2012 Fisker Karma during road test, Los Angeles, Feb 2012Enlarge Photo
Have you noticed today’s date? Unless you’re of Italian or Spanish descent (those nations consider Tuesday the 13th and Thursday the 17th bad luck), you might consider today to be an inherently unlucky.
But before you cross yourself, reach for the four-leaf clover, or hide under the bedcovers in a fit of Parakevidekatriaphobia -- that’s fear of today’s date -- take time to read about five green automakers who haven’t had to wait until today to experience a run of bad luck.
When Aptera was founded in 2006 on the dream of building an ultra-efficient, safe alternative to a motorcycle, the world fell in love.
In fact, the Aptera even landed itself a Cameo appearance in a StarTrek film.
But fame and fortune is often fleeting, and a series of bad management decisions, poor performance in the Automotive X-Prize, and trouble obtaining a U.S. Department of Energy low-interest loan ultimately left Aptera without any money.
It officially closed its doors at the end of 2011, declaring bankruptcy after a year of particularly bad luck.
Automotive design wizard Henrik Fisker certainly knows how to design a sexy car, but the past year has been pretty tough for his electric car startup firm.
Worse still, two of the faults were related to the Fisker Karma’s battery pack, built by a completely different firm.
If that wasn’t enough, Fisker has recently had to endure the embarrassment that one of its customers, teen pop idol Justin Bieber, has recently turned his Fisker Karma into a gigantic automotive mirror.
We're not sure how the firm manages such a brave face against such adversity.
2012 Honda Civic Hybrid
2012 Honda Civic HybridEnlarge Photo
Every major automaker has its fair share of bad luck, but we can’t help but feel the past year has been incredibly hard on Honda.
Not only is its 2012 Civic proving so unpopular with customers and the media that Honda is rushing forward a mid-cycle update to the dowdy sedan to make it more appealing, but Honda has had a year-full of green-car related woes.
If that wasn’t enough, Honda was then ordered to pay one Californian owner nearly $10,000 after a court ruled that it had misled her with unobtainable gas-mileage quotes.
Bad luck indeed.
Most of Chevrolet’s bad luck seems to stem from one car: its Volt plug-in hybrid.
After a poor sales start, not to mention continued character assassinations at the hands of right-wing media outlets, Chevrolet suffered a string of bad luck when a Volt which had undergone official National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests burst into flames a few weeks after the test occurred.
The resultant media frenzy, continued investigations and even House Hearing negatively impacted Volt sales to the point that General Motors halted Volt production for five weeks to let production volumes match demand.
For Chevrolet at least, the bad luck seems to have recently ended: it recently resumed Volt production a week early after record sales.
2011 Chevrolet Volt Production LineEnlarge Photo
If one green automaker is the omen for bad luck, it has to be Think.
Previously bankrupt twice and guilty of eternally promising cars that never quite made it to market on time, Think shut up shop for the third time in June last year, taking major shareholder and creditor Ener1 with it.
Since then, we’ve heard very little from Think, save for the fact that anyone interested in benefiting from Think’s bad luck can buy their own discounted 2011 Think City cars for just $22,300.
So next time you’re worrying about the potential bad luck today’s date brings, remember this simple fact: At least you’re not those guys...