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Fisker at CES: A $130,000 electric sedan and a radical new battery technology

Russ Mitchell, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Automotive News

Fisker Automotive, an earlier Fisker company and maker of the serial hybrid Fisker Karma, crashed in 2013 because the advanced-technology batteries in the car were failing. The battery supplier, A123, went bankrupt, and only about 2,000 Karmas were produced before Fisker Automotive's assets, along with A123, were rolled up and sold to auto parts conglomerate Wanxiang Group. That Chinese company now is making the Karma Revero out of a factory in Moreno Valley.

Fisker isn't talking about his financial sources, or the new company's cash requirements. He is being only slightly less secretive about its technology. In November the company filed patents under a "non-publication request." Patents filed by Albano before he joined Fisker offer some hints at his approach.

"People claim a lot of stuff with batteries," said Ceder, of UC Berkeley. "They make these claims and raise money, and history proves (the tactic) works."

The EMotion is one of several independent high-end electric car projects created in the wake of Tesla's success with the Model S in 2012.

Martin Eberhard, Tesla's original founder, is chief scientist at SF Motors in Santa Clara. The company, a subsidiary of China's Chongqing Sokon Industry Group, says it is developing a "new generation of smart, clean, connected electric vehicles."

Lucid Motors, based in Newark, Calif., not far from Tesla's Fremont assembly plant, plans to put the Lucid Air on the market in early 2020. Financed by Silicon Valley venture capital and money from Chinese investors, Lucid is seeking a new round of funding. The company is widely rumored to be seeking a buyer, perhaps a major automaker.

Faraday Future, with headquarters in Gardena, is struggling to build its technology-laden electric car. Its primary financier, Chinese entrepreneur Jia Yueting, is in financial trouble.


Believed to be living in or around Los Angeles, he's thus far refused orders from Chinese securities officials to return home and settle debts held weighing down the internet conglomerate he founded, Leshi Internet Information & Technology. He claimed last month to have found an additional $1 billion to inject into the company, but offered no detail and has been silent since.

Meanwhile, more established players move forward. Tesla has begun shipping its new Model 3, albeit in small numbers. Jaguar plans to introduce a compact all-electric SUV by the middle of the year. And Porsche said its all-electric sports car, the Mission E, is set for launch in early 2019.

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