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EV Company Seeks To Move Past Rough Start

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Fisker Karma (Jeff Gilbert photo)

Fisker Karma (Jeff Gilbert photo)

jeffgilbert Jeff Gilbert
Automotive reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBS Radio News....
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DETROIT — (WWJ) Despite recalls, funding issues and a scathing review from Consumer Reports, the CEO of luxury electric carmaker Fisker thinks the future is bright.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we could make this thing work”, said Fisker CEO Tony Posawatz, speaking to the Automotive Press Association. “But, we’ll need some additional support, additional funding.“

That funding would be needed, Posawatz says, to develop the Fisker Atlantic, a mid-size electric car, that would be built at a former Chrysler plant in Delaware. Fisker has given out few details for the vehicle, which would sell in the $50 thousand range. That’s about half the price of Fisker’s current offering, the Karma.

Posawatz was the vehicle line executive in charge of the Chevrolet Volt, before retiring early this year. Shortly after that, he joined Fisker as CEO. Both the Volt, and Fisker’s vehicles use “extended range” technology, with an onboard generator to provide power for the electric drive system.

Because of “range anxiety”, Posowatz predicted this type of system would continue to sell better than pure electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf.

Consumer Reports recently gave a failing grade to the FIsker Karma, which it said had a “cramped interior, poor visibility and a lack of oomph.”

“I always tell people that Consumer Reports is a great organization to evaluate your car as an appliance,” said Posawatz.

The Karma, Posawatz says, is more about style and technology. And because of that, it may not have the largest passenger compartment.

“We make a very special, unique car,” he said. “In order to accentuate styling, the design, the propulsion system, there are things you trade off.”

The goal is to make Fisker a public company, Posawatz says. He didn’t give a timetable on that. But, he also said that Fisker is looking at joint ventures with other automakers, to offset the expensive cost of electric technology.

Both Fisker and electric rival Tesla have turned to auto industry veterans, as their launches stumbled. Posawatz says that appears to be a winning strategy.

“The blending of some of the California Creativity, Silicon Valley technology, with some Detroit expertise, I think will be the best formula to make the best of capital here going forward.”

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Email: jdgilbert@cbs.com
Facebook: facebook.com/carchronicles
Twitter: @jefferygilbert

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