Update: Co-Founder Henrik Fisker Leaves Fisker Automotive, Struggling Electric-Car Firm

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Henrik Fisker

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Henrik Fisker, co-founder and executive chairman of electric car company Fisker Automotive, quit the company today.

In a statement sent to Autocar and other outlets, Fisker confirmed his resignation from the company bearing his name, citing disagreements over the company's strategy.

The statement confirms, "The main reasons for his resignation are several major disagreements that Henrik Fisker has with the Fisker Automotive executive management on the business strategy."

Fisker's resignation comes out of the blue, though troubles have been brewing at the company for some time now.

The carmaker has been plagued with problems over the last few years, ranging from build quality issues in early cars, through high-profile fires, and the loss of several hundred vehicles at a port ravaged by Superstorm Sandy last year.

These problems have been compounded by the slow takeover process of its battery supplier, the now Chinese-owned A123 Systems.

The lack of supply from A123 during its bankruptcy forced the company to suspend production--and no Karma range-extended electric luxury sedans have been produced since last July.

At one of his most recent public appearance, Henrik Fisker refused to talk in detail about the investors the company is seeking.

Instead, his fairly standard presentation covered minor details about the gas mileage achieved by Karma drivers, the firm's Chinese sales, and future restarting of Karma production.

It's now even less clear where Fisker Automotive's investors might come in, though Henrik Fisker's statement ended on a positive note.

“Given the confidential nature of this matter, at this point in our process we can only confirm that the company has received detailed proposals from multiple parties in different continents which are now being evaluated by the company and its advisors," he wrote.

“The company is pleased with the level of interest from potential partners which underscore the attractiveness and relevance of Fisker's proven EV powertrain technology, design and strategy.”

Update 3-13-13:

Fisker Automotive has released the following statement on Henrik Fisker's departure:

Anaheim, CA, USA, March 13, 2013: Fisker Automotive announced today the resignation of its Executive Chairman, Henrik Fisker. The Company recognizes and thanks Mr. Fisker for his service and many contributions as Fisker Automotive has progressed from start-up to a fully-fledged global automotive company.

Fisker Automotive is proud to have launched the world’s first extended-range luxury electric car, the award-winning Karma sedan. The Company has a strong and experienced management team and its strategy has not changed. Mr. Fisker’s departure is not expected to impact the Company’s pursuit of strategic partnerships and financing to support Fisker Automotive’s continued progress as a pioneer of low-emission hybrid electric powertrain technology.


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Comments (28)
  1. Mr. Fisker is a talented guy whose skills might be better used elsewhere. I wish him well.

  2. if he was talented... the company wouldn't have gotten into this mess. Elon musk... now that is talent!

  3. Classless comment about someone who's achieved so much more in his life than you ever will... Sometimes, even one great person csn't achieve everything due to external circumstances, of course. I guess according to your standards every single GM/Chrysler employee isn't talented either, since they went bankrupt. Are you even aware of his work as a designer?

    At least Mr. Fisker created a beautiful EV. I'm sure you know everything that has gone on at Fisker, too, right?

  4. Possibly Elon might welcome him on board

  5. @Robin: Given that Tesla sued Henrik Fisker in 2008 after he had done some early design work for the company, only to depart and found his own competing company, that is highly, HIGHLY unlikely.

    Musk has publicly slammed Fisker in the past:

  6. In an interview with me last fall, Mr. Fisker repeatedly stressed that Fisker wasn't looking for a bidder but only a partner .. As per news reports doing rounds currently , Fisker appears almost ready to be bought by a Chinese company .. I am guessing that might have become a bone of contention ..

  7. Sure, why not save the Chinese the time and expense of reverse engineering the technology developed with U.S. taxpayer money and just give it to them. Totally ridiculous!

  8. Ah, Jules, apparently, you're not aware that American companies and others can also purchase Fisker, of course. The fact that nobody seems interested at all in the technology from Fisker should tell you all you need to know about how much it will hurt us if the Chinese get it.

    And how exactly will more EVs in China hurt me again as an American consumer? Is the most famous failure among green car makers somehow going to become #1 globally with technology that has performed terrible to begin with?

  9. My comment was meant to focus on the wasted U.S. taxpayer dollars. I saw it firsthand! Did anyone really believe we were going to have 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015 as we were told in the 2011 State of the Union address?

  10. better to aim high and fall short then aim low and succeed.

  11. Well, if an "electric" model T happens in the next two years, then the 1 million goal is easily achievable... (in 1 year). We are still 2.7 years away...

  12. I'm shocked but not surprised, this has happened before where the founders leave. But in this case you have to wonder where Fisker Automotive is going, will the company live or die. I've always thought Henrick was a fantastic designer I hope he takes his talents somewhere where they can be put to proper use.

  13. Let's hope he can design EVs by other makers with better technology. As a designer, he's among the best IMHO.

  14. maybe he can join Chrysler, they don't have a hybrid.

    I suspect he could resurrect the VIper as a EREV, wouldn't that be cool
    or see if they could somehow get a plug in version of the PT Cruiser and rebrand it?

  15. Great guy, took 529 million of US govt money then moves the company to Finland, he may be smart, but he should have kept the company here where he got the money from, Finland invested zero, besides the cars are very realiable.

  16. Um you have that massively wrong, Fisker never got the full amount of the loan. It was cut off after only revceiving 198 million. And the only thing Fisker did in Finland was hire Valmet to produce the Karma nothing else, the company never moved to any other country.

  17. Only 198 million???

  18. @Jules: CDspeed is correct. The DoE froze any further funds from the loan in 2011 after $193 million had been disbursed:

  19. I am aware of that. The emphasis was on ONLY!

  20. Seriously, Ed, do a little research before posting. You're wrong about every statement you've made here. Reliable...?!?! Moved to Finland? What part of that statement have you conveniently left out here?

  21. Well, just another sign of how competitive automobile market is. A poor product won't survive regardless how much government helps it.

    This also showcases how much difficulties that Tesla has endured so far...

  22. I thought the Fiskar was a good product, but, car manufacturing is
    a tough business.

  23. Henrik will pick himself up and dust himself off and hop back on the saddle. It is a small club of which now we're both a member.

  24. Not to mention the two original founders of Tesla, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning ...

  25. For some reason I dont see Tesla beign called Eberhard and Tarpenning Motors..or anyone associates them with cars Mr Voelcker. Dont you think there is a difference between people of Founders. Or are all the same? Interesting way of evaluating people...

  26. @Laura: Actually quite a lot of people do know the history of Tesla Motors, and the names of its founders, who departed. You may not have known of them, but it's hardly a secret. Their names are associated with cars, at least for some.

    My comment was in response to Steve Fambro, who was a founder of Aptera, which tried for several years to produce an ultra-aerodynamic three-wheeled composite plastic two-seat electric car. So he knows very much of what he speaks.

  27. These batteries do not work at all in car application, i said it many time. These battery degrade in heat and cold and batteries must be use only in slow constant impedance and cars require a rapid changing impedance with fast drain or fast recharge under regenerative breaking. Each and all bev of battery hybrid are a complete flop. Soon it will collapse.

    I said many time to begin hydrogen commercialisation. I think that few are interrested because car manufacturers don't want to invest big money only to discover then when they sell an hydrogen car then they sell one less ice car, so they do not want to competition themself.

  28. I would trust the average person to handle hydrogen...

    BEV and battery hybrid? Which one is it?

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