Tesla appears to have finally cleared the major hurdles in getting cars out the door, but the biggest challenge may still be looming. Henrik Fisker hasn’t sold a single car yet, but he intends to build his products right in Tesla’s niche.
CEO Elon Musk
He’s been called an egomaniac, but if you’d made nearly $200 million on Web startups by your early thirties, you’d probably think a lot of yourself, too. Not content just selling cars, Musk is also in the rocket-building business.
Current Car: Roadster $110,950
Future Car: Model S sedan, $57,400
U.S. Dealers: 9. Aiming for a consistent look and service, all stores are owned by Tesla.
Industry Connections: Daimler recently bought a 10% stake and will use the Roadster’s batteries in the electric Smart.
# of cars Sold to date: 1000+
Over The Top: Tesla’s Roadster 2.0 Sport does 0 to 60 mph in a claimed 3.7 seconds.
Star POWER: George Clooney bought one of the first 100 Teslas.
$$$ from the Feds (D.O.E. loans): $465m
CEO Henrik Fisker
The Danish designer enjoyed a successful career with BMW, Aston Martin, and Ford before going solo in 2005. After two years reskinning production vehicles and working as a consultant, he founded Fisker Automotive.
Current Car: Karma $87,900
Future Car: Nina sedan, $47,400
Powertrain: Plug-in hybrid
U.S. Dealers: 42. Traditional dealership franchising has allowed Fisker to stake out more territory faster.
Industry Connections: Fisker purchased GM’s Wilmington, Delaware, plant for future production of its Nina sedan.
# of cars Sold to date: 0
Over The Top: The Karma’s top-end trim, called EcoChic,features an animal-free interior.
Star POWER: Al Gore reportedly wants to be one of the first Karma owners.
$$$ from the Feds (D.O.E. loans): $528.7m
Shortly after delivering a design for Tesla’s Model S sedan, Henrik Fisker announced his own high-dollar green car, the Fisker Karma. Tesla sued, saying that Fisker stole ideas and trade secrets, then sold Tesla an inferior design. The suit was eventually thrown out, and Fisker was awarded $1,144,385.03 in attorneys’ fees and costs, but that hasn’t quenched the growing rivalry between these two eco-luxury-sport startups.