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Rumor has it that Fisker is announcing an alliance with another car company this week. Any ideas??
 

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Local dealer from which I bought my car. Was not discussed on the latest conference call but supposedly set for June 1.
 

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Hmm, not sure how I would feel about that. It seems a little early. Maybe if it were BMW or Audi, I'd feel better, but I like the idea of an independent California car company.
 

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I've always wondered if Chrysler would be a contender. They don't have an EV story the way Ford (Focus Electric) and GM (Chevy Volt) do, and Tom LaSorda probably didn't throw away his Roledex when he left them...
 

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I'm curious what the nature of such an alliance would be. Other than great styling (which is subjective), Fisker doesn't really offer any key technology as far as I'm aware.
 

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I might argue that Fisker has delivered one of the most unique cars ever built. It does happen to have great styling yet the package it comes in is on the edge of technology and innovation. Granted Fisker used many sources outside their backyard, yet their product really has no competition. And to start a car company from scratch one has to use outside parts, particularly if you need a gasoline engine! I'll give Tesla some props for their battery development though. If Fisker is seeking an alliance, I hope it doesn't dilute their potential. We could just as likely be commenting on some bogus rumor though. And if every person that looks at it is stunned by it's beauty, is it still subjective? lol. No disrespect intended. I'm just a happy Fisker owner.
 

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I actually hope it's true... I think it would add tons of stability to the brand. I suspect there are many on the fence right now, waiting to purchase until they feel confident the company will succeed. They have... (wait for it)... "concerns" about buying from a totally new car company, especially given all of the bad press. An alliance or merger with a major car company would help stabilize the brand and provide reassurance (and perhaps a parts network, etc) for prospective and existing owners to feel better about the long term future of the Karma.
 

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Ecodoc said:
I might argue that Fisker has delivered one of the most unique cars ever built. It does happen to have great styling yet the package it comes in is on the edge of technology and innovation
:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
 

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Fisker did not raise over $1B in private equity with the intent by either the company or the backers to get acquired at this early stage. They have only been booking revenue for 6 months. I doubt there will be any announcement of a merger.

On the other hand, a strategic investment from a well-regarded brand would be a positive but by no means necessary step forward.
 

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I was gonna say, maybe they'll get an investment from BMW and perhaps be allowed to use a variation of their iDrive system:

http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/05/bmw-idrive-4x/
 

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doug said:
I was gonna say, maybe they'll get an investment from BMW and perhaps be allowed to use a variation of their iDrive system:

http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/05/bmw-idrive-4x/
Now you're talking, Doug!! I love the iDrive on my 5-series and on my mom's 7-series--very intuitive and easy to control.
 

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Ecodoc said:
I might argue that Fisker has delivered one of the most unique cars ever built.
I don't disagree with you. Just saying (with objective detachment) that as of yet, I don't think Fisker has a key technology to sell or share with another company. All the main drivetrain components (motors, ICE, battery pack, etc) come from someone else. There is value in the knowledge of how to effectively integrate all those components into a system, but that was supposedly done by Quantum. What I've heard of the Nina/Atlantic drivetrain sounds more exciting and also sounds more in-house. So perhaps Fisker will be able to leverage that with future partners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I too have mixed feelings. I like the thought of stability of the brand. My biggest feare is Fisker going belly up and me being stuck with a $100K paper weight. However, I like the small start-up feel and nimbleness. Curious to see how this plays out.
 

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Tesla sold equity to Toyota right before they went public. The model for IPO success has been written. Just follow the instructions that are right in front of you.

What companies have not bought into tesla? They are the candidates to buy a stake in Fisker.
 

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doug said:
Just saying (with objective detachment) that as of yet, I don't think Fisker has a key technology to sell or share with another company. All the main drivetrain components (motors, ICE, battery pack, etc) come from someone else. There is value in the knowledge of how to effectively integrate all those components into a system, but that was supposedly done by Quantum. What I've heard of the Nina/Atlantic drivetrain sounds more exciting and also sounds more in-house. So perhaps Fisker will be able to leverage that with future partners.
I am not sure you can draw that conclusion from Fisker's use of off-the-shelf components. Remember that the overall control system has to be far more complex precisely because Fisker is using components in ways they were not originally designed to be used. In addition, a lot of the components are bespoke to Fisker, even though they come from a third party manufacturer (e.g, solar roof, command center, batteries, etc.). All of this means that Fisker had had to develop of fair amount of Intellectual Property (IP), either in-house or in conjunction with the third parties, to make the system work for Fisker's intended purpose.

One obvious example is the range extender. The Ecotec LNF was not designed for start/stop operation so Fisker sometimes has to use the generator as an electric starting motor to quickly spin the ICE up to speed and also to shut the ICE down as smoothly as possible when needed. This is very tricky and requires sophisticated control systems and software to pull off successfully and without damaging the generator, the motor, or the linkage. Fisker most likely owns, or at least co-owns that IP with Quantum. There are a lot of other examples throughout the car.

So there is a lot of IP here that would be useful to other companies if they are interested in getting into the plug-in hybrid business.

Going back to the initial premise, alliance is very broad concept and covers a very wide spectrum of cooperation and even assuming that the rumor is true, it is not clear where on the spectrum the level of cooperation would fall. I would agree with Dennis that an outright purchase of Fisker by another company seems very unlikely but I can see a joint development program or manufacturing licensing or a whole host of other possibilities that could make sense.

None of this is based on any facts or inside knowledge, since I don't have any. All of it is IMHO. [hr]
Michael said:
aston martin maybe:)
Fascinating idea, but Aston is barely keeping the doors open and can't really afford to pay big bucks to acquire anyone else. Although if they make a Fisker hybrid version of the DB9 Volante, I will be first in line with a deposit.
 

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Fabulist said:
doug said:
Just saying (with objective detachment) that as of yet, I don't think Fisker has a key technology to sell or share with another company. All the main drivetrain components (motors, ICE, battery pack, etc) come from someone else. There is value in the knowledge of how to effectively integrate all those components into a system, but that was supposedly done by Quantum. What I've heard of the Nina/Atlantic drivetrain sounds more exciting and also sounds more in-house. So perhaps Fisker will be able to leverage that with future partners.
I am not sure you can draw that conclusion from Fisker's use of off-the-shelf components. Remember that the overall control system has to be far more complex precisely because Fisker is using components in ways they were not originally designed to be used. In addition, a lot of the components are bespoke to Fisker, even though they come from a third party manufacturer (e.g, solar roof, command center, batteries, etc.). All of this means that Fisker had had to develop of fair amount of Intellectual Property (IP), either in-house or in conjunction with the third parties, to make the system work for Fisker's intended purpose.

One obvious example is the range extender. The Ecotec LNF was not designed for start/stop operation so Fisker sometimes has to use the generator as an electric starting motor to quickly spin the ICE up to speed and also to shut the ICE down as smoothly as possible when needed. This is very tricky and requires sophisticated control systems and software to pull off successfully and without damaging the generator, the motor, or the linkage. Fisker most likely owns, or at least co-owns that IP with Quantum. There are a lot of other examples throughout the car.
As I've said, certainly the integration of the system requires specific engineering and Fisker has likely learned a lot in that process. But as far as I can tell Fisker doesn't really own much IP. For example, Honda's IMA (as likely many other hybrid systems) does something similar to what you described above, so Fisker can't really own that idea even if it took them a lot of effort to get it to work.

Doing a quick patent search for Fisker Automotive yields twelve results. All are design patents with the claim, "The ornamental design for XX." Where XX is a key fob, or solar panel styling, wheel cover, exterior grill, push button shifter, etc.

Fabulist said:
So there is a lot of IP here that would be useful to other companies if they are interested in getting into the plug-in hybrid business.
If that were the goal, I think a company would be more likely to go with UQM, Azure Dynamics, or AC Propulsion, similar to how Fisker went with Quantum Technologies. But (for reasons I've given elsewhere) I'd go with any of those three over Quantum, and Fisker seems to have since given Quantum the boot.

Anyhow, as you say, the interpretation of "alliance" can be rather broad in scope. I suppose time will tell if there's any merit to the rumor.
 

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doug said:
But as far as I can tell Fisker doesn't really own much IP. ...
Doing a quick patent search for Fisker Automotive yields twelve results. All are design patents with the claim, "The ornamental design for XX." Where XX is a key fob, or solar panel styling, wheel cover, exterior grill, push button shifter, etc.
That's true, but remember that unlike a design patent, it typically takes 2-3 years for a utility patent to issue and 18 months for a patent application to be published. At the moment, there are two published utility applications on the patent office website with filing dates in 2011 and 2012, and without doubt there are additional patent applications in the pipeline that will start publishing in the next few months.

doug said:
Anyhow, as you say, the interpretation of "alliance" can be rather broad in scope. I suppose time will tell if there's any merit to the rumor.
Agreed. Time will tell.
 
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