Per the press release linked below, Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a letter of intent with Fisker Automotive that outlines the terms of a production and licensing agreement for the Fisker Karma Program. Under the supply arrangement, Quantum will be the exclusive supplier of the Q-Drive™ hybrid control systems including the hybrid controller and Quantum's proprietary hybrid control software, the inverters and Quantum's proprietary motor control software, on-board charger and control systems, the DC-DC converter and the solar roof module, subject to Quantum meeting the required price, performance, quality and delivery specifications. Quantum would also receive a royalty payment on each Karma sold that incorporates Quantum's Q-Drive. The definitive supply agreement, once finalized, is subject to approval by the Department of Energy.

The supply agreement will also provide Quantum with the opportunity to supply components and systems for future Fisker Automotive vehicle programs, upon Quantum meeting the automaker's performance, cost and delivery requirements.

The Q-Drive control and software system has evolved over five years of innovation and development at Quantum. Quantum's Q-Drive system takes full advantage of the performance potential of electric drive systems while achieving high fuel mileage and low emissions through its integrated plug-in hybrid electric design. Benefits of Quantum's drive system include optimized fuel efficiency and superior performance, unchanged gas station infrastructure, and convenient battery recharging with any 110-volt outlet, 220/240-volt fast-charging, or using Quantum's solar energy powered re-charging station.

Quantum is continuing its integration of Quantum's Q-Drive system, under a funded development program with Fisker Automotive, into a unique chassis that will enable optimizing the performance and vehicle dynamics for the Fisker Karma. Additional efforts are anticipated for Quantum to complete the development, testing, and validation of the integrated Q-Drive system to meet all automotive industry, safety, and emissions standards to be able to put the Fisker high-performance luxury sedan into the hands of consumers.

"We are gearing up for the Karma production phase and are excited about bringing our innovative Q-Drive PHEV control systems to market. Fisker has announced that production will begin as early as the 3rd calendar quarter of this year," said Alan P. Niedzwiecki, the President and CEO of Quantum.

As we near production of the Fisker Karma, announcements of various contracts and other formalities will ensue.  The announcement of Quantum sourcing their Q-drive to Fisker Automotive was a foregone conclusion, but the word "exclusive" caught my eye.  The LOI seems to state that Quantum is the only supplier of the Q-drive, which is obvious, and it may be inferred that Fisker Automotive isn't sourcing any other vendor's propulsion system for the Fisker Karma.  My next question is: Per these agreements, is Quantum allowed to supply their Q-drive to any other automakers beyond Fisker Automotive?  I would like to think that they could, as I believe plug-in series hybrids will be an important configuration for the next couple decades.  Per a related story, they may be used for conversion of the US Postal Service fleet.

[Source: Press Release]