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Report: Fisker Automotive Sold To Hong Kong Billionaire Richard Li 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the return-on-investment dept.
cartechboy writes "It looks like an investor group led by Hong Kong tycoon (and early Fisker investor) Richard Li is the likely winner of a government loan owed by Fisker Automotive, the dormant maker of plug-in hybrid sports cars. Buying the loan would allow Li to try and restructure the company even as it's still at risk for bankruptcy. The originally company won a $529 million government loan in 2009, took venture capital investment, and created a lot of buzz around its flagship car, the $100,000 Karma plug-in hybrid. But the company had delays launching the car, struggled financially and has not built any cars since July of 2012. Is Li the new savior?"
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Report: Fisker Automotive Sold To Hong Kong Billionaire Richard Li

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 18, 2013 @12:03PM (#45165707)

    Getting a bit damp, huh? That sounds bad! Let's read.

    "Sixteen Karmas and one Toyota Prius plug-in caught fire separately while parked in the port terminal in Newark after being completely submerged under saltwater as a result of the storm. These were a small fraction of the 330 total Karmas parked in the port, to say nothing of the more than 2,000 Prius plug-ins, but it was still only plug-in vehicles which caught fire."

    Liar.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 18, 2013 @12:16PM (#45165855)

    Exactly. A Ferrari 458 will only burst into flames [bbc.co.uk] when it's warm and dry, because they used flammable adhesives.

  • by AaronW (33736) on Friday October 18, 2013 @04:50PM (#45169581) Homepage

    I have some familiarity with Fisker since my father bought a Karma. When I went to test drive it the car was in some weird mode the dealer couldn't get it out of and the entire time it went "bong bong bong" while driving. While the car handled nicely it felt heavy (it weighs 5300lbs). Acceleration was OK, not great. The interior of the car was small. Despite being such a large car it is labeled as a subcompact. The battery pack running down the center of the car takes up a huge amount of space.

    As for being eco-friendly the car gets 21MPG on premium gasoline and is rated at 50MPG equivalent on electricity, basically no better than a Prius on electricity and far worse on gasoline.

    The touch screen on the car is an unusable piece of crap, unfortunately you are forced to use it for just about everything. Whoever designed it designed it to look cool but not to be useable in a car. The colorscheme is grey on grey and it is hard to see during the day. If the sun hits it you can't see it at all. Also if you wear polarized sunglasses you can't see the display.

    The touch panel has "haptic feedback", unfortunately you can't feel it while driving. Also, it requires a fair amount of force to select something. The icons are small and you have to hit them just right, something difficult to do while driving.

    I tried unsuccessfully to talk my father out of the car. The car was basically what you would expect from an early prototype, not a production level car.

    They replaced the Chinese-made electric motors twice in my father's car. The steel used for the rotors was too soft and the splines broke with the original motors. Afterwards there were some slipping problems which they eventually fixed using Lock-Tite. The car has had problems with the CAN bus due to interference and my father has had to have his car towed on numerous occasions.

    There have also been major problems with the generator connected to the engine. The part linking the two tends to break and it cannot handle any misfiring by the engine.

    The fires were also another major setback, due to a defective fan module.

    Then there was the battery fiasco. Fisker promised selling at least 15,000 Karmas and relied entirely on A123 for the battery pack. Between Fisker's failure to sell the volume they promised and the battery defect A123 ended up bankrupt.

    Fisker Automotive made a number of huge mistakes. The company was run like a large Detroit auto company which they were not. They spent money like water, ordering huge numbers of components ahead of time to make something on the order of 15,000 cars. Much of the manufacturing and design was pushed out to suppliers. The drive train was made by Quantum. The touch screen and software was also farmed out. The engine was GM. Fisker was basically an integrator.

    Fisker also spent money like water. They went through over 1 billion dollars without a working factory to show for it. The top brass were from Detroit and they were used to dealing with big budgets like Detroit.

    I will say that the Fisker Karma is a beautiful car and the interior is quite nice despite being cramped.

    I ended up buying a Tesla model S.

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