Live Blogging: AlwaysOn On DC: Henry Fisker keynote (new automotive company)

He left BMW to start a next-generation car company, with high-end design and eco-friendly. He worked in the car industry for 20 years. He realized a new business model was needed to get cost of development down. Fisker Automotive has taken the time to development to be less than 5 years and $1 billion. Usually hundreds of millions are spent on building a factory before the cars are produced. They decided to spend all their money on the design, not on a factory. So their development costs are low, capex costs are low.

They have assembled a startup team with major talent from the automotive industry. Core management team has more than 100 years of experience. Director of Powertrain Engineering worked on Ford EV1. He mentioned several other board members and senior management team members with significant industry experience.

They are producing a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle. First 50 miles are battery only. Total range is 300 miles.

  • 100+ mpg equivalent
  • Over 300 miles range
  • 400 horsepower
  • Top speed of 125 miles per hour
  • Can choose driving option: Stealth and Sport Drive Modes plus Hill Descent (Regenerative Braking)

They have about 50 patents on the vehicle. If you drive less than 50 miles, you can go completely in electric mode. We have the only luxury vehicle where you can drive into an emission-free zone (he mentioned Berlin). Driver can choose which mode to drive in.

In a normal hybrid, the gasoline engine drives the wheels. In ours, the gasoline engine only charges the battery. So in the sub-50 mile range, our car uses no gasoline. 79% of US drivers on weekdays drive less than 50 miles per day.

Kleiner Perkins is our largest investor.

Goverment support. We applied for a loan from the Federal Government. We got approval for $528 million loan.

Plug-in hybrid market looks like it will be the fastest growing.

Consumer incentives to buy a plug-in hybrid. $7500 federal tax credit if the battery is big enough. In the rest of the world, there are a lot of incentives as well, such as the elimination of car taxes based on our low level of CO2 emissions. In Beijing, you can only drive electric scooters in the city — no fuel vehicles allowed.

Our Karma, we hope will take about 3% of the plug-in hybrid market. Our car will be delivered started next June. We have pre-sold 1,500 cars so far. Our customers come from premium brands mainly — 60%. Mainly BMW and Mercedes. 3% are former Prius owners.

Our vehicle competes with BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Audi. Eco-Standard is $80,400. Eco-Sport is $87,400. Eco-Chic is $98,900.

Some customers have asked for animal-free auto. What that meant was no leather. So they have a model that is based on Italian design that doesn’t use any leather.

He believes the only way we will get more people into eco-friendly cars is to create a beautiful vehicle that buyers will be passionate about.

We have created the world’s largest solar roof. It can cool down the interior while you are gone, or recharge the battery while you are gone. You can get a couple free miles per day on a sunny day. We use reclaimed wood trim, world’s first automotive 10.5% multifunction touchscreen. We can add new functionality by reprogramming this.

We have selected 45 premium retailers in the U.S. market to sell this vehicle. Our dealers all own multiple dealerships. He showed a map of the dealers in the U.S. Plans to expand to 100. (There were several in California and one in Las Vegas.)

For a small company like us, we need media attention. Fortunately there is a lot of coverage of plug-in hybrids. We believe in putting vehicles into films and other alternative ads, rather than traditional ad campaigns.

The majority of the US loan ($360 million) will go to the creation of a smaller, affordable vehicle by 2012. Factory will be in the U.S. It will be retooled. Goal will be to manufacture 100,000 vehicles per year. We plan to export more than 50% of these vehicles. This will leverage 62% of the design and engineering of the initial Karma K1 platform. Targeted price point is $39,900 USD net of $7,500 tax credit.

We are starting with a $80,000 car, going down to a $40,000 model, but hopefully we will go down more than that in the future eventually. We hope to become a large and significant player in the world as we build a brand that is a pure green brand. In a few years we expect competition from Lexus and BMW, but we want to build a brand that is only delivering green cars.

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  1. Henrik Fisker Gives Keynote Presentation at AlwaysOn OnDC. | Fisker Car Forum

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