As start-ups often have to contend with, bad press seems to have been following Fisker Automotive, wild accusations of the inherent safety problems with large rechargeable batteries. In the end, even the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration [NHSTA] has debunked these, but Fisker has been working hard to dispel myths such as these since its inception.
Fisker Karma, and planned models Surf and Atlantic, also have one thing in common, luxury and price. Fisker doesn’t offer what some would consider an “entry-level” vehicle, instead offering luxury extended range electric vehicles [EV] in the $50,000 to $100,000 range. Part of what you get is, of course, luxury and high technology interior, but once you add the rechargeable battery packs and electric motors, it’s not hard to see why the price is so high, and why they aren’t finding their way into the average consumer’s driveway.
Fisker has apparently pushed back development and release of the Atlantic, which was expected to start at $50,000, still out of the range of many consumers. Instead, Fisker could be looking to release an entry-level EV in the $30,000 to $40,000 range, which might be able to compete with the Chevy Volt in terms of range, economy, and price. Focusing on a smaller, less expensive vehicle will also give Fisker a chance to reach a wider market.
Currently, Fisker Automotive is looking for a development partner, which may be Chrysler, which until now, still doesn’t have a single hybrid vehicle, not even in development. Former Fisker CEO Tom LaSorda is a former Chrysler executive, and is still on the Fisker advisory board, and so this may give Fisker the pull needed to work out a deal to co-develop and entry-level EV.