Tesla Sues Fisker over Fisker Karmas Design

Fisker Karma Hybrid Sedan

Just when you thought it was safe to take your low-production, may-or-may-not-happen, hybrid four-door back to the drawing board.

The New York Times reported today that Elon Musk's Tesla Motors has filed suit against one of its former contractors. The lawsuit contends that Danish; designer Henrik Fisker -- yes, that Henrik Fisker, he of BMW Z8 and Aston Martin DB9 fame -- stole valuable company design ideas and trade secrets.

Along with his partner, Bernhard Koehler, Fisker was hired by Tesla to design the company's perpetually delayed White Star hybrid sedan. The meat of Tesla's lawsuit claims that Koehler and Fisker intentionally sabotaged Tesla's design, then modified the design for their own purposes, resulting in the Fisker Karma hybrid sedan that debuted at the Detroit show this year.

Is it merely a coincidence that Fisker's Karma-a so-called "serial hybrid," or a vehicle in which a gasoline engine acts as a generator for a set of drive batteries and not primary propulsion itself-and Tesla's White Star utilize the same fundamental technology? Or that the affable, gentlemanly Fisker has a long history of rankling others in the industry? Or is it indicative of something greater? We're not sure. Suffice it to say that a lawsuit like this comes off as little more than petty squabbling-and it provides little incentive to elevate either Fisker or Tesla into the "real manufacturer" realm that both companies have long wanted to operate in.

Source: New York Times

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