Ijaw Dictionary Online

How Automobiles Work

– It won Automobile Magazine’s
2012 car of the year award, it garnered well over $600
million dollars in start-up capital and it was heralded
as the car that would bury Tesla, but then it died. Both with a bang and a whimper. It’s the most over-hyped car in the world. What turned this green dream
into an automotive nightmare? This is Wheel House,
the truth about Fisker. The Danish-born Henrik Fisker
started his career at BMW in 1989 where he designed
the retro-inspired BMW Z8. This reimagined roadster
was praised for it’s sleek, timeless design and it remains
a darling among drivers and collectors alike. Riding his success at BMW,
Fisker joined Ford as the design director for Aston Martin in 2001. It was there that he created
the designs for the iconic Aston Martin DB9 and the
best-selling Aston Martin of all time, the V8 Vantage. So, the guy knows a
thing or two about making bad-ass looking cars. After almost 20 years in
the industry, Fisker decided he was done designing other people’s cars. It was time to set off on his own, but the world of luxury vehicles was vast and starting a company
was extremely difficult. He needed to pick a kind of luxury vehicle that would justify a new company. Ever the fan of celebrity,
Henrik was watching the Oscars when it came to him,
Leonardo DiCaprio drove up to the red carpet in a Toyota Prius. The Titanic star stepping
out of small, egg-shaped car didn’t fit right. Where was the flash,
where was the glamour? Why not create an attractive
option for high-end, environmentally conscious clientele. Fisker decided he would
make a hybrid luxury car at a premium price. In 2007, he and business
partner Barney Koehler formed Fisker Automotive, with the
goal of putting the cool into electric cars. Building an automobile with
cutting edge technology, and wrap it in a pretty package. Before they hunkered down,
however, they accepted a $875,000 contract with another
start-up car company, Tesla. After his brief stint
with them, Henrik felt more confident about his
venture into the EV world. And having “consultant to
Tesla” on his resume also made it easier for him to get investors. Quantum Technologies, an
alternative energy start-up teamed with the design
guru on his ambitious plans for Fisker Automotive. They posted up in Irvine,
California to design the car, but it wouldn’t be built there. Henrik believed that the
best people for the job were Valmet Automotive all
the way over in Finland. – Finland! – The eco-friendly startup
scored big when it was able to get backing from heavy
hitters like Ray Lane, the former president of
software giant Oracle that bankrolled such companies
as Google and Amazon. Luckily, when Henrik found
Ray, he was working as a senior partner at a powerhouse
venture capital firm. Jackpot! Also, the US
government wanted to bolster green initiatives as well
as the economy in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. So the Department of
Energy coughed up a loan that totaled $529 million,
a portion of which was to be used to mass produce
the car in the United States. Even the Prius-loving DiCaprio
got on-board as an investor. It seemed that the hybrid start-up was destined for greatness. A year later Fisker Automotive
unveiled a flashy, plug-in hybrid sedan they called the Fisker Karma. Henrik Fisker labeled
it an “electric vehicle with extended range” or “EVER.” It operates the same way many other plug-in hybrids do today. It had a plug-in hybrid
drive chain that powered by electricity until a
battery ran out of juice, then a gasoline engine
kicks in to drive the car and charge the battery. Peek under the hood and
you’d find a 260 horsepower, GM-supplied, 4-cylinder engine churning the robust generator. The Karma was also equipped
with a 20 kilowatt an hour American-made lithium ion battery pack. Mounted on the rear
axle were twin AC motors delivering 402 horsepower
to the differential. This up-scale driving machine could go zero to 60 in under 6 seconds. Not bad for a hybrid. But what really made the
Fisker Karma a cut above was it’s jaw-dropping, stellar appearance. The incredible body
curves on this car were so smooth you’d think
the car gods themselves formed it from one giant
piece of molten metal. With it’s sleek, long
hood, shapely flanks, eye-catching wheel arches,
and it’s low-slung silhouette it’s obvious the Fisker Karma
was designed by a genuine artist, and I mean that. The Karma offered the complete
package, style, sleekness, and with a battery and
gasoline-powered combo, zero range anxiety. All the buzz surrounding the Karma landed it’s designer on the
cover of Forbes Magazine, under the headline “The Next Detroit.” There was also the possibility
he’d land in court. Tesla slapped Fisker
with a lawsuit in 2008. Here’s what they claimed:
Remember how they brought Henrik on-board to do design and
interior work in 2007? They say he stole their
design ideas for what would become the Tesla Model S. Tesla further believed Fisker
and his partner accepted the $875,000 design contract
solely so they could get their hands on confidential design info. Tesla claimed Fisker had no
hybrid technology experience before working for them. So where do you think
they got all the info for the motors and batteries? And once they saw how rad the
Karma looked, they were like, “What you designed for
us looks like a hot turd, what’s going on?” That’s
what Elon Musk sounds like. Tesla alleged that Fisker
sabotaged their design by intentionally doing shoddy work. Then, he used the money they paid him to start a competing company. As for the outcome, well,
later that year Tesla dropped the lawsuit when an
arbitrator’s ruling found no wrongdoing on Fisker’s part,
but still kinda suspicious. This legal roadbump didn’t put a damper on the excitement surrounding the Karma. Eco-minded car enthusiasts couldn’t wait to get their hands on one. Al Gore put in an early
order, Justin Bieber got one as a gift from Usher, Tyrese owned one, and Leonardo DiCaprio could
be spotted cruising Sunset Boulevard in the first production model. Time Magazine put the car on
it’s 50 Best Inventions list. Motor Trend named it the
Top 10 Future Classics for it’s timeless
elements, and it was dubbed 2011’s Luxury Car of the
Year by Top Gear Magazine. This car was a big deal. While Henrik Fisker initially
pledged to start production within 18 months of it’s
unveiling in 2008, the first production model wouldn’t
roll off the assembly line until 3 years later. 200 Fisker Karmas were
delivered to customers in 2011 and an additiona 1600 in 2012. Unfortunately, the car
should’ve rolled right back into the factory. The Karma looked great on the outside, but on the inside, it was a hot mess. The reality was that Henrik
Fisker was a car designer, he’d never taken the
reins of a company before. The smelly stench of trouble
began with the company’s bad business model. Their method of outsourcing everything and a low-headcount
approach resulted in a car riddled with engineering problems. Not the least of which
was poor reliability. In 2011, Fisker Automotive
issued a recall of the first 239 Karmas because of a coolant leak and the risk of electrical fires. The fire part was actually
a reality for a few unlucky Karma owners. One guy lost a wing of
his house, when his Karma burst into flames in the garage. That sucks. That’s just like
time my uncle Russ fried a turkey on Thanksgiving, RIP Russ. Sour headlines and late loan
payments started piling up. It was reported that Henrik
had accumulated $200 million dollars in unpaid bills by late 2011. To conserve cash, Fisker
Automotive laid off hundreds of employees in 2011 and 2012. All the while, the Armani
suit wearing Fisker continued to take a huge salary
and spend lavishly in an attempt to maintain a shiny appearance on the company’s fastly tarnishing image. We’re talking champagne
with flecks of gold in it, served on a 146-foot yacht in Monte Carlo kinda lavish. The announced sticker
price of about $80,000 had risen to six-figures
by production time. The production phase
experienced delays due to last minute design changes,
and engineering fixes. What kind of last-minute
fixes? Here’s just one. Apparently, Fisker’s desire
for front-end exhaust made the Karma too noisy and
hurt the car’s horsepower. An obvious fix would be
to place the exhaust pipe in the back, like every
car on the face of planet. The idea came to the
engineers one afternoon when pizza was delivered for lunch. I’m serious about this. The engineering team was
inspired by the pizza box to encase the exhaust in
a very thin steel box. The pizza box quick
fix solved the concerns about the sound and
made the boss happy, but to the tune of extra $1 million dollars. Other minor, but very
noticeable issues involved a ghostly radio that increased
volume all on it’s own and a software interface that
was difficult to decipher. It was so slow that some
drivers cracked the screen from pushing too hard to get a response. Adding to the problem,
the company had ordered somewhere between 50 to
100 million dollars worth of components that, because
of last minute design changes, wouldn’t even be used. Fisker was burning through
the cash and missing crucial production
deadlines, so the government cut it’s funding. Desperate to keep the money
flowing, Henrik Fisker began selling the Karma at lightning speed before all the problems
had been ironed out. Plagued with continuing
recalls and breakdowns, the anticipated darling of the car world was quickly becoming a dud. – Fiskers don’t make
noise when they start up, just so you know. – The Fisker Karma may
have been the only car in history to be named
2012’s Design of the Year by Automobile Magazine while
simultaneously flunking with consumer reports. The magazine cited routine
problems with the battery, long recharge times, and
repeat visits to the dealer. A noisy engine, cramped interior,
and below-par performance. In fact, the car died on the test track and had to be hauled away on a flatbed. Then, Hurricane Sandy
flooded out several hundred unsold Karma’s that were stored in a New Jersey parking lot. A bruising cost of about $33 million. When the insurance company
refused to pay, Fisker had to go to court. Check your coverage, guys. Just five years earlier,
it seemed that the stars would be aligning for the Fisker Karma, but in 2012 it felt like fate
was conspiring against us. The nail in the coffin
moment happened when Massachusets-based A123,
Fisker Automotive’s sole battery supplier folded. With technical glitches and
cost overruns continuing, Fisker Automotive ceased
production in November 2012, a year later they went
bankrupt, but the car they designed lives on. Making lemonades out of
Fisker’s lemons, China’s auto parts giant Wanxiang
Group bought the doomed company’s assets and what
was left of A123 in 2014. They renamed the organization
Karma Automotive, and moved the factory
operation from Finland, to Southern California. The new Karma team set up
production in Moreno Valley and their game plan was to
resurrect the flawed Karma, but keep Fisker’s gorgeous design. As Jim Taylor, Karma Automotive’s
chief marketing officer said, “They nailed the design,
you’d be crazy to change it.” The first order of business
for the Karma comeback team was to get to work finding
every flaw with the Karma, no easy task. Leading the effort was Karl
Jenkins, a Welsh auto engineer considered the patron saint
of successfully handling turnaround and lost causes. Along with a 600 member
team, Jenkins went section by section over the old Karma
with a fine-toothed comb to determine what needed
fixing and what was fine. They tagged any problem
they could uncover, down to the dicey-looking hose clamps. They reworked the airflow
through the front of the car which was an easy fix
for an overheating engine that the original Fisker
team had overlooked because they rushed the car to market. The team also updated the
car with five years of technical advances, a Herculean effort that at the end of the day
resulted in the rebirth of the Fisker Karma, now
rechristened the Karma Revero. Near identical to it’s predecessor except, fingers crossed, this one
wouldn’t burst into flames or leak engine coolant. The first production model
of the Karma Revero were delivered to customers in 2017. You have to give Karma Automotive props, instead of throwing up
their hands in frustration at the Fisker fiasco,
they went mono e mono with the beast, got their hands dirty, and fixed literally hundreds of flaws. Wanxiang rescued the car for the designs. It looks amazing and is
said to have cast a spell over some Tesla owners
as well, who have been complaining that their vehicle just isn’t interesting anymore. The car offers a timeless
quality and mystical feel that’s as evident today
as it was six years ago. Is the Revero a phoenix
risen from the ashes? Or is the landmark
design destined to fail? Time will tell. Make sure you hit that
yellow subscribe button right there, if you like
electric cars check out this episode of Science Garage. The Fisker has a very similar
story to the DeLoreans so check out this episode of Up to Speed. Follow me on Instagram @nolanjsykes and follow Donut @donutmedia. If you want a shirt,
go to shop.donut.media, we have some new merch
coming out very soon. Wear a seatbelt, see you next time. (chilled hip hop music)

100 thoughts on “The Truth About Fisker | WheelHouse

  1. Anyone else notice a common theme about failed car companies – Most all of them were started by car designers who were "sick and tired of designing cars for other companies". Truth is, most car designers don't know anything about a car outside of how to draw them – especially how to run an entire automotive company. They also typically have the biggest ego in the industry.

  2. There is more to this story:
    After Henrik left the co, he joined "Others" at another Startup called VLF…
    Bob L utz
    Henrik F isker
    Gilbert V illarreal

    Their intended purpose is to be a Engineering Group that can redesign / reskin, make / re-produce and or market various vehicles like the Hummer H1.. in China.

    Henrik has restyled a few cars and left them open to translation.

  3. DiCaprio is an idiot. What's carbon neutral about a heavy luxury car carrying both an engine and an electric motor?

  4. Didn't Fisker build a super car back in the 90s? I could be wrong but if memory serves me correct they did and it was really ugly

  5. Wait, what's the specs on the new one from karma automotive? Horsepower on the gas and electric motors what's the 0 to 60. C'mon man you left me hanging

  6. Did you just say……..
    Finland? 😮

  7. Ayyy, Fisker stabbing Tesla in the back to start his own company then calling his maiden car the Karma which ultimately fails and erases his name. Leaving us with Karma and Tesla. That’s irony porn!

  8. nice car but now that all the glitches are fixed the car costs to much and hybrids dont sell well anymore. It should be all
    electric and it has to at least be competitive with tesla pricing Its not cven close. Way to late and its needs to be all electric the fiskers time has come and gone.

  9. Another reason Donut Media is to be subscribed and liked for every single video: their host is wearing a MASTODON shirt 🔥

  10. mercedes slr don’t have exhaust pipes on back. it’s on front side, you know that i think. they remove from front to back because they were increasing risk from fire, that is my opinion. obviously they didn’t make good job😆

  11. One of the few times on YouTube where I felt that I actually learned something that I had No clue about… Nice. Because I loved the Karma but knew it was Trash and that the company was dead… Revero huh?

  12. You don't mention anything about the solar cells on the roof of the car. While much has been said about the nominal electricity that was going to be generated relative to the battery consumption, the fact is that it was a pretty revolutionary implementation of tech that's been fantasized about since the 1970s. The Karma is apparently retaining those solar panels.

  13. So an American car company start-up fails, gets revived by Chinese investors.
    And people are bashing on Tesla. WTF is wrong with angry white males? Why won't they buy American made Teslas instead of screaming MAGA at rallies?

  14. Because leo doesn’t want to stand out you morons that’s why he drove the Prius. He even said it in an article back in the day.

    God y’all need to do more research before blabbing absolute BS.

    I have unsubscribes and will tell others to do the same. Disliked this video just like your Chinese knock off video when you said the Jeep Wrangler JK had a 3.6 V8. Y’all said it, edited it, posted it and not one single
    Person realized it until after it was posted and y’all made the edit corrections in the comments.

    You are all a bunch of uncarcultural swines

  15. Power-train wise Fisker was on the spot. The internal combustion engine should power the batteries, like… you know… any locomotive/train is powered from 1900's, there is a good reason for this, if there was another better way a locomotive would use it.

  16. Wow, Fisker was such a scam. I hope it still fails. China owned in SoCal just for tax rebates. China is a commie country, Karma is owned by the government.

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