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TJ McDermott
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Like the space race?
TJ McDermott   3/13/2012 10:41:11 AM
One could make an analogy to the space race in the 1960s.  Both from the standpoint of government money being pumped into the venture, and from the standpoint of "ours always blow up" (nod to Tom Wolfe).

Half a billion dollars for luxury vehicle RD&D?  I'm a bit dismayed to hear this.  As with other commenters to this article, my congress-critter and senators will feel the depth of my support when I vote for their opponents.

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Re: $100 Fisker Karma EV
akwaman   3/13/2012 10:13:32 AM
Droid.  Stop watching FOX.  You are obviously brainwashed into thinking that we are wasting tax payer dollars on this technology.  We waste far more money in the tax breaks we give to oil companies that are making 10s of billions of dollars/year.  In addition to that waste, they (the senate and house) waste tons of our money and time with the oil issue.  The oil companies have far too much money and power, and the whole goal of alternative power is to free the public from the corruption and pollution of big oil.  

You are dreaming (or watching FOX and/or listening to NEWT) when you say you think that any realistic person (even proponents of Alternative Energy) thinks that everyone will own an electric in 5-10 years.  The only people that talk like that are oil barons (and their minions) trying to trick you into fighting their battle.  If we do nothing, then it will NEVER happen.

Droid:  One last point to answer your question:  EV technology, while new, is way less complicated and needs far less maintenance than internal combustion engines and conventional vehicles.  With any new technology, there will be engineering mistakes, you can't blame the technology, it is sound and simple in comparison.  If you read the article instead of spouting off immediately, you would have read that there are ~500 of those EVs on the road in consumers hands and have been for some time.


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First round KO?
Watashi   3/13/2012 10:11:16 AM
First, I would like to acknowledge Fisker for attempting to make a hybrid interesting.

Unfortunately, a high profile failure of a key component, in a start-up's premier product could very well kill the company.  It is not like high-end car companies haven't ever dealt with unreliable vehicles and survived; anyone remember the early Jaguars?  But in this case, consumers expect a much higher reliability.  Jag survived because all early British sports cars were notoriously temperamental.

The silver lining here is that it is designed for a smaller market where vanity purchases are common.  It is one of the only eco-car options available that gives very good looks with (assumed) decent performance.  I don't think the Hollywood owners will have a problem with it failing every now and then, as long as they can be seen in it occasionally to show that they are green and still cool.

(Personal disclosure - I have only owned one vehicle with less than a V-8, and had it less than a year).

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Re: $100 Fisker Karma EV
akwaman   3/13/2012 9:59:32 AM
EV is used to describe a car that is propelled by battery alone.  As I understand the technology, the engines in these vehicles like the Volt, are there to charge the batteries which actually propel the vehicle.  So yes... they are "EV" class cars, with the added ability to increase the milage between charges (or fill-ups).  A true hybrid is a vehicle, like the Prius, that will actually use the motor and the engine to propel the vehicle at the same time.  PKONING:  Get the chip off your shoulder and realize that the biggest complaint and issue holding back this (EV) technology is that people want a range of more than 50-60miles.  Be happy we are going in the right direction.  As battery densities increase, we can expect to rely less on the 'generator' aspect of these vehicles, but it may never go away entirely. 

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Re: $100 Fisker Karma EV
Droid   3/13/2012 9:49:19 AM
I agree and appreciate the fact that Design News published the truth on this. The fact that taxpayers money is being thrown into this is disturbing.  Electric cars will be viable eventually, however, this appears to be just one of several "feel-good" green  boon-doggles to come along.

Electrics have been in development off/on since early on in the last century - so I'm not sure why we expect them to magically appear in everyone's driveway in the next 5-10 years.

On a final point, I would like to know if we can differentiate between problems directly related to the challenges of building an electric vehicle based on new technology VERSUS general engineering design flaws?  In other words, could we foresee this company making similar mistakes had they set out to build a more conventional automobile, or are these flaws all specifically related to challenges of the new technology?

Greg Swartz
User Rank
Re: $100 Fisker Karma EV
Greg Swartz   3/13/2012 9:47:04 AM
Most likely the system has a board that contains more than a few diodes and parts to control the high voltage.  Infant mortality is one of the first places to search on a new board or system.  This is why a lot of firms burn boards in before deployment.  Combining boards and systems from several manufacturers will result in this type of failure if the QA is not held up.  Not defending Fiskar.  They should have systems in place to ISO 900x that would have caught the defective part.

Patrick Harris
User Rank
Outsourcing Manufacturing
Patrick Harris   3/13/2012 9:41:53 AM
First the DOE awards $0.5 billion to a company that's building luxury cars in Finland then GM, which is partly owned by DOT, buys a 7% stake in French automaker Peugeot. Peugeot hasn't sold cars in the U.S. since 1991. No wonder unemployment is not decreasing. We keep shipping jobs overseas and the U.S. government is the biggest culprit.

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Re: $100 Fisker Karma EV
pkoning   3/13/2012 9:35:01 AM
It would be good to have accurate article headlines.

The Fisker isn't an EV, no more than the Volt is.  I know the media have been given a snowjob by GM Marketing, but it would be good for writers to show some independent judgment and describe these devices correctly.  Fisker and GM both build hybrids, not EVs.  If you want an EV, you have to go to Tesla or Nissan.

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Message for Start up Companies
Mydesign   3/12/2012 11:37:50 PM
1 saves
"It's just really difficult for a startup company on its first car to get everything right. But this is a little bit beyond that."

Exactly Charles, new or startup companies are trying to competitive with the existing technology or global players. We have to motivate and encourage such startup companies in full heart and then only they can be more fruitful. For any startup company the best lesson is learning from others failures.

Jon Titus
User Rank
No market for this dud
Jon Titus   3/12/2012 7:23:36 PM
It seems this type of vehicle appeals only to people who have high incomes and lots of money to throw around.  I doubt it would make any difference if the Fisker Karma cost $100K or $250K; they'd still buy one for the "cool aura" or "novelty" effect on others. There's no reason for the taxpayers to subsidize these buyers.  If the Fisker Karma was a good idea, people already would have raised private capital and invested it in this company.  They didn't, which should have given people in government the idea that a "loan" would not pay off. Why do we continue to elect people who pass legislation that allows for this type of subsidy?  Time to clean out the Augean Stables, a.k.a. the Capitol and White House.  Vote smart.

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