A123 Systems, Fisker Automotive’s advanced battery supplier, is already delivering battery packs that will power Fisker’s first Karma sedans, A123’s CEO, David Vieau, said in a 5 p.m. conference call with analysts.
A123, an MIT spinoff in Watertown, Mass., reported widening second-quarter losses after the close of the market Tuesday. The company lost $34.2 million, or 33 cents per share, in the three months ended in June, compared with $21.9 million, or $2.36 a share, a year ago. Sales were $22.6 million, up from $19.7 million last year.
As many as a couple hundred of Fisker’s Karma sedans — $88,000 plug-in hybrids — could be built before the end of the year by a contractor in Finland. Fisker expects to ramp to full production by February, and produce 14,000 cars in 2011. Eventually, by 2016, Fisker has said it will relocate production of its Karma to the former GM plant near Newport. Fisker bought the plant last month from GM’s bankruptcy account for $18 million, plus $2 million for equipment inside. Fisker has said it will begin producing its second car, the Project Nina sedan, in Delaware in mid-2012. It has yet to unveil the Nina sedan, and isn’t expected to do so until early 2012.
Analyst estimates about Fisker’s 2011 production numbers are less optimisic than the company’s own — not suprisingly. Barclays Capital analyst Vishal Shah, in a recent report on A123, estimated that Fisker would only produce 5,000 cars next year. Shah acknowledged, however, that dealers in the U.S. and Europe were seeing “very strong” demand for the car, with one dealer taking 40 pre-orders in a single night. Fisker, Shah reported, has recorded between 2,500 and 3,000 Karma pre-orders.
In other news out of today’s earnings release, A123 said it has struck a deal to supply high-tech batteries to a “major auto manufacturer” that is getting into the electric car business. Naturally, A123 would not diclose the company’s name.
A123, it’s worth noting, is a primary beneficiary of the federal government’s effort to grow an electric car industry in the U.S. The company was awarded a $249 million stimulus grant last year, which it has been using to redevelop one production facility in Livonia, Mich. and to build another about 13 miles away in Romulus.