Hybrid car maker Fisker, builder of the troubled Karma, has already been plagued by alleged battery fires, federal investigations and a government loan freeze. Now, according to information leaked to InsideEvs.com, it will be delaying the launch of its second, more affordable model, the Atlantic.
Launch delayed a year
Fisker said at the New York Auto Show last month that it would have the Atlantic in showrooms sometime next year. However, according to the leaked documents, Fisker has informed its investors that the launch will be delayed, by perhaps as much as a year.
When asked to comment on the leaked information, a spokesperson for Fisker told AutoblogGreen:
“As these documents are obviously leaked investor documents and highly confidential, I am not prepared to comment any further.”
Bad karma for Fisker
The automaker has been plagued with a series of problems, which may also have contributed to the delayed production timeline.
DOE Loan freeze
Fisker failed to meet certain Karma production milestones required to keep its $529 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. The leaked documents indicate that Fisker and the DOE have worked out their differences, however, and that the rest of its loan money should start rolling in by late summer.
There have also been allegations that the Karma’s lithium-ion battery pack can overheat and cause engine fires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched more than one investigation into the matter.
Just last month, a Fisker Karma was blamed for a fire that burned down a garage in a Sugarland, Texas. Fisker, however, denies that its car was responsible because the battery remained intact after the blaze and the vehicle had not been charging at the time of the incident.
A series of layoffs followed Fisker’s funding delays, leaving the Newport, Del., plant, in the words of a former employee, “absolutely empty.” The plant was gearing up to produce the Atlantic.
Recently, there has been speculation that the automaker may not build the Atlantic in Delaware after all. However, the leaked documents confirmed that the Atlantic will, indeed, be made at the former General Motors plant.
The automaker now wants to have Atlantic prototypes ready by mid-2013, and full production to begin sometime in 2014.
Specs for Atlantic
The Karma was priced at $103,000. The Atlantic will be priced at about half that, estimated at between $47,000 and $60,000. According to leaked specs, it will use a turbocharged four-cylinder 300 horsepower BMW engine to supplement its lithium-ion battery-driven motor. The information also said it will go from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.