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Fisker Nina To Be Unveiled Before New York Auto Show

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Teaser sketch for Fisker Project Nina range-extended electric car

Teaser sketch for Fisker Project Nina range-extended electric car

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The 2012 New York Auto Show is almost upon us, and last night an unexpected invitation landed in journalist inboxes around the world.

The sender was shown as "Fisker Nina Reveal," and the graphic was the simple line drawing above.

The message inside was simply that Fisker Automotive would provide "a business update and a glimpse of our future" at an event on Tuesday, April 3, the night before show Media Days begin.

That "glimpse of our future" will likely be a full-size design model of the "Project Nina" mid-size range-extended electric car--named after one of Christopher Columbus's three ships. co-founder Henrik Fisker's daughter.

The design will give journalists, analysts, and Fisker fans a visual image for what has been, until now, only a conceptual plan discussed by Fisker executives.

And perhaps public attention on Fisker Automotive will shift from its business challenges and the late launch of its full-size 2012 Karma electric luxury sedan to a sexy new product.

We expect newly hired Fisker CEO Tom LaSorda to do much of the presenting, though Fisker himelf will undoubtedly conduct a portion of the evening's ceremonies.

Tom Lasorda

Tom Lasorda

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We'll be curious to hear the business update, given Fisker's negotiations with the U.S. Department of Energy over its frozen $529 million low-interest loans--which the company called just a "bump in the road"--its efforts to raise more private capital, and a steady drumbeat of reports about Fisker quality issues and even a few owner returns.

But the Nina unveiling is what the crowd will be waiting for.

We know that the Nina will use a BMW turbocharged four-cylinder engine to run its range-extending generator. We also know that Fisker plans a full model lineup, including a sedan, coupe, and crossover.

The model lineup came courtesy of the loose tongue of Vice President Joe Biden, who let it slip at a ceremony commemorating Fisker's $18 million acquisition of the former GM assembly plant in Wilmington, Delaware, that built the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky.

But while we would like to see a fully running Nina at the event in 10 days, we don't think we will.

2012 Fisker Karma during road test, Los Angeles, Feb 2012

2012 Fisker Karma during road test, Los Angeles, Feb 2012

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Henrik Fisker said in February, at a long-delayed Fisker Karma drive event, that the company had prototype powertrains for the Nina in bench testing, but did not have any running "mules" or development vehicles for the Nina program.

So we expect to see a styling prototype, but not a fully fleshed-out, running concept car with a complete and working interior.

We hope we're wrong, of course.

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Comments (4)
  1. The Nina was originally sold as an "affordable" electric, and I don't remember any details such as a range extending engine. Get ready to laugh at what Fisker considers an "affordable vehicle."
     
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  2. The Nina has always been described as very much like the Karma, but little more than 1/2 price. This is affordable to people who normally buy M-B's etc. Always was with BMW extended range motor, they never suggested that they were building pure BEVs.
     
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  3. I have to guess that Fisker will run the assembly of the Nina in the same plant that makes the Karma/Surf. Why spend capital on the plant build-out in the USA (Wilmington, DE) when they already have access to the supporting plant in Finland?

    Get ready for minimum $49K for the Nina. Volt MSRP will be dropping to $37K base by the time Nina comes out. If they don't build out the Nina plant in Delaware - I wouldn't mind seeing DoE cancel all support. The only thing I see going for them at this point is they use A123 batteries made in the USA. Moving from a GM engine in the Karma to a BMW powerplant in the Nina is making the new unit much more of an import than I'd like to see for all the tax monies given to Fisker.
     
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  4. The whole point of the Delaware plant is to build larger quantity at much lower cost. If they stayed with Valmet hand building Ninas they would be the same price as the Karma. By the same token, the Karma is already set up and running in Finland by Valmet, there is little value in going to all the expense of moving production elsewhere for a low volume model. Using the BMW engine is just to give the Nina a little more class. People associate Chevy as a low cost people's car and this does not fit well with Karma's image. I wouldn't be surprised if the Karma gets switched over to the BMW engine as well.
     
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