Relaunched Fisker Karma To Use Quantum Software (Again)


2009 Fisker Karma prototype

2009 Fisker Karma prototype

Enlarge Photo

Fisker Automotive's new owner Wanxiang plans to relaunch the Karma extended-range electric luxury sedan next year, and it's expected to have few substantial changes from the version last built in 2012.

One thing Fisker doesn't plan to change, it seems, is the supplier of the Karma's powertrain control software.

RELATED: Fisker Karma Will Be Relaunched With 2012 Design, Updates

The company will license plug-in hybrid control software for use in the Karma from Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide--and Fisker will pay $2 million before the end of the month to seal the deal.

Quantum had supplied the same control software to Fisker for the first Karma production run, and now the two companies are renewing that relationship.

2012 Fisker Karma + Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer, Hollister Municipal Airport, CA [by Refael Azi]

2012 Fisker Karma + Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer, Hollister Municipal Airport, CA [by Refael Azi]

Enlarge Photo

Fisker is also to pay Quantum an additional $2 million by October 27, 2015, to license the software for its planned next vehicle, the Atlantic--a second, smaller model first shown as a prototype in 2012.

The deal with Quantum also includes about $1.3 million for software development services over the next year.

READ MORE: Who's Still Buying Brand-New Fisker Karmas, And Why?

Fisker has a further option to acquire joint ownership of the software, for use in other potential future models, by October 2016.

In its release announcing the deal, Quantum didn't specify whether the software being licensed differed appreciably from the "Q-Drive" control system it originally licensed to Fisker back in 2010.

Wanxiang said earlier this year that it had "about 250 bugs" to fix on the Karma before it can put the car back into production, though.

The deal with Quantum contrasts with the angry response Wanxiang has received from many former Fisker suppliers.

MORE: Fisker Karma Finnish Production To Resume Following Fixes, New Model Later

Some vendors actually scrapped their tooling for custom-made Fisker parts after going unpaid once production of the Karma halted in July 2012.

Nonetheless, Wanxiang hopes to get the Karma back into production next year, which means it would resume sales as a 2015 or 2016 model.

2012 Fisker Karma + Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer, Hollister Municipal Airport, CA [by Refael Azi]

2012 Fisker Karma + Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer, Hollister Municipal Airport, CA [by Refael Azi]

Enlarge Photo

Although limiting the updates allows Fisker to avoid repeating complex safety testing and regulatory certification processes, that timeline is still viewed by some as unrealistic.

It all comes down to the Chinese auto-parts supplier's ability to fix the Karma's problems and rebuild a broken supply chain.

Following that, its ability to sell sufficient numbers of the reborn Karma will determine whether Fisker's revival lasts long enough for the Atlantic--or any other models--to appear.

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