At least one of the highly touted alternative car start-ups is expanding in the face of an economic meltdown.
Fisker Automotive yesterday announced (PDF) the opening of a 34,000 square foot Engineering and Development Center in Pontiac, Michigan, that will house up to 200 engineers and designers in support of Fisker’s much anticipated plug-in hybrid car, the four-door Fisker Karma.Amid news of Tesla Motors’ (the other much-ballyhooed electric car start-up) recent “shrinkage,” Fisker seems to be flaunting its success. As the press release makes sure to point out, “The opening of [their new] facility comes on the heels of Fisker Automotive’s recent announcement that it prevailed in a lawsuit brought against the company by Tesla Motors.”
The bad blood between Tesla and Fisker goes back a ways. In April, Tesla sued Fisker Automotive claiming that Henrik Fisker took on an $875,000 design contract with Tesla in order to access confidential design information. Less than a year after his contract ended, Fisker launched his own company and announced the Karma. In June, Fisker won the suit in binding arbitration.
So it seems that, for now, Fisker is on a roll, while Tesla is starting to lose its steam. Last September, Fisker announced that they had raised $65 million dollars in a large round of funding while, just a month later, Tesla was forced to lay off employees and scale back operations due to inadequate funding.
Fisker is set to release the Karma at the end of next year. Allegedly, the Karma has a 50 mile all-electric range and more than 350 miles of total range. Fisker claims that the Karma “will have the potential for a fuel economy of over 100 miles per gallon on extended drives.” The car is expected to cost around $80,000 — which is $29,000 less than Tesla’s Roadster — and Fisker plans on selling 15,000 of them annually by 2011.
Source and Image Credit: Fisker Automotive