Henrik Fisker has a history with BMW, and his new company is about to get a future with the German automaker, as well. Fisker Automotive announced today the signing of an exclusive agreement with BMW that calls for the German automaker to supply its remarkable turbocharged four-cylinder engines (pictured) – along with "other components" – to Fisker for "future models."

Fisker says BMW will initially supply the turbo'd four-banger for the automaker's upcoming vehicles that fall under the tentative code name of "Project Nina," which are scheduled to enter the production cycle in late 2012 and be available globally in 2013. (This, of course, may change.)

This agreement calls for BMW to manufacture up to 100,000 engines a year for Fisker, with the first of the turbo'd fours showing up in what Fisker says will be a mid-size premium sedan with extended-range technology. As far as we know, not many people outside Fisker have seen the Nina. One who has is Vice President Joe Biden, who said "it looks like a four-door Ferrari, I can't believe it's only going to be $40,000."

Fisker Automotive's Chief Executive Officer, Henrik Fisker, commented, "The BMW engine was an obvious choice for us, as BMW is known for producing the best and most fuel efficient gasoline engines in the world." Meanwhile, Bernhard Koehler, Fisker's Chief Operating Officer, added that this deal truly combines Fisker's "Pure Driving Passion" with BMW's "Ultimate Driving Machine."
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Fisker Automotive Signs Supplier Agreement With BMW

ANAHEIM, Calif., Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Fisker Automotive announced today the signing of an agreement with BMW that will cover the supply of engines and other components for future Fisker models.

BMW will supply a four-cylinder turbocharged engine for the next generation of Fisker cars, code-named 'Project Nina', which are scheduled to go into production in the re-commissioned former GM plant in Wilmington, Delaware at the end of 2012 and be on sale globally in 2013.

The agreement calls for up to 100,000 engine units per year at peak volume.

The first 'Project Nina' derivative will be a mid-size premium sedan utilizing Fisker's EVer™ (electric vehicle with extended range) technology to deliver on Fisker's corporate vision of Uncompromised Responsible Luxury.

Fisker 's CEO and Executive Design Director, Henrik Fisker, comments; "The BMW engine was an obvious choice for us, as BMW is known for producing the best and most fuel efficient gasoline engines in the world. We are very pleased to have signed this agreement with BMW."

Fisker's Chief Operating Officer, Bernhard Koehler, adds; "This is an important agreement for Fisker. We are focused on building environmentally responsible cars that deliver Pure Driving Passion to our discerning customers. Who better to be a part of this exciting 'recipe' than BMW – the makers of the Ultimate Driving Machine?"

California-based Fisker Automotive recently established a European office in Munich, Germany and has publicly stated that both the Fisker Karma Sedan and 'Project Nina' lines are global vehicles with sales likely to be split equally in the US and Europe (40) providing the remainder.

ABOUT FISKER AUTOMOTIVE, INC.

Fisker Automotive is an American car company, founded in 2007, committed to producing electric vehicles with extended range (EVer) that deliver Uncompromised Responsible Luxury™. The Fisker Karma Sedan is the world's first premium electric plug-in hybrid representing the company's firm belief that environmentally conscious cars need not sacrifice passion, style, or performance. Fisker Automotive is a global company that is redefining luxury for the modern sports car buyer. For more information on the brand and the Fisker Karma sedan, please go to http://fiskerautomotive.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      I thought the Nina was going to be more radical but sounds like they are just making a slightly smaller Karma. basically a Volt with better styling. it wouldn't be my first choice. same with this POS motor. the smallest 4 banger BMW has seems to be a 1.6. which is bigger than the Volt's and the Volt is a pig already. and the Karma is a fat pig. but even though I really don't care for the engineering choices, knowing how important the look of a car is, it might sell fine if it looks many times better than the Volt. and for Fisker that's not a tall order. I would either go pure electric or look for a 2 or 3 cylinder from maybe Fiat (never Lotus if they are expensive) or better yet develop an ICE from scratch. several improvements could be made like rocker pistons, revolver valves and atkinson cycle or even variable compression (but probably keep it simple). super light, super compact, super efficient. above 50% would be elegant. 1 or 2 cylinders. just enough power for comfortable cruise of a light car. combine with really good aero and it will comfortably surpass 100mpg. done really well it could reach 200. but of course the primary drive would be battery electric
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      BMW's remarkable 4-banger? What's remarkable about BMW's 4-banger?
        HVH20
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Its got a Turbo?
        Peter
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        This is making a virtue of a necessity. GM won't be making the Cobalt SS engine for much longer and that engine is both coarse and has no real cachet. The way Fisker uses it (as a generator) it doesn't really matter what engine they choose. As DF would say the BMW 4 is still too big (and thus heavy and inefficient regardless of the spin) for this type of purpose. In the US you just need to be able to maintain a legal top speed going uphill. The battery, if large enough, should be able to provide the additional amperage to give kick in the pants for a few seconds of passing or 0-60 (if you insist).
          throwback
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Peter
          "In the US you just need to be able to maintain a legal top speed going uphill." Not when you are selling a luxury performance sedan. Fisker is a premium brand, luxury customers have different expectations than EV proponents.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Peter
          Oh please, coarse. Give me a break. Why don't you just say it's of low breeding and leave it at that? GM isn't doing to discontinue their 2.0L turbo engines any time soon, they are selling them in the Regal right now, it sells thousands a month, far more than the Cobalt+HHR+Sky+Solstice SSes did put together. I also am skeptical that either 4-banger is going to make the Fisker an efficient vehicle.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Biden says, 'This is a big effing deal!'
        EVnerdGene
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        BiteMe Biden is a real class act. What he knows about cars, and business; you could print on the end of a toothpick.
      EVnerdGene
      • 3 Years Ago
      so the US government loans Frisker money so he can import stuff
        Spiffster
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        Was thinking the same thing. Why not an ecoboost or an ecotec built here in the US... WTF! BMW does make a great engine, but everything else attached to it breaks, I know from personal experience.
      mchlrus1
      • 3 Years Ago
      What happened to using the Cobalt ss engine? Just use the components from it.
      Spiffster
      • 3 Years Ago
      40k after tax break, with an imported engine... go F yourself Fisker, any tax paying citizen of the US should feel cheated. 40k minus the tax break, then we may have something here.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spiffster
        Spiffster, nearly all vehicles built anywhere in the world, have imported components from different countries of origin. Building an engine plant, and developing a suitable engine, to produce 20,000 units annually, just isn't cost effective for a new auto-maker. Fisker hopes to export the Nina, and naturally believe that some initial sales fears will be relieved by piggybacking off BMW's high quality, reputation..
          letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Rotation Unfortunately, it is impossible to prove or disprove your comment, because Fisker is a private company and doesn't have to release their financials. However, Tesla is a public company, and we can see how the draw down of funding from the ATVM loan program works: "Department of Energy Loan Facility On January 20, 2010, we entered into a loan facility with the Federal Financing Bank (FFB), and the Department of Energy (DOE), pursuant to the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Incentive Program (the DOE Loan Facility). Under the DOE Loan Facility, the FFB has made available to us two multi-draw term loan facilities in an aggregate principal amount of up to $465.0 million, which will be available to finance up to 80% of the costs eligible for funding for the powertrain engineering and the build out of a facility to design and manufacture lithium-ion battery packs, electric motors and electric components and the development of, and to build out the manufacturing facility for, our Model S sedan. Under the DOE Loan Facility, we are responsible for the remaining 20% of the costs eligible for funding under the ATVM Program for the projects as well as any cost overruns for each project. Loans may be requested under the facilities until January 22, 2013, and we have committed to complete the projects being financed prior to such date. The DOE Loan Facility contains customary operational and financial covenants with which we must comply, and impose restrictions on, among other things, additional indebtedness, liens, various fundamental changes to our business (including mergers and acquisitions), payments, expenditures, investments, transactions with affiliates, and other aspects regarding the management of our finances. We are currently in compliance with these covenants. In addition to our obligation to fund a portion of the project costs as described above, we agreed to, and upon completion of our IPO, set aside $100 million to fund a separate dedicated account under our DOE Loan Facility. This dedicated account can be used by us to fund any cost overruns for our powertrain and Model S manufacturing facility projects and is used as a mechanism to defer advances under the DOE Loan Facility. This will not affect our ability to draw down the full amount of the DOE loans, but will require us to use the dedicated account to fund certain project costs upfront, which costs may then be reimbursed by loans under the DOE Loan Facility once the dedicated account is depleted, or as part of the final advance for the applicable project. We will be required to deposit a portion of these reimbursements into the dedicated account, in an amount equal to up to 30% of the remaining project costs for the applicable project, and these amounts may similarly be used by us to fund project costs and cost overruns and will similarly be eligible for reimbursement by the draw-down of additional loans under the DOE Loan Facility once used in full...
          Spiffster
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          The loan was $528.7 million dollars. "$359.36 million will go toward producing Fisker’s Project Nina, which will be entirely manufactured in the United States." Fisker was only going to build "project Nina" on the condition that they would receive this loan. So really what I should have said was that "Project Nina" is mostly funded by US government loans. Furthermore it can be said that its fruition (Project Nina) is the RESULT of the loans.
          Spiffster
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Thats great and makes perfect sense for typical car companies but we are talking about a company that is currently funded mostly by the US government... my Fusion Hybrid had a transmission from japan, that fact didnt bother me at all. Hell, the thing was built in Mexico (probably to avoid excessive UAW overhead). I find it hard to believe this was the IDEAL engine to go with. Another GM engine (like the one in the Karma) would have been just fine. Why didnt they go with a BMW engine in the Karma? It makes no sense... palms are being greased at the expense of what should be middle class customers. Also consider that BMW parts are insanely expensive, I found myself buying plenty of them to keep my POS 2003 BMW 325i running. Sure the engine never failed, but everything connected to it did, and it had 86k miles when I cut my losses. If this thing is 40k I will gladly eat my words... BTW pricing something with tax breaks included is incredibly lame, that practice needs to end yesterday.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          letstakeawalk: They have utilized their loans, not just been approved. As to them being half funded by private sources, this is required by the DoE plan. It's weird, but it requires the companies something like 115% of the cash raised through the loans on hand. So if they used the loans and spent it, they'd be in violation and unable to get more loans. So they instead raise matching funds, which is pretty easy to do when you have the government money. You just tell the investors not to worry, that if the company goes bust the government will lose their money and the private investors will get their money back from the cash on hand.
          letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          "but we are talking about a company that is currently funded mostly by the US government..." Mostly? The government loan, while huge at more than half a billion dollars - is less than half of the total amount raised by Fisker. Not withstanding their intent to continue raising private capital with an IPO (just like Tesla did). Sorry, but Fisker is most definitely "mostly" funded by private capital; cash they have on hand, which is quite a bit different from a loan promise from the government that they *might* draw from, if they so choose.
          letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          (cont.) ...or as part of the final advance for the applicable project. Through June 30, 2011, we have transferred $88.7 million from the dedicated account to our operating cash accounts in accordance with the provisions of the DOE Loan Facility. As of June 30, 2011 and December 31, 2010, $11.3 million and $73.6 million remained in the dedicated account, respectively. As we expect to transfer the remainder of this balance within one year, we have classified such cash as current restricted cash on the condensed consolidated balance sheets. Pursuant to our DOE Loan Facility, we were not required to hold any portion of the net proceeds from the public offering and the concurrent private placements completed in June 2011 in a separate dedicated account." It's easy to understand the the loans are not disbursed in one lump sum - as you suggest - but that they are drawn upon as needed to make the investment needed at a specific time (to buy machinery, to lease manufacturing space, etc.) Likewise, it's also easy to see that the DoE loan requires that in certain cases the private capital be utilized first. Tesla received their loan guarantee (just like Fisker has) but has not yet drawn down the full amount that they have been authorized to borrow. If you have specific information to back up your claim the Fisker has fully drawn down their loan, then please provide it. Otherwise, we must assume they're operation follows a pattern similar to Tesla, and the Fisker will draw upon the loan for specific purposes at specific times in their production path.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          I think it's become very clear with the passing of time that Fisker is indeed funded primarily by private capital. It has since been realized that Fisker only received loans for the Karma in the amount of approx $165 million, and only $20 million was disbursed for the Nina program. *All* of the Nina development was done with private funds, as evidenced by the fact that the DoE didn't release the loans to Fisker that were intended for the Nina program. Sorry Spiffster and Rotation, but time has shown how incorrect you were.
        swoboda
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spiffster
        Maybe you're like the Bush family and good buddies with the Al Saud family. The Saudis aren't my friends however. The sooner we can reduce imported oil with the current 80 cents on the dollar subsidy the better. If you actually had to pay the true price of imported oil at the pump hybrid, EV ext range and pure EV would already be outcompeting the terrorist supporting gas and diesel vehicles in this country.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Fisker's model is to use the gas engine as a generator for the electric motor that runs the drivetrain. A bit overkill for an engine that doesn't even move the car. Turbo-charged, too---seriously? Get a cheap, reliable, low maintenance 4-banger in there. "Exclusive" deal would seem to hurt Fisker more. Now if they are moving from their EVer model to true Hybrid--good move, otherwise, what's the point?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Seriously? Could there be a more expensive, unnecessarily overpowered engine? I know it's not for me to say because this is an engineering and cost decision by Fisker, but it sure seems that a car with one of these engines AND batteries AND motors and electronics AND low-volume chassis and body pieces cannot be sold at a profit for $40K. Hell, you've got Coda killing themselves to come in at just over $40K using low-end off-the-shelf chassis and body pieces and mid-class motor, electronics, and batteries. Built in China. Why aren't true series PHEVs going with something like the light, simple, purpose-built Lotus range extender (http://www.lotuscars.com/engineering/en/lotus-range-extender-engine)? From an engineering perspective, aside from climbing up the Sierras at 70MPH (and even that can be handled by manual or automatic direction to anticipate battery state of charge needs), I have no idea why more than a 50HP (or less, conceivably, with good anticipation) engine power would be necessary -- consider that on level ground at 60MPH with no AC, a reasonably sized, mid-weight, reasonably aerodynamic car only needs 20HP to push it along (a Prius only needs about 15HP). Well, good luck to Fisker, but I don't feel great about my government loan guarantee. I like the loan guarantee program and believe it necessary to compete in the manufacturing world today, but who picks these things?
        letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        "I know it's not for me to say because this is an engineering and cost decision by Fisker, but it sure seems that a car with one of these engines AND batteries AND motors and electronics AND low-volume chassis and body pieces cannot be sold at a profit for $40K." The Karma's Q-Drive costs $4.1k for the first 6,500, and will gradually go down to a low of $3.2k once 30,000 have been made. The NINA's drivetrain is similar, but simplified. The Karma also incorporates a solar panel in that supplier price - we don't know if the NINA will have a PV roof, but costs there should also go down. Likewise, the NINA will be built in the 100's of thousands, vs. the tens of thousands for Karma. We don't yet know what sort of chassis the NINA will have, but unibody vs. space frame seems like a reasonable move, and will likewise reduce costs. Simply put, what you don't know about the NINA is just about everything that you'd need to know to come up with a reasonable projection of cost.
          letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          Google it, you genius. (hint - it's in the supplier's quarterly report)
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          where do you have the Q drive prices from?
        paulwesterberg
        • 3 Years Ago
        I agree the lotus engine is a perfect example of purpose driven engineering rather than bean-counter driven engineering. Lightweight, simple, reliable.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Wait - a British engine? Reliable? Is this Bizarro World? Hello!
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          paulwesterberg: There have been 0 of those Lotus engines you speak of sold. How can you call it reliable? There's absolutely no information to back this up.
      letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, it's nice to see another piece of the NINA project becoming formalized. While many might prefer to nitpick this particular engine, they should be happy to read that contracts for NINA suppliers are being lined up. Kudos to Fisker, can't wait for the NINA reveal!
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