07 June 2024

Another Sparky Vehicle Company Fails

From TechCrunch we get a story of tech hubris. Inside EV startup Fisker’s collapse: how the company crumbled under its founders’ whims

Engineering changes not run thru the engineering department. (But they look cool!) Lack of process around everything from parts, to customer service, to accounts receivable. Now they are in bankruptcy for the last time.

The road to Fisker’s ultimate ruin may start and end with its flawed Ocean SUV, which has been riddled with mechanical and software problems. But it was paved with hubris, power struggles, and the repeated failure to set up basic processes that are foundational for any automaker.

When Fisker first introduced its concept plug-in hybrid, I thought it was a great car. Not much range on battery alone, but the built-in generator/range extender made a lot of sense. A car that looked good, was electric for errands around town, but still able to go anywhere when you needed extended range. Just stop at the gas station.

That car never materialized, and there were financial problems. Fast forward a number of years and they were starting to produce an all-electric SUV. But there were a lot of problems, not just financial ones.

Customers have been saddled with dying cars, faulty brakes, stuck doors and more, and often had to wait weeks or months for fixes. The company has been hit with dozens of lemon law lawsuits. It’s also mired in other legal trouble involving employee complaints and unpaid.

There is more, like the late-in-the-day engineering change to make the car look "cool" that caused other problems.

The hat tip for all of this goes to Pixy Misa at Ambient Irony.

The implosion of an EV startup. (Tech Crunch)

"Elon Musk is an idiot. If he can do it, I can do it."
(Fails miserably.)
Rinse and repeat.

Maybe Elon is not an idiot.

1 comment:

  1. Internal combustion engine vehicles are relatively simple. Even with chips controlling things like valve timing and fuel mixture, there’s just not a lot of complexity there. Electric vehicles, in theory, are even simpler. Battery, drive motor, rheostat-like throttle device. Simple.

    But it isn’t. The EV is software-driven everything. Lights, door handles, traction control. Nothing is analog, and virtually nothing is simply mechanical. The error-trapping alone must be half the code base, and anticipating all the user inputs to be properly processed is one of the hardest parts of coding.

    I think it was a Rivian I read about. It’s a premium EV, particularly intended for off road. Like an electric Jeep. A new owner took it out in deep snow, and when the wheels started spinning at different rates, the software locked up the car. The owners had to call support because it was a brick with them in it. Nobody had considered this off road EV might have wheels turning at different speeds, so the logic was to shut the vehicle down because a fault must have occurred.

    And that’s just the EV entry issues. Established car manufacturers have many decades of experience with making and gathering all the parts needed for a car. These startups have to not just learn the electronics and coding for an EV, they have to learn how to assemble the doors and the interior and the trunk, and then get all of it to the assembly line. Of course they’re going to fail. There would be a lot more car manufacturers if it were easy.


Comment Moderation is in place. Your comment will be visible as soon as I can get to it. Unless it is SPAM, and then it will never see the light of day.

Be Nice. Personal Attacks WILL be deleted. And I reserve the right to delete stuff that annoys me.