Fisker says he is bringing to market a new electric car w/ 400 miles of range using supercapacitors

Fisker Karma

We all know how it ended the first time car designer Henrik Fisker started a namesake company. Fisker Automotive went bankrupt in 2012 after taking hundreds of millions in loans from the US government and failing to deliver its plug-in hybrid vehicle in volume reliably.

The company and its battery supplier, A123 Systems, have since been bought by a Chinese conglomerate and relaunched under the name Karma Automotive. We recently reported on the company relaunching Fisker’s flagship vehicle, the Karma, under the new name ‘Revero’.

Now that the company is not using the name ‘Fisker’ anymore, Henrik decided to launch again a namesake company: Fisker, Inc, as well as a battery tech division: ‘Fisker Nanotech’.

The car designer says that the company has been operating in stealth mode for the past 2 years and they are just now coming out, barely, by revealing that they will bring to market an “all-electric vehicle with more than 400 miles of range and a new battery tech”.

Details are scarce, but Fisker briefly commented to Bloomberg about the design:

“It will definitely be something that when you see it, it will look completely different. It will be sporty and spacious. And you’ve got to make something look beautiful—there is no excuse for making an ugly car, even with new technology—so it will definitely have some of my signature elements.”

But design was never really a problem for Fisker and the Karma. The vehicle is almost unanimously praised for its beautiful design, but the engineering side is another can of worms. Recalls plagued the original Karma. The company had to recall all vehicles on 3 different occasions. They also had several problems with their battery supplier: A123 Systems.

Fisker thinks he has the solution: create its own battery technology. Easy right?

Actually, this is the biggest news here because Fisker says that he wants to package a new battery technology led by nanotech expert Jack Kavanaugh, and showcase it in this new vehicle in order to sell it to other automakers. Fisker said:

“Fisker will be doing all of the testing, and that gives us a huge advantage, but that doesn’t mean we will be sitting on [the technology] alone. We will also be looking at selling this technology to other OEMs because if you want to reach true mass market potential we need probably eventually an OEM. We are having very superficial discussions right now with a couple of them.”

Kavanaugh told Bloomberg that they already have prototypes of the new battery tech:

“The technology emanates from several professors from UCLA who have been working on energy storage. We have already developed prototypes that you won’t see anywhere else.”

While no one is connecting the technology to Fisker Inc yet, Electrek has learned that Kavanaugh acquired an exclusively license and has been trying to commercialize supercapacitor technology developed at UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute.

Supercapacitors, or rather hybrid supercapacitors like the ones proposed by Kavanaugh , are electrochemical components like batteries, but unlike most batteries, they can charge and discharge in just seconds. The drawback is that most of them have low energy density and can’t store enough energy to be viable for a product like an electric car, but Kavanaugh’s new technology claims to have a much higher capacity.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk first came to Silicon Valley to earn a PhD working on supercapacitors at Stanford, but quit after the first day to start an internet company.

The new ‘Fisker .Inc’ is expected to unveil the vehicle in 2017. We will try to learn more about its battery technology in the meantime and report back.

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