Published June 23, 2012
By Jeff Cobb
Yesterday Fisker Automotive’s first major national ad campaign appeared in the form of a multi-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal.
The ad essentially touts Fisker’s having brought “the first four-door luxury electric vehicle to market,” as Fisker says, “while acknowledging the challenges that accompany all new pioneering technologies.”
Henrik Fisker, executive chairman and chief designer commented on his namesake company’s accomplishments while alluding also to obstacles it has had to overcome.
“Launching a new car company is a difficult enough challenge on its own and one that is rarely attempted, let alone also trying to establish a new brand with a revolutionary new product and technology,” he said. “We have made steady progress and won several prestigious awards for our game-changing Karma model.
“But changing the market is never a risk-free enterprise,” Fisker continued. We have faced multiple challenges, which have created skepticism about our ambitions – especially in uncertain economic times. But we are building a business for the future by pursuing sustainable luxury without compromise.”
Fisker’s comments echo previous statements by company representatives that have said despite minor recalls, delays, loss of the remainder of a U.S. Energy Department loan – among other issues – the company’s intention and business plan remain good.
While Fisker describes its car as the first four-door luxury EV, it actually is an extended-range EV meaning it mirrors the Chevy Volt by utilizing a gasoline-powered generator to back up the plug-in series hybrid’s electric range.
The Wall Street Journal spread also happened to be launched the same day as the Tesla’s all-electric Model S following a ceremony at its Fremont, Calif. assembly plant open to media and guests.
The two California-based green car start-up companies are similar in a number of ways, including that their sedans share svelte styling and are priced in the high five/low six figure range – although Tesla’s Model S versions generally cost less unless one opts for a well-equipped 85-kwh model.
In Fisker’s favor is no “range anxiety” due to its 260-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged GM Ecotec engine, but then again, with somewhere around 265-300 miles EV range for the 85-kwh Model S, a new benchmark has been set by Tesla that stands to significantly mitigate potential anxiety.
Fisker and Tesla also have in common that they received low-interest federal loans, although Tesla has not had its $465 million loan suspended – and is already planning to pay it back – while Fisker has fought to have around 60 percent of its $529 million loan restored after being cut off due to missed production deadlines.
That notwithstanding, others have privately invested in Fisker to the tune of over $1 billion, and Karma sales have generated over $100 million in revenues to date.
Aside from these pros and cons – and similarities and differences – both companies offer promise, and the jury is most definitely still out on both, even if some politically motivated critics have already cast their votes.
If you can't read the handwritten text, it says:
New isn’t easy.
History will tell you the new path is often the most difficult.
Discovery, far more work than settling.
But history will also tell you there are always a few who simply don’t care.
They don’t care that pushing forward is 4,000 times harder than being pulled along.
They don’t care that giant leaps require more than a single step.
And they don’t care that not everyone is behind them.
Because they know the doubters aren’t the builders.
The critics are never the creators.
And the skeptics, rarely the inventors.
When we set out to redefine and reshape how the
world thinks about cars, we knew it wouldn’t be easy.
And despite our many firsts, accomplishments, and accolades, it hasn’t been.
But that’s alright.
Building the future never is.