Fisker hopes to sell off its entire inventory of remaining Ocean SUVs in a deal that would bring the bankrupt EV startup up to $46.25 million it can use to pay its debts. Under the proposed deal, outlined in a Tuesday filing in U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware, Fisker would sell up to 3,231 Oceans to American Lease, a New York-based firm that leases EVs to ride-hailing drivers. 

Fisker asked the court to authorize the sale and proposed a hearing on it for July 9. That's when we may learn more about whether the deal will get the green light. In the meantime, the terms of the deal provide the best glimpse we have seen yet into Fisker's stance on the future of parts, service and software updates for Oceans—all thorny questions for Fisker owners worried about long-term support for their cars.

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The Fisker bankruptcy saga continues

California-based EV startup Fisker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June after months of high-profile struggles. The company started selling its debut vehicle, the Ocean SUV, in mid-2023. 

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that a fleet deal with American Lease was in the works. According to Tuesday's filing, the firm is interested in a bulk deal for Oceans because of a new rule that requires New York's ride-hailing vehicles to all be electric by 2030. 

American Lease has agreed to buy all Oceans in Fisker's inventory that are configured for the U.S. or Canada. It has agreed to pay $16,500 each for brand-new Oceans in good working order, which Fisker says it has 2,711 of. Damaged vehicles will go for $2,500, while previously titled Oceans will cost $3,200. Excluded from the sale are prototype or pre-production vehicles that can't be sold or used for parts, along with Canadian-configured Oceans in Canada. The ultimate scope of the transaction and dollar amount will depend on the total number of Oceans that fit the deal's criteria, which is subject to change. 

Fisker Ocean

Fisker Ocean

For context, the Ocean went on sale in the summer of 2023 and cost anywhere from $38,999 (for a base Sport trim) up to around $70,000 for a fully-loaded, limited-edition Ocean One. Earlier this year, in a bid to boost sales and stave off bankruptcy, Fisker slashed prices by up to $24,000. But struggles including troublesome vehicles and reported mismanagement pushed Fisker to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June. 

On paper, it all sounds like a steal. But how will American Lease keep Oceans on the road?

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In the wake of Fisker's bankruptcy last month, Ocean buyers have been wondering, often frantically, whether they'll be able to get repairs, parts or software updates in the future if the manufacturer ceases to operate. The Ocean has had its fair share of hardware and software problems thus far, including a new water-pump issue that Fisker disclosed in Tuesday's filing. That problem, involving a circuit-board assembly that's prone to failure, triggered Fisker's fourth stop-sale on June 26, according to the filing. 

The agreement contains some answers about long-term Ocean support—for American Lease, at least. 

As far as the water-pump issue goes, Fisker said it will make the repairs using "resources, facilities, and manpower" provided by American Lease. Fisker is out of money and has laid off most of its workforce. 

2023 Fisker Ocean

Fisker Ocean

Fisker won't be honoring the vehicles' warranties and will have "no obligation of repair or maintenance of the vehicles." Likewise, Fisker is providing no guarantees about the availability of "vehicle spare parts, or other aftersales goods/services that may impact Vehicle operability." Parts are a particular area of concern for owners, since they've already been in extremely short supply. It's possible that American Lease plans to scavenge parts from damaged Oceans its buying. 

Software is perhaps the thorniest issue for Ocean owners going forward. And modern vehicle software is what makes the Ocean different—and potentially more problematic to own—than the so-called "orphaned" cars that came before it. Not only could the Ocean use more software updates to fix bugs, but also diagnosing problems and reprogramming new parts requires proprietary software. 

According to the deal, Fisker "shall have no obligation to update the vehicles beyond Software v.2.1." So many of the features that Fisker said would arrive in future updates may never come. 

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However—and this is fascinating—Fisker will provide American Lease "all relevant source code or other proprietary software operating elements, as well as existing developer work, as may be necessary or required for (i) the operability of the Vehicles and any other Fisker vehicles that the Buyer may own or otherwise acquire hereunder or otherwise and (ii) post-transaction software improvements to the Vehicles."

It's not totally clear what that means, but at the very least it sounds like American Lease will have the tools to send out its own software updates to its fleet. We've reached out to Fisker to learn more, and will update this story if we hear back. 

Fisker will also make "reasonable efforts to facilitate the Buyer’s access to the subscription-based services and related software with respect to the Vehicles," according to the terms of the deal. 

It appears that American Lease has a plan to lease out these cars, take care of them and give them a new life as Uber and Lyft vehicles—all without much help from Fisker. (We've reached out to the company to learn more about it's plan here.) But a big question remains: Where does this deal leave individual Ocean owners? That's not clear yet. 

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