Tesla Motors Sues Fisker Automotive Over Electric Car Design

Tesla, Fisker, Roadster, Karma, cars, EVs, electric vehicle

As reported by the New York Times yesterday, the two leading manufacturers of electric cars in the US are involved in a serious quarrel over alleged theft of vehicle design and trade secrets.

Tesla Motors, who recently began production of their electric Roadster, claims that Henrik Fisker took on an $875,000 design contract with Tesla in order to access confidential design information. After producing “inferior work,” Fisker launched his own company, Fisker Automotive, and released an $80,000 competing vehicle—the Fisker Karma—less than a year later.

“I think it’s ironic that Fisker chose to name his car the Karma, when what he’s done is very bad karma,” said Adam C. Belsky, a lawyer at Gross, Belsky & Alonso who represents Tesla.

Tesla is hoping the lawsuit will bar Fisker from using Tesla design documents, as well as return the design contract money and an unreported amount in punitive damages.

Interestingly enough, Tesla Motors is also being sued by its transmission supplier, Magna, for allegedly failing to pay them for contract work.

It sounds like a lawsuit nightmare for Tesla, who already experienced significant delays in releasing their Roadster (due to trouble with the transmission). Learn more about Tesla’s First Electric Vehicle, the 2008 Roadster, and Fisker’s Eco-Chic Karma.

For more on this story, see the New York Times article, Earth2Tech, and Autopia.

Photo Credit: Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive


In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.