of sales mixed with abundance of troubles with the Karma have drained the company’s coffers, making the possibility of it paying that loan very slim. In fact, it was found that for each Karma sold, the company lost a total of $560k.

Today, the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform committee are meeting to examine that huge loan received by Fisker, and Henrik Fisker will be there to testify for the failing company. That is not the real news here, as what’s really odd is that Fisker has taken its commercial and press sites off line in anticipation of the hearing. We are wondering what the site has to do with the hearings, but this is definitely not a positive sign. So, stay tuned for more details.

Hit the jump fore more details on Fisker Karma.

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Fisker Suing Over Denied Insurance Claim for Sandy-Damaged Vehicles

Few car companies can’t wait for 2012 to end more than Fisker, as it combated quality issues, loan freezing and supplier bankruptcy throughout the year. Well, it looks like drama is going to follow the electric-car company into the New Year, unfortunately. As we already know, 338 Karmas were damaged during hurricane Sandy and some 16 units actually caught fire – not related to any faults by Fisker – and an insurance claim was submitted.

Apparently, the insurance company decided to void the claim after reviewing the claim. According to the report from Reuters, the issue becomes whether the damaged Karmas were “in transit” when they were damaged. In the case of “in transit” vehicles, sublimits beyond the $100 million limit on the insurance policy would apply.

In response to the denial, Fisker has filed a lawsuit against the company in an effort to get a court order for the insurance company – XL Insurance America – to pay the claim and for damages caused by the breach of contract. Hopefully Fisker can sort this out and get itself on track, as we were extremely impressed by the Karma on our test drive and we would hate to see any more hiccups in the vehicle’s production.

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Does Obama's Re-Election Spell the End of the Gasoline-Powered Sports Car?

Does Obama’s Re-Election Spell the End of the Gasoline-Powered Sports Car?

After nearly a year of seeing Mitt Romney and Barack Obama fling mud – maybe even a little poo – back and forth at each other, the election is finally over. Love him or hate him, Obama is in office for another four years and he has already shown that he likes to dwell in the automotive realm (see: automotive bailout, Chrysler bankruptcy, and DOE loans for EV technology).

A big one on our radar these days is the renewal of the CAFÉ standards – yes, it was a renewal; the CAFÉ standards are nothing new – and their direct impact on the sport car realm. By the year 2025, all automakers must have a corporate average fuel economy rating of at least 54.5 mpg, a number that sports cars often drag down.

There is a good possibility that one of three things will happen due to these standards. First, is the chance that automakers install more advance turbocharging technologies on vehicles in order to keep their power output high and fuel economy high too. With those technologies come rising price tags – something we are already experiencing today. The second – most unlikely – scenario is the complete elimination of all powerful sports cars, leaving behind just the likes of the underpowered-for-a-true-sports-car Scion FR-S-like vehicles. The third scenario is one that would satisfy our itch for fast cars and the EPA’s itch for eco-friendly cars, and that is the widespread development of super powerful electric, hydrogen fuel cell or natural gas sports cars.

The latter situation is one that we already know is possible. Have a look as the Tesla Model S and you’ll see a car that can travel 300 miles on a charge and still zip to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. And that is a rather large sedan, so imagine it as a sports car. Same goes for the mid-5-second sprint to 60 mph that the 5,000-pound Fisker Karma completes. The final example is the Maxximus LNG 2000 and its 1,600-horsepower natural-gas-powered engine.

We think that this renewal of Obama’s stay at the White House won’t necessarily bring about the conversion to alternative fuel sports cars in the next four years, but it will certainly accelerate the process significantly. We honestly think it is a thing to look forward too, not be afraid of. Just think, no more gas station trips!!

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Fisker's Battery Supplier, A123, Files Bankruptcy and Sells off Assets

Fisker’s Battery Supplier, A123, Files Bankruptcy and Sells off Assets

A123 has been put through the ringer in recent history, most notably with its massive battery recall, and now it is just about belly up. Things were starting to look up for the battery make when it announced that a $450 million deal had been reached with Wanxiang Group Corp, but that deal recently fell through.

Now the inevitable is upon A123, as news came across the board that A123 had filed for bankruptcy protection, despite having received a $249 million government grant. With this bankruptcy filing also comes the likely liquidation of its assets. It appears as if A123 has already gotten a head start on this liquidation by negotiating to sell off its automotive business to Johnson Controls – well-known for building nearly every lead-acid and gel battery sold.

The deal is not yet done, but it is reportedly for the sum of $125 million and will include the Fisker, GM, and BMW contracts that A123 has already inked. Part of the proposed deal includes Johnson Controls fronting A123 $72.5 million in “debtor possession” funds to keep the bankrupt company running while the sale is being completed. There is no timetable for the completion of the deal, but per the press release, things will continue as usual for A123 during the entire sale process.

All we can hope for is a full turnaround once this technology gets in the hands of Johnson Controls, as the fate of the EV realm rests heavily on the technologies developed by A123. This could possibly be part of the reason that Fisker wasn’t shy about announcing that the upcoming Atlantic was delayed. We’ll also keep an eye on the Chevy Spark EV project to see if that is put on hold until this situation is resolved.

We’ll keep you updated.

Click past the jump to read A123’s press release.

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Despite Being Dubbed a "Loser" by Mitt Romney, Tesla Expects to Show Positive Cash Flow Next Month

So, for anyone that watched the Debate last night – I did and I am suffering today thanks to the late evening – you saw presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, hit our sector a few times. One time, he took a direct swipe at two alternative-energy car companies in one statement. If you missed the statement, here it is:

"Now, I like green energy as well, but that’s about 50 years’ worth of what oil and gas receives," Romney said during the first of three Presidential debates. "You put $90 billion — like 50 years’ worth of breaks — into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said, you don’t just pick the winners and losers; you pick the losers."

Now, we’re not here to debate politics, but to call Tesla and Fisker “losers” is not quite fair. As a matter of fact, Tesla announced on Wednesday – the same day that Romney labeled it a “Loser” – that despite its struggles meeting delivery goals, which are due to supplier issues, it will become “cash-flow positive” by next month and will hit the 500-unit mark in just a few weeks.

Hitting that black in the ledger is a huge step for an upstart company and to see Tesla hitting it this soon is impressive. Musk also announced that despite criticisms of the DOE loan to Tesla, the company has always paid the loan installments on time and has never even given a thought to postponing the payments.

We are not too sure exactly what will come of Tesla in the long run, but it is already prepping the release of its second vehicle, the Model X SUV, and there is a light at the end of the very long upstart tunnel for Musk and Tesla. We’ll keep an eye on the ledger sheet and let you know if Tesla meets this anticipated milestone on time or not.

Click past the jump to read Mr. Musk’s blogged press release.

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Fisker Seeking an Additional $150 Million in Investment Money

It’s no secret that Fisker has been walking a financial tightrope without a net, ever since the Department of Energy froze the $529 million loan to the hybrid car company. Now it appears as if they are hitting the bottom of the piggy bank, as Ray Lane, one of Fisker’s directors and managing partners, has released in an interview that they need more money to finance their next car.

According to reports, Fisker has raised an impressive $400 million in the last 12 months, but still needs an additional $150 million to help fund its next model and hit the breakeven point. This is likely not even the last of the fundraising, as Lane also alluded to the possibility of Fisker having to schmooze investors for a little more money in 2013.

After the company is no longer running at an operating loss, Lane also anticipates the company releasing an initial public offering, making Fisker a publicly traded company. If recent IPOs are any indication of the future IPO market (See: Facebook, et al) Fisker may want to rethink that plan.

We are excited to see Fisker’s next model, despite its combustion issues, but it may want to slow its roll just a little bit and focus on making the Karma a profitable venture prior to branching out, much like Tesla is doing. We guess we’ll see how this all pans out in the future, but we think Fisker’s trying to run the 400-meter hurdles before it can even walk.

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Fisker Automotive is awarded $528 Million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to build plug-in hybrid vehicles

Fisker Automotive is awarded $528 Million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to build plug-in hybrid vehicles

The California based Fisker Automotive corporation has just been granted a sizable loan from the U.S. Government that will rapidly facilitate the automaker’s full scale production of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The U.S. Department of Energy has signed off on and agreed to the terms of a conditional totaling over half a billion dollars so that Henrik Fisker’s car company can create affordable, fuel efficient hybrid electric vehicles that are made right here in the U.S.A. The $528,000,000 loan will also allow Fisker Automotive CEO, Henrik Fisker to create at least 5,000 jobs for autoworkers right here in the U.S.

If only General Motors and Chrysler had lineups as desirable as Henrik Fisker’s then perhaps the U.S. Government would have been a bit more eager to step in and help out with their financial needs. It is no doubt that fuel efficient gas electric hybrids are going to be the next generation of personal transportation and it is confidence inspiring that there is an automaker who not only believes in the future, but also believes that we don’t have to sacrifice fun in order to save fuel.

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