Tony Posawatz, president and CEO of Fisker Automotive, recently made the case for how Fisker and other cleantech companies can find the right investors. Speaking at a conference in Santa Barbara, CA, Posawatz said new clean technologies take years to be adopted and investors should be patient.
Posawatz was interviewed by Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray during the newspaper's 2013 ECO:nomics conference March 20. Posawatz thinks that the future for cleantech companies like Fisker requires investors to adopt a different perspective. For one thing, you're investing in something that's way more than just a car. Posawatz said the Fisker Karma presents an opportunity to displace a lot of petroleum since it can be powered by the grid – and, in some areas, that mean moving your car with solar or wind power.
Then there's the lithium ion battery pack. According to Posawatz, the company "developed a pretty sophisticated, advanced batteries that puts cell phone batteries of a few years back to shame."
He thinks future investment opportunities will be consortium investments, where groups of people will invest in the infrastructure and ecosystem and not just one technology. One of his favorite fun facts to share is that it took 50 years for half of US households to get electricity. "Electricity in the household must have been a bad idea," he said.
Fun fact: it took 50 years for half of US households to get electricity.
Posawatz knows a lot about extended range cars, having served as vehicle line director for the Chevrolet Volt, and the industry in general. Capital is certainly a challenge in his industry, he admitted, and the auto industry is heavily regulated – the headline numbers is, of course, the 54.5 mpg by 2025 standard. Posawatz pointed out that Fisker took a government loan and made a real car, as did Tesla, with 98 percent of Fisker employees living in the US. The money also helped create a fantastic innovation – a new segment in the extended range car, Posawatz said. Plus, the Fisker Karma already meets the federal 2025 fuel requirements and the 2020 fuel economy standard announced recently in China. You can see the interview below.
Despite Posawatz's optimism, there are many questions left about Fisker. Here's one: What were the specific reasons that Henrik Fisker decided to leave his company? Speaking of investors, how about this one: Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is reportedly no longer interested in buying up a majority stake in Fisker. What's up with that?