Henrik Fisker, the founder and chief executive officer of Fisker Automotive, said his fledgling auto company could have a smaller, less expensive vehicle with broad appeal ready for market within 29 months if it succeeds in obtaining funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Fisker Automotive is one of the companies vying for funding under a special Department of Energy loan program approved in 2007 designed to help carmakers improve fuel economy. The program is separate from the federal bailout of GM and Chrysler and has attracted the interest of several carmakers and battery makers. It has also attracted a number of unproven start-up companies with little or no auto experience.
The upheaval in the car business now unfolding represents “the most dramatic change in the history of cars,” Fisker said following an appearance at the Automotive Press Association in Detroit.
“It’s the first time in 30 or 40 years where new start-up car companies have a real chance. They really haven’t had any chance in the last 30 or 40 years because they would just come up with another gasoline-powered car and nobody needs that,” said Fisker, whose firm is preparing to launch a new plug-in hybrid in early 2010. (more…)