Tesla And Fisker: Who's Winning, Who's Losing? (Video Chat)

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Right now, we seem to get news about Tesla Motors or Fisker Automotive almost every day. Some is good, some isn't.

Yesterday, Green Car Reports editor John Voelcker sat down with High Gear Media's social-media manager, Joel Feder, to discuss the two companies in a Google+ Hangout on Air.

The live video chat was hosted by GCR's sister site for sports and luxury cars, Motor Authority.

Voelcker and Feder began their discussion with brief background on both companies and their vehicles.

The Fisker Karma is an extended-range electric luxury sport sedan that's assembled in Finland with a battery supplied by A123 Systems. Fisker says the Karma can travel about 50 miles electrically, though the EPA rated the Karma at 32 miles of electric range.

The Tesla Model S is a pure battery-electric car with three different sizes of battery pack, letting buyers opt for different amounts of driving range. The Model S is built in California, and Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] has just recently ramped up to full capacity.

Both car companies have increased the prices on their electric cars since they were first announced. Fisker's price increases have been more substantial, while Tesla honored its original pricing for customers who had already placed their deposits.

When it came to driving impressions, both Feder and Voelcker agreed that the Fisker felt like a hand-built car, with more than a few quality control issues. The Karma is also a large car with a very small interior; the most remarkable thing about it seems to be that it was actually built in four years, and--for the most part--it works.

The Model S, on the other hand, felt like a real production car. Its fit and finish is near luxury levels, and fares well against the competition. The interior is spacious and well laid-out. Feder noted that while the central 17-inch color capacitive touchscreen is impressive, he felt its brightness--even at the lowest setting--was distracting to the driver at night.

The video chat wound up with discussions of some of the issues the automakers have faced.

Fisker has clearly had more challenges: The Karma has caught fire more than once, the company hasn't built a Karma in about six months, its battery supplier went bankrupt, and Consumer Reports tore the Karma apart in its review.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

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That isn't to say the Model S has no faults, but it has had fewer issues--and we've reported on the handful of Model S glitches and quirks. The factory has just reached its full production capacity, and in other news, Consumer Reports just took delivery of its Model S and looks forward to putting on some miles.

Voelcker and Feder closed with a discussion of each company's future, and whether one or both of these two new American car companies will survive.

Watch the video, and let us know what you think the future holds in the Comments below.


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