• May 14, 2008
Click above for more Fisker-supplied spy shots of the Karma

Isn't it fitting that Fisker Automotive's upcoming series-hybrid sports sedan is named Karma?. After having commissioned Fisker to help design its second product, the Whitestar sedan, Tesla Motors sued Fisker claiming it stole trade secrets that were then used on the Karma. Following that lawsuit, Tesla was then sued by Magna, one of its former transmission suppliers, Tesla's suit against Fisker came several weeks after Tesla themselves were sued by Magna Powetrain who had been contracted to develop a new transmission for the Roadster and now Fisker is slapping the upstart electric car company with its own arbitration suit. That's karma for you, right there.

Fisker will attempt to first derail Tesla's original lawsuit by seeking to have it moved from San Mateo, CA to Orange County, after which it will then try to prove that Tesla is attempting to divert attention away from its delayed all-electric Roadster by suing Fisker. To that end, Henrik Fisker himself called the whole mess "ridiculous" and referred to Tesla's behaviour as "sour grapes". An arbitrator will likely determine whether he's right or not, but until then we lowly consumers must await ramped up production of the Tesla Roadster and the eventual arrival of the Fisker Karma. Thanks for the tip, Doug!


[Source: CNET News]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      It really doesn't matter who sues who, we can't afford them anyway. I'll wait for the Think instead, it's more realistic.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Who killed the electric car? Tesla
      • 6 Years Ago
      Plug-in hybrid is not rocket science. Many small college-programs are making them with a few students.

      BTW, if Fisker were hired by Tesla to design the body structure instead of the drive component, then how can they steal the battery cooling technology from Tesla?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Design of body structure will inevitably involve important battery and drivetrain packaging details; he may have gotten a glimpse of other details in the progress, who knows. But it still seems to me it's mostly speculation by Tesla, doesn't seem like they have very strong evidence and I can't think of any obvious way to get evidence to prove their claims even if it was true, since Fisker never revealed the details on the tech inside the Karma.
        Again, we'll have to learn more as the story progresses; I agree with Cole Mitguard, Tesla should have protected themselves with a non-competition clause if they were willing to sue. But for Tesla's sake I hope they at least of some kind of strong evidence instead of just speculation or they will turn out to look very stupid for bringing a baseless lawsuit (may just be a PR stunt like Fisker is saying if that is the case). But, again, we can't judge yet this early in the case.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Gah. These two companies are going to ruin electric vehicles with all this litigation.

      The sooner they realize that they are better off without suing each other, the better.

      Maybe they should consolidate...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agree! They may sue each other out of business. There is no value added by lawyers, they are pure and simple...an overhead cost!
      • 6 Years Ago
      "it will then try to prove that Tesla is attempting to divert attention away from its delayed all-electric Roadster by suing Fisker."

      Bingo! Give that man a cigar and whatever else he's claiming in the lawsuit.
      • 6 Years Ago
      they should settle it with a race!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh, BTW, Tesler will probably be the LAST design contract freaking Fisker ever have!
      • 6 Years Ago
      While I hate sue happy companies, I think Tesla is right here.

      They asked Fisker to design them a car, Fisker apparently does a half ass job, then Fisker who has had no previous electric car experience comes out with a model that blows whatever they gave Tesla away. Seems to me like Fisker was in it just to get the expertise that Telsa has and make their own car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Seminole

        I'll tell you how Fisker design a plug in hybrid in less then 3 years, simple they hired someone else to do it...

        "Q-DRIVE, a system developed by Quantum Technologies that combines a four-cylinder engine sending power to a generator to propel the four-door sedan."

        http://www.qtww.com/

        So where are the merits for a lawsuit??what technology was stolen? Fisker is not even producing the technology thats going to power the Karma.


        Whats next??? Pininfarina is going to get sued by Volvo for designing a better design for a Ferrari then their Volvo C70??? Tesla has no case they are just a bunch of cry babies....Fisker has more experience in bringing a car to market then all the team at Tesla...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Again don't draw conclusions here, that was the point of the article, goes for you too, tankd0g. NO ONE in the public has seen anything about the Whitestar yet so we don't even have a basis to judge.

        @Herkimer
        He was referring to the whitestar, which no one has seen yet, so I don't think he can really say that it was half assed.
        • 6 Years Ago
        tankd0g,

        Fisker has been modifying BMW's and Mercedes since 2005. They have never built an electric vehicle before, plug in or hybrid. They partner with Tesla to design a car, then suddenly seem to have some pretty advanced plug in tech that would take a normal company years to develop. I'm not saying they stole the entire system from Tesla, but I'm pretty sure they looked at it for a lot of ideas. Tell me how a tiny company who has never ventured into the EV market can design, build, and bring to market a brand new vehicle in under 3 years without a little help from somewhere.


        Herkimer,

        I was just stating what the lawsuit by Tesla alleges about the supposed Whitestar sedan they commissioned Fisker to design. I was not referring to the Roadster.


        Jake,

        I said "apparently does a half ass job". I was merely going based off what the lawsuit alleges. I haven't seen the car, but it was bad enough that Tesla feels the need to sue. I also left out a word in my original post, it should read "While I hate sue happy companies, I think Tesla is right here to sue." It seems to me like they have a legitimate case that should be tried and aren't suing just to sue.


        • 6 Years Ago
        Semi: The Karma has more in common with a BMW than it does a Tesla. It has an ICE. Unless Tesla is sitting on some super secret hybrid technology they have not said a god damn word about, which seems very unlikely since the entire company is built on hype, then this whole lawsuit is complete BS. Most of what Tesla had in the works when Henrik was working for them has already broken and had to be redesigned several times. If the Karma is based off those designs then it's going to be a monumental POS.

        Tesla has three income streams:

        1. Deposits from duped customers that may never see delivery

        2. Lattes and T-Shirt sales at their electric car themed coffee shop.

        3. Suing people.

        Conspicuously absent: selling cars.

      • 6 Years Ago
      If the outcome is similar to the recent Toyota Hybrid decision Fisker will owe Teslar a lot of cash on any Karma that they sell.

      If Toyota can lose a patent case with a company they have never had contact with; it doesn't look like Fisker may have a chance with it lawsuit and counter-suit. It clearly worked with Teslar on a project that involves Technology that it may be use or may need to use in the future.

      AB seem to be saying that the case is only about design of the vehicle (which really would be subjective) but it seems that Teslar claims have more to do with both design and technology. I agree that the case has to proceed farther for us to really judge who may be at fault here.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The power plant for the Karma is not designed by Fisker therefore I cannot see how any litigation could involve trade secrets in that regard. The power plant is a wholey designed product of Quantum Technologies (QTWW). It is not particularly new technology for this company. It has a long history of producing these products and has current relationships with large automotive producers and the US Military which would reinforce this fact. I would suggest to anyone interested to take a few moments and study the Quantum webpage...listen to the latest conference call. Have fun with it. It is interesting as it relates to the current litigation(s).

        http://www.qtww.com/products/

        I come at this from another perspective. I was looking to buy a stock and in reading and studying about Quantum I discovered the connection between Quantum and Fisker. Is Fisker a high profile job for Quantum...sure. Is it the only job or Quantum...no. Is it the only reason I bought the stock...no. Do I hope it continues to go higher...yes...perhaps then I will be able to afford a Karma.

        Now...if this is about chassis design...what?...really?...huh? Fisker has designed many cars. Does this mean BMW or Aston Martin has a claim against Fisker? If thats true it tells me Fisker...a car designer, is only allowed to design for one car company his entire life.

        In any respect it will make for interesting drama for a couple months. In the mean time I have to figure a way to get a few more shares of Quantum before they to are out of reach for me.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How the times have not teated Tesla well. All that they wanted to do was create a car that would inspire other manufacturers to build electric cars, and show people that electric cars could be viable alternatives to standard cars, and look good doing it. However, after their bloody restructure earlier this year, and now this, things just have to be looking rather gloomy over there.

      Anyway, Im surprised that this is such a hard case. Fisker worked for Tesla.... then they come out with a car almost immediately after leaving the company. Didn't Tesla have some kind of non-competition agreement in their contract? If they didnt... some lawyer must have gotten the chop. Maybe I just dont understand this whole thing, but it seems obvious to me that something fishy was going on.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Translation from Denmark:
        The word "fisker" means "fishing" or "fisherman"
        • 6 Years Ago
        lol, yes, that was exactly what was on the tip of my tongue that I couldn't come up with...fisky
        • 6 Years Ago
        You mean, something Fisky ;)
    • Load More Comments