Founder Of Federally-Subsidized Electric Car Fisker Calls It Quits

Tyler Durden's picture

It turns out that when peddling a flaming paperweight (recall "Total Karma Recall: Fisker Pulls All Cars Due To Fire Risk", "As Another Fisker Karma Spontaneously Combusts, "Green" Dreams Go Up In Smoke" and of course "Fisker Karma Is First Car To Burn Underwater"), even if it is a very pretty and streamline paperweight, not even $529 million (or perhaps due to) in government subsidies can lead to a Hollywood ending and everlasing prosperity. As the WSJ reports, "The founder and executive chairman of electric-car start up Fisker Automotive Inc. said he resigned Wednesday because of "disagreements" over business strategy with the ailing company's management." The founder, "said in an email sent to a small number of journalists that has "left the company." Reached by phone, Mr. Fisker confirmed that he sent the email and that he had resigned."

Fisker Automotive is the maker of the Karma, a battery-powered luxury sports that sells for about $100,000. It received backing from the U.S. government but ran into technical and financial troubles stemming from both the Karma and a second model that was supposed to be built at a former General Motors Co. plant in Delaware.


In recent weeks, Fisker management has been looking into selling the company, weighing bids including a $350 million offer from China's Dongfeng Motor Corp.

It remains to be seen now that the business is in terminal disarray if any of the taxpayer cash used to prop up yet another spurious "green" venture will be clawed back. We doubt it.

And since, like yesterday, we have now entered the no news, zero volume stock levitation phase, here are perfectly gratuitous pictures of a car that will soon be no more.

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hedgeless_horseman's picture





There has never been a better time
to buy or lease a new
Opel Ampera

Fun to drive with
370 Nm instant tourque!

Drive 40-80 km on pure electricity!

Priced in CHF it is almost ridiculously cheap...

so you better hurry, while supplies last!



The battery takes about 6 hours to fully recharge using the boot stored charging cable. The Ampera can be plugged into a 240-volt/10 amp household outlet.

In the worst case, repeatedly recharging any electric vehicle at 16 A from a worn or damaged socket could cause overheating at the socket, which could cause your house to burn down, but remember it is fun to drive!

Reasons for being unable to charge could be a significant voltage drop between the neutral and protective earth circuit (indicating too-long wire lengths between distribution box and socket, a too-small wire gauge, or a bad connection); inadequate earthing/grounding impedance (indicating a missing or bad ground connection at the socket, distribution panel, or earth/ground point); or a non-dedicated electrical installation (indicating additional loads on the circuit). In general a dedicated circuit is required to charge the Ampera.


nope-1004's picture

Electric cars are a dumb idea.  They still need to be charged up, which uses a huge amount of AC produced by conventional hydrocarbon means.  A Car that runs on nothing but water was invented years ago (hydrogen splitting).  Only problem is the inventor was "mysteriously" poisoned while eating out at a restaurant.


RealFinney's picture

You realise hydrogen splitting, ie. electrolysis is a very energy intensive process right?

Maybe the technology could be better than electric batteries, maybe not, but it's hardly free energy.

redpill's picture

Not to mention that doing it onboard the vehicle means you have to carry the water, the equipment, and the resulting hydrogen! 

nope-1004's picture

Agree, it's not free energy, but many researchers have produced energy generating systems that produce more output than required input.  The electric car is not one of them.  Isn't that the objective here?

kaiserhoff's picture

I hear those batteries are perfectly safe in an airliner, at 40,000 feet over the Pacific.

redpill's picture

"many researchers have produced energy generating systems that produce more output than required input"

Which ones?  Because I'd like to know who has managed to violate the law of conservation of energy.

jcaz's picture

The ones who are scoring $500M Obama financing......

El Viejo's picture

If they could ever get the technology down for Ultra Capacitors you could charge one of these up in just a few minutes.

redpill's picture

I've been eyeballing EEStor/ZENN for years but no dice so far.

BurningFuld's picture

Me too...good thing I waited on that one! Whew!

El Viejo's picture

 I did some work for a Cap plant in SC. The Phd there had a Russian Ultra Cap in a Landmine container. Nice to know that the Russians found another use for their landmines.

When I was in Scotland back in the early 70's I noticed that they delivered milk early in the morning using electric milk trucks (very small)

Ident 7777 economy's picture

NYC subway system ... electric, didicated tracks, power drawn from a 'third' side rail ... 

patb's picture

They still do, they are called milk floats.  Smooth driving, fixed routes, and low speed, ideal for milk and other parcels.


If anyone had a lick of common sense, the US Post Office would convert the entire mail van fleet to electrical.

They average less then 13 miles/day, they always return to homebase, they are all managed out of a central facility,

they have strict operating procedures.  The low cost ops would save a lot of money for the post office.



Ident 7777 economy's picture



FISKER .. Fisker ... fisk ... Fisk

Fisk - Wasn't that one of the 'house brands' for automotive products at KMart not to long ago?

TruthInSunshine's picture

Just be thankful that sales of new cars and trucks in the U.S. have not cooled to the slowest pace in more than three years as automakers increase spending on incentives, as a result of the government intervening (aka taxpayer "sugar") and various Bernanke-inspired monetary/fiscal/social/political/psychological/astrological policies "fixing" the economy and "markets."



US Auto Sales Pace at Slowest Since GM, Chrysler Bankruptcies

"Sales of new cars and trucks in the U.S. have cooled to the slowest pace in more than three years even as automakers increase spending on incentives."

El Diablo Rojo's picture

copied from So on your power less than output comment I can only say NOPE 1004 times.

The practical benefit of active devices is their amplifying ability. Whether the device in question be voltage-controlled or current-controlled, the amount of power required of the controlling signal is typically far less than the amount of power available in the controlled current. In other words, an active device doesn't just allow electricity to control electricity; it allows a small amount of electricity to control a large amount of electricity.

Because of this disparity between controlling and controlled powers, active devices may be employed to govern a large amount of power (controlled) by the application of a small amount of power (controlling). This behavior is known as amplification.

It is a fundamental rule of physics that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Stated formally, this rule is known as the Law of Conservation of Energy, and no exceptions to it have been discovered to date. If this Law is true -- and an overwhelming mass of experimental data suggests that it is -- then it is impossible to build a device capable of taking a small amount of energy and magically transforming it into a large amount of energy. All machines, electric and electronic circuits included, have an upper efficiency limit of 100 percent. At best, power out equals power in as in Figure below.

The power output of a machine can approach, but never exceed, the power input for 100% efficiency as an upper limit.

Usually, machines fail even to meet this limit, losing some of their input energy in the form of heat which is radiated into surrounding space and therefore not part of the output energy stream. (Figure below)

A realistic machine most often loses some of its input energy as heat in transforming it into the output energy stream.

Many people have attempted, without success, to design and build machines that output more power than they take in. Not only would such a perpetual motion machine prove that the Law of Conservation of Energy was not a Law after all, but it would usher in a technological revolution such as the world has never seen, for it could power itself in a circular loop and generate excess power for “free”. (Figure below)

Hypothetical “perpetual motion machine” powers itself?

Despite much effort and many unscrupulous claims of “free energy” or over-unity machines, not one has ever passed the simple test of powering itself with its own energy output and generating energy to spare.

There does exist, however, a class of machines known as amplifiers, which are able to take in small-power signals and output signals of much greater power. The key to understanding how amplifiers can exist without violating the Law of Conservation of Energy lies in the behavior of active devices.

Because active devices have the ability to control a large amount of electrical power with a small amount of electrical power, they may be arranged in circuit so as to duplicate the form of the input signal power from a larger amount of power supplied by an external power source. The result is a device that appears to magically magnify the power of a small electrical signal (usually an AC voltage waveform) into an identically-shaped waveform of larger magnitude. The Law of Conservation of Energy is not violated because the additional power is supplied by an external source, usually a DC battery or equivalent. The amplifier neither creates nor destroys energy, but merely reshapes it into the waveform desired as shown in Figure below.

While an amplifier can scale a small input signal to large output, its energy source is an external power supply.

In other words, the current-controlling behavior of active devices is employed to shape DC power from the external power source into the same waveform as the input signal, producing an output signal of like shape but different (greater) power magnitude. The transistor or other active device within an amplifier merely forms a larger copy of the input signal waveform out of the “raw” DC power provided by a battery or other power source.

Amplifiers, like all machines, are limited in efficiency to a maximum of 100 percent. Usually, electronic amplifiers are far less efficient than that, dissipating considerable amounts of energy in the form of waste heat. Because the efficiency of an amplifier is always 100 percent or less, one can never be made to function as a “perpetual motion” device.

The requirement of an external source of power is common to all types of amplifiers, electrical and non-electrical. A common example of a non-electrical amplification system would be power steering in an automobile, amplifying the power of the driver's arms in turning the steering wheel to move the front wheels of the car. The source of power necessary for the amplification comes from the engine. The active device controlling the driver's “input signal” is a hydraulic valve shuttling fluid power from a pump attached to the engine to a hydraulic piston assisting wheel motion. If the engine stops running, the amplification system fails to amplify the driver's arm power and the car becomes very difficult to turn.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

Most of us know all this ... so this is like, painful review ... it was known long ago, before electricity even, that small quantities can control larger ones; look to your studies of 'fluid controls' (hydraulics) for examples ...

StychoKiller's picture

NOT a violation of the law of Energy Conservation (just a more efficient method

of breaking H2O molecules into their component parts):


redpill's picture


1) The Karma was a hybrid, and never made sense.  It was very expensive, not particularly fuel efficient, and not particularly fast.  Triple fail.

2) Some electric cars make a lot more sense, the Tesla Model S for instance, that competes on all levels with comparably priced luxury vehicles.

3) In the broad scheme of things, electricity is a lot easier to distribute than liquid fuels.

4) The "car that runs on water" is not some miracle technology.  It's onboard hydrolysis, which requires larger batteries and is an inherently inefficient process.  If you are going to run a car on hydrogen, at least you would have the hydrogen-generating station in your garage or at a fueling station and fill it up that way.  It's stupid to the hydrolysis on board.

I'm a gear-head type and I like my loud fuel-inefficient sportscars, but it's stupid to ignore many of the inherent benefits of the electric car if they can finally get the right product to market.

hedgeless_horseman's picture's stupid to ignore many of the inherent benefits of the electric car if they can finally get the right product to market.

Little chance of that with so much government intervention.

redpill's picture

Of any I've seen, the Model S comes the closest.  We'll see how it pans out over the next couple years.


Also of note, electric cars are a nice hedge against oil shocks and such.  Or further, if you're an "off the grid" type and manage to generate your own electricity somewhere, you can power your own vehicle and are not dependent upon anyone.  Old Burt Rutan did that in the 90's with a solar array at his home in the desert and GM EV1.

BurningFuld's picture

The problem with these things is design design design.  Lithium batteries need to be monitored carefully...every single cell...because if one goes, well its just all bad!

We have a plant here that won a contract to recycle lithium cells from the old US navy torpedoes. One night the roof on the building leaked. I live 5 miles away as the crow flies and it was an epic fireworks display!!!  All the batteries got recycled in one evening.

augustusgloop's picture

Fisker should have just joined S&P and see its stock levitate. Boeing has iheritly inflammable product in the dreamliner, fleet grounded, and is seeing new highs. 

walküre's picture

that is the best argument FOR electric vehicles yet:

3) In the broad scheme of things, electricity is a lot easier to distribute than liquid fuels.

have been looking at options and the Nissan Leaf is the most interesting for our family's situation.

Doomer's picture

This is clearly bullish, for everything except perhaps Fisker.

Buy the ES hard and fast.  This is good for at least 5 pts on the ES.

You will thank me later.


Ident 7777 economy's picture




Gee, any relationship (the fires) to Boeing's recent issue (re: battery problems)?


One wonders ...



Matt's picture

Besides (as far as I know) both the cars and the planes using the same kind of batteries? Lithium Ion (Cobalt Oxide) instead of safer, cooler, more efficient, longer lasting (but slower charging, lower capacity, more expensive) Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries.

RSBriggs's picture

Is that a standard 2.4 Ghz RC controller?  That makes the car about 30 cm long...  Not a lot of load carrying capacity there....

hedgeless_horseman's picture



The GM engineers were told that European roads, and drivers, are much smaller than in America.

Pegasus Muse's picture

You know the old saying, --- Karma's a bitch --- in this case, it's a flaming one ...

Son of Loki's picture

Whew! Glad I didn't sell my Lamborghini ....

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater's picture

Meanwhile, I paid $311 for gasoline for my Volt and 1200cc motorcycle.


For all of 2012.


I plug it in when I get back from work, it charges to full overnight, then I plug it in at the parking garage and it's charged when I'm done at the office.  The car's been dead reliable aside from 2 rear tires that ate some metal and a front with a slow leak below 35F, all of which I've replaced with Michelins discounted at Costco for a much better ride and a ~2mpc penalty.  The juice comes from good old American sources (coal, natural gas, nucular, and probably some wind and solar) and costs me about 4 cents a mile.  Oh, and it will cruise at 100mph just fine, though that will kill the battery barely more than 20mi, at which point the gas motor will continue enabling 100mph unless you're climbing the Rocky Mountains.  I hit 100mph for a little while on one of the Texas tollways that's got 85mph limits.


I'm pretty interested in the BMW i3 tho, more battery, faster charging rate, lighter, quicker 0-60, and a motorcycle 2cyl range extender which should be much more efficient than the compromised lump under the Volt's hood.

patb's picture

put in a small wind turbine and you can charge at night for free

ParkAveFlasher's picture

No more Fisker-fisting the taxpayer!

CrimsonAvenger's picture

There are plenty of other fists in the sea.

chdwlch1's picture

Jesus! The car comes with the engine light on? That can't be good...

glenlloyd's picture

noticed that too....not good when your CEL is on from the factory.

Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

Engh, standard for VW/Audi and GM. Your lucky it starts!

Ident 7777 economy's picture

Standard power-up bulb-check sequence ...

22winmag's picture

Mega (pork-laden, intentional) fail!

Theta_Burn's picture

It is a nice looking car though

dick cheneys ghost's picture

That rear-end is sweet..........

StychoKiller's picture

Meh, I'm no fan of two-tone upholstery.

Muppet's picture

Fiskar allowed another company to sell a Karma with a GAS, not electric, engine.   Its called the VL Destino.   The Karma is a beautiful car.   Low door clearance and smaller windows made it difficult to get in an out of, but a beautiful design.   Note this is a 4-door car.   It looks better and was/is cheaper than the Maserati Quaddraporte or Porsche Panamer... (spell?).  The rear of the Porsche reminds me of a Pontiac Bonneville.

swissaustrian's picture

Translation: Insiders are leaving the sinking ship.

spekulatn's picture

That's a shame.