Talking Tesla, Fisker Reveals Major OEM Partnership


Leans toward #TeamElon

Fox Business News had Henrik Fisker, founder of Fisker Inc., on its set today, ostensibly to talk about Tesla. Specifically, he was asked by host Stuart Varney whether he thought the California automaker’s CEO Elon Musk should “move away from his current role” to concentrate on being a “visionary.” While the designer-turned-auto-entrepreneur had some interesting things to say on the topic, we feel like the real meat of the 5-minute interview came somewhat later when Fisker quietly seemed to announce an important partnership.

First, Mr. Fisker’s view on the Musk situation. Musk is, as is often the case, in the middle of a number of controversies, one of which is about his continuing leadership of Tesla. If Varney thought Fisker was going to disparage the billionaire whose company once hired, then sued his design company, Fisker Coachbuild, he will have been disappointed. Instead, Fisker seemed to stand up for Musk’s leadership, saying, “If Henry Ford had of been replaced by a Joe Blah, then we probably wouldn’t have had Ford today and we wouldn’t have had an automotive revolution.”

That’s a pretty strong show of support, we think, but he summed it up better with a quick recounting of his own experience. “…I hired two CEOs and, in the end, I got the blame for the decisions they were making…”

But back to the buried lede. When discussing what Varney characterizes as a lack of demand for electric vehicles in the U.S., Fisker mentions the limited choice of compelling EVs below $40,000  “…we have gone forward and made a partnership with a large OEM to actually increase the volume of the electric vehicle parts…”

We have no confirmation which parts Fisker may have been referring to, but just the news of a partnership seems pretty significant. It could be they may share production of certain components or, more interestingly, this could be a supply agreement regarding the solid-state batteries the company is confident it will commercialize soon. It may be too soon for a deal on the latter, though, as we still haven’t seen the cells incorporated into a pack and implemented in a vehicle.  However, he did tell us in a recent exclusive interview, that could happen as soon as this year.

Reaching out to Fisker today on Twitter and asking about the partnership, this writer was told: “We will announce more details later this year” (tweet below). Until then, what do you think about this potential deal? Would it give the startup the gravitas some feel the coming is missing in light of the executives earlier business failure, or are you still in the doubting Thomas camp?

Source: Fox Business News via YouTube

Categories: Fisker / Karma, Tesla, Videos

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39 Comments on "Talking Tesla, Fisker Reveals Major OEM Partnership"

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There are many OEMs trying to get EV parts into manufacturers. At some point, one of them will pick the right motor/inverter/controller/etc that will find traction and start the real transition to affordable EVs. The big boys likely see these parts as an opportunity to inject their secret sauce but the small to medium players will likely all look to OEMs to drive change.
Hopefully Henrik is providing the use case that starts the landslide.
As for solid state batteries, I’m not holding my breath.

Hmmm? EV motors, along with the integrated motor controllers (including inverters), aren’t the limiting factor keeping EVs from being fully competitive with gasmobiles. It’s only the batteries which are holding things back. We need batteries which not only are cheaper, we also need them to fast-charge much faster.

Exactly… 800 volt is going to help a lot, on the charging, keep the amperage lower and within reasonable limits.

800 Volts is not going to help overcome the limitations (or rather trade-offs) in cell technology.

Remember, in the Motior-Control and Charging Electronics, each bit of Efficiency improvement, has a long lasting benefit, as less energy and power is lost, for each movement from Battery to Motor; From Motor to Battery (Regen!); and from Wall to Car (AC Charging), and also, if included, From Car to Home, other Car, or Grid.

Possibly, as well, in DC Quick Charging, to; since Power Electrinics in the Stationary AC to DC, and Control Side, in the DC Charging System, can also benefit here, from better Electronics Efficiency!

As seen, better cooling, or even chilling, of batteries, can probably allow them to safely charge at higher rates in hotter climates, as well as warming, too, for in the winter! So, outside of Physical or Chemical Properties inside cells, better Pack Designs can also result in Faster Charging!

The studies I have seen estimate the costs of the non-battery electric power train components in the range of $2,500 – $3,000 or thereabout. That’s certainly less than the cost of large batteries right now — but these parts will have to come down in price too, if BEVs are ever to approach the cost of combustion cars…

This could be interesting… Although I have trust issues with Mr. Fisker, not sure why… 😉

Is it because: “…I hired two CEOs and, in the end, I got the blame for the decisions they were making…”

Could it be Ford, hmmm….. very interesting!!?

I dislike how, reading this article, it was increasingly unclear that the partner was or was not Tesla. It could be Ford. What EV parts do they make? It could be Rivian. Fisker has a US automotive partnership. I’m… looking for the newsworthy point there.

He says major OEM, so I think that excludes Tesla and Rivian.

A bit too mysterious for my tastes…

“…reading this article, it was increasingly unclear that the partner was or was not Tesla.”

I think it extremely unlikely that Tesla would sign another contract with Fisker. Tesla hired Mr. Fisker to design the Model S for them, and that relationship ended in a lawsuit, with recriminations on both sides. That isn’t likely to be forgotten by either side.

Ford hasn’t lead in anything but it’s soon to come bankruptcy.

I’d bet on GM, or LG Chem, or Germany’s Bosch.
GM has lead in battery research, they’ve got a Volt and Bolt solution.

No $40,000 concept revealed, no partnership named … just talk (for now).

Henrik Fisker said: “…If Henry Ford had of been replaced by a Joe Blah, then we probably wouldn’t have had Ford today and we wouldn’t have had an automotive revolution…”

Exactly why Bob Lutz along with the Jim Chanos wolfpack dream of Elon Musk being removed from Tesla.

Dream on guys… it won’t happen.

Gosh, if I was going to build a low production EV right now, and needed drive units the first OEM I would be talking to would be Jaguar, their patented concentric configuration is the the most mass and packaging efficient at 77kg that I have seen any EV. They also seem to be pretty tough, track use, and off roading does not seem to bother them in the I-pace.

Just curious, but why is that impressive to you? The weight is 1kg more than the Bolt drive unit and puts out less power(under 150kW or 200hp per drive unit). Even worse when compared to the Model 3 drive unit that weighs 90kg and is capable of well over double the power.

Packaging is what is impressive, take a look at GM’s unit, and try to install it in the rear of an AWD setup? GM’s unit is also good, but has more parts, more bearings, packaging is taller. When you say “capable of a certain power”, I am not sure what you mean? Have you run them on a test cell and played with the parameters for any of the 3 systems? Nope, so what you are talking about is where the systems are set up by the manufacturer. Tesla is known to push their parameters much harder then any other OEM, many times running their systems in a configuration that cannot provide a 100% duty cycle (its why S and X overheat on the track) Jaguar I-Pace can be put on a circle track in hot weather and accelerator held to the floor until the battery is drained… GM usually does the same thing in their testing, Tesla, nope… None of their cars can run at that power level for a full charge.

The packaging is nice, but its really not that much different in comparison. It really just eliminates the slight offset, saving a few inches in one direction. It also adds complexity to the transaxle. Capable meaning observation of the parts during a teardown. Watch Ingineerix’s videos. The hardware can put out well over 300kW RMS. Easily calculated if you know anything about the parts. It is rated at 211kW by Tesla, and has been shown to output over 250kW during dyno testing in standard LR configuration with Tesla’s current software limitations in place. That isn’t why the S/X overheat. Study the coolant passages in the S and it will make sense why it runs into thermal protection. The Model 3 can be run foot to the floor all day at the track, as has been shown by people like Sasha Anis during his extensive track testing. Besides, as anyone who has any experience racing will tell you, its a lot easier to avoid overheating when you aren’t making all that much power to begin with.

“It also adds complexity to the transaxle.”

I am curious what complexity is added? It has less gears, no offset, and less bearings, seems to me to be a simpler design, designed more like a gas turbine engine.

to my knowledge, Ingineerix has not torn down a Jaguar drive unit, so that invalidates your comparison in the original post above if that was your data point. Your conclusion 2 posts ago would require the same testing and teardown on all 3 units, since this has not happened, the your statement is a bit premature.

A planetary gear set is not less complicated than a simple reduction gear. And no, I doubt its premature to say the Jaguar drive unit isn’t capable of double it’s current output. You can keep holding your breath for that one if you like though.

Packaging of the Panasonic cells in the S and X are horrible from a thermal system design standpoint. Contact resistance is probably through the roof. That’s probably the biggest factor in why they overheat.

The Model 3 appears better but it’s still a sloppy mess. Picture i saw looked to have uncontrolled bond line thicknesses. Wouldn’t surprise me if individual cells overheat or form hot spots and fail over time.

The Tesla thermal designs look like they’re done by a mechanical engineer with “thermal analyst” support. Just bad. Either that or they are using inexperienced thermal engineers.

Very misleading headline. This has nothing to do with Talking Tesla, the podcast.

It really doesn’t even have anything to do with Tesla. It’s Fisker, the man, talking about Musk a bit, and separately, also mentioning that Fisker, the company, has a major OEM partnership.

He was brought on to talk about Tesla, specifically about Elon’s continuing (or not) role as CEO, hence our title. Varney did hit him up on a number of other topics — EV demand and tariffs — so, yes, Tesla and Elon weren’t the only topic.

I can see how, if you happen to be aware that there is a podcast called Talking Tesla, you might be momentarily confused, but that wasn’t our intent.

Minor typo, “But back to the buried lede. . . ” probably ‘buried lead’. Major problem, getting me to watch a Fox Business report.

The British cave diver comment applies to Stewart Varney who made Fisker look good. Varney was trying to claim no one wants an EV despite sales evidence to the contrary. He tried to egg Fisker into criticizing Musk and it fell flat. Varney displayed every reason I don’t watch Fox because he was trying to sell Varney’s agenda versus seeking facts and data.

Kudos for divining insights from Fisker . . . more than the biased interviewer.

The title strongly implies a deal between Tesla and Fisker. Please don’t sink to this level of clickbait.

Yes I know you guys produced a nice article explaining your policies on banning/censorship, but things like this (and Tesla pandering by Evanex) do not help.

Honestly, that was not our intent. At all.

We do not consider Tesla to be a major OEM. It’s getting there, I guess, but its volumes pale in comparison to those we consider to be, actually, major OEMs, like Ford, GM, FCA, Toyota, VW, etc.

Per “We do not consider Tesla to be a major OEM.”, might be correct in the general sense, but name another non Chinese, Bigger EV OEM, please!

Domenick, Tesla may not be a major OEM in the classical sense, but in terms of Western EV production rates–Tesla really is the major EV OEM in the Western world.

I think this is Fisker non news. You need to remember Fisker used stuff as simple as a door handle from other OEMs and called that a partnership in parts available and used. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel.

Didn’t Fisker get many of his parts from GM? I was recently in a Fisker Karma, and many of the odds and ends had a GM feel to them.

Fisker knows first hand how hard it is to start a car company and its even harder for an EV company even to this day. Talk is cheap and building something from the ground up is hard. All the negative talk regarding Tesla does not cost or produce anything. Its easy to short a company hopping they fail since its rare for any company to succeed, but these people never contribute anything to the world but are just hopping to get rich of the hard working people failures in this world. It does not cost anything to be a critic of something and never creating anything, sort of like a parasite making a living of the host..

Well said DEE!
Unfortunately , the troll-fest that often happens here now on the Tesla threads definitely has several posters who fit your description to the tee.

I’m impressed that Fisker didn’t take the bait. He respects Elon even though they had their differences. I love how Varney was kissing his arse by touting Fisker Auto as if it were a real successful EV company.

The OEM partnership could simply be the use of a large OEMs parts bin. The larger manufacturers have a really huge advantage when it comes to economy of scale. They crank out millions of each part. That helps up to a certain volume. Let’s say they can use parts in the steering and suspention system. That’s 35-45 parts right there. It could be parts of the mechanical breaking system. Talking another 25-45 parts just there. Just regular auto parts where large manufacturers produce a lot themselves. In addition, there may be part made by sub contractors that specialize in certain parts. If they share a similar part, they may both benefit by ordering together to get higher volumes. Don’t know much about Fiskers future plans for the car. If they’re building a factory and stuff like that. If they don’t plan to make a lot of cars, they may even use the OEMs stamping line, and maybe even buy the body in white, or even fully painted. Then they can just build an assembly plant, with a MUCH lower investment cost. The coustruction of the body is also highly automated, and could be offered at a price they can live… Read more »

Elon Musk should be removed as the person leading Tesla…you cannot compare Henry Ford and Elon Musk – times are different. Henry Ford had 1 focus – mass produce an Automobile that his workers could afford to buy. Elon has too many “other” items in his focus, SpaceX, SolarCity, etc . I believe in Tesla, however, if half of what I read is true – Tesla is in dire need of a strong leader focused on making cars – Elon can still be the boss…but he needs a COO for Tesla. As for Henrik Fisker – he is feeding Elon’s ego…Fisker is like the Zoolander of AutoDesign – many different names, but at the end – only 1 look. Come on Fisker, where is your “Magnum!”

Pure BS. Fisker has nothing, no staff to speak of, no facilities, no capital. He is no closer to starting a new car company than I am. In fact, it would be easier for me to get the billions needed than it would be for Fisker who holds the record for losing venture capital.