Henrik Fisker, with his plug-in hybrid sports car. (Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
The last time Henrik Fisker talked of reinventing the auto industry, Detroit’s carmakers were in bankruptcy and it seemed like a perfect time to launch a new venture, with the federal government dangling $25 billion in incentives for manufacturers to build greener, more efficient vehicles.
His goal was to create a “fabless car company” that would focus only on design and marketing, while buying parts from other carmakers and outsourcing the assembly work. His first product, the Fisker Karma, was a sexy $100,000 plug-in hybrid sports car built in Finland, but he hoped to launch production of a second, more affordable car at a shuttered General Motors factory in Delaware.
But Fisker Automotive went bankrupt after drawing $193 million of a $529 million loan from the Department of Energy. It was eventually sold to a Chinese manufacturer, saddling taxpayers with a $139 million loss.
The Danish designer isn’t providing many details, but says he’s been working for the past couple years in “stealth mode” on the project, which uses a new lithium battery technology developed by some professors at UCLA. His aim is to deliver an electric car with a range in excess of 400 miles; images will come in mid-2017, according to Bloomberg. It’s not clear where the money is coming from.
IBMVoice:Blockchain Will Transform And Reinvent Organizations, Ecosystems And Economies
The charismatic Fisker is not lacking for confidence. We’ll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, he’s still working on design and product strategy at VLF Automotive, another start-up car company he founded with Bob Lutz and Gilbert Villarreal in January 2016.