Fisker Automotive may drop plans to use a Delaware factory to build its upcoming Atlantic sedan and is looking at "other options," Automotive News is reporting, citing an interview with company CEO Tom LaSorda. The company, in an online meeting with owners of the Fisker Karma extended-range plug-in sedan, spelled out some of the issues that have been plaguing the car.
Fisker will hold off on deciding on the Atlantic's production site until the end of summer, which will delay the debut of the model. LaSorda maintains that Fisker will be able to produce the Atlantic with or without Department of Energy funding, Automotive News reports. Fisker's director of corporate communications, Russell Datz, tells AutoblogGreen that the company remains "committed to Delaware" but admits that if the rest of the company's DOE loan money does not come through, the plan to build the Atlantic in Delaware could change.
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Fisker has taken about 2,500 orders for the Karma, though most of the $529 million it was set to receive in U.S. Department of Energy loans has been held off because of production delays. Thus far, Datz said, Fisker has received $193 million – about $169 million was for Karma development, $24 million earmarked for the Atlantic.
Fisker, in an online meeting with Karma owners, has also addressed a number of issues related to battery replacement, software upgrades and other components, according to Consumer Reports, which owns one of the vehicles. Specifically, Fisker says that the battery problems stemming from supplier A123 Systems impact cars with batteries made at A123's Michigan plant. While only about one percent of the 2012 Karmas have had problems caused by these batteries, all batteries made at that facility will be replaced by year end, the publication says.
Additionally, Fisker says an upgrade to the Karma's 6.15 software system will fix issues related to the car's fuel gauge, back-up camera and tire-pressure warning lights, and will improve navigation, temperature controls and radio-preset restoration.
Two days ago, Fisker unveiled a prototype of the Fisker Atlantic – previously known as Project Nina – and gave more details before the New York Auto Show. Specifically, the car will be priced similarly to an Audi A5 – somewhere in the $45,000 range – and officials say its on-board gas-powered range extender will be a BMW four-cylinder engine. No details have been revealed about driving range or when first deliveries might take place.
Additional reporting by Sebastian Blanco in New York.