Fisker Automotive is a manufacturer of high-end, plug-in hybrid vehicles. The company was founded in September 2007 as a joint conglomeration between Fisker Coachbuild and Quantum Technologies. Famed designer and Fisker Automotive CEO Henrik Fisker, whose design credits include such vehicles as the Aston Marton DB9 and BMW Z8, will be the driving force behind the exotic stylings of Fisker products, while Quantum Technologies will provide the complex, plug-in hybrid technology using a system called Q-Drive.
The Fisker Karma four-door sport sedan is the manufacturer's first offering. Debuting at the 2008 International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, the Karma is reported to achieve 0 to 60 miles per hour in under six seconds and reach a top speed “beyond” 125 miles per hour. The car is powered exclusively by an electric motor, while an on-board internal-combustion engine charges the vehicle’s battery pack while driving. Range on battery power alone is reported to be approximately 50 miles, but that extends to nearly 600 miles when used in conjunction with the engine.
Tesla Motors Controversy
In April 2008, upstart electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors filed a lawsuit against Fisker Automotive, claiming the company stole designs for the upcoming Tesla electric-powered sedan. Tesla had in fact contracted Henrik Fisker to design the sedan , then claimed Fisker delivered substandard designs to Tesla while using insider information to create the Karma sedan for his own company. Per an agreement as part of the original contract between Tesla and Fisker, the suit as since moved into arbitration.
Fisker has contracted Valmet Automotive to manufacture the Karma sedan in Finland, with the first North American deliveries scheduled for late 2009, followed by a European release in 2010. The company is planning to sell 15,000 Karma sedans by 2011 and offer three different plug-in hybrid models by 2012.