EV Automotive, Fisker, Go Bankrupt. Here’s What You Need To Know

EV Automotive, Fisker, Go Bankrupt. Here’s What You Need To Know

During the final week of June, José De Bardi found himself sleep-deprived. About a week prior, on June 18, the electric vehicle manufacturer Fisker announced that it had filed for bankruptcy protection, which was when the trouble really started. Like De Bardi, 6,400 owners of Fiskers were now wondering what would happen to their vehicles in the future.

Debt “lit a fire,” according to De Bardi. “If we were to have any chance of representing the interests of owners, we had to organize.” In a matter of days, he and several other owners of Fisker vehicles founded the Fisker Owners Association, a nonprofit group devoted to maintaining their vehicles. (Hence, the sleep deprivation.) According to De Bardi, 1,200 owners had registered via the organization’s website by the end of the month, accounting for almost a fifth of all Fisker vehicles sold.

Questions from Fisker vehicle owners are primarily useful. Last year, Fisker started selling the Ocean, an electric SUV with a starting price of $41,000 and a maximum price of $70,000. The cars’ severe software problems and construction quality flaws, notably a sluggish central touchscreen, were discovered right away. (The reviewer for WIRED said that the car was “just not ready yet,” declining to give it a final grade.)

Owners stated that software updates resolved some of the most significant faults, such as a challenging-to-use brake hold and Bluetooth connectivity issues. However, owners have occasionally lamented that it was difficult to have their cars maintained or repaired since there weren’t enough qualified Fisker mechanics and repairers. Fisker first avoided the conventional “middleman” dealerships that are frequently observed in the US by introducing a “direct to consumer” strategy akin to Tesla’s. However, the business started signing dealerships to a new Fisker network in January, citing the direct model’s spiraling costs.

The FOA is still figuring things out, so to speak. A tiny group of volunteers has been working nonstop to identify potential future problems that owners may encounter, such as legal inquiries over funding for their car, problems with the car’s app, or trouble locating parts, and to begin resolving them. These folks work full-time jobs as well. De Bardi, for instance, is the CTO of a telecoms company in addition to being a UK resident and the leader of the owners’ activities throughout Europe.

The issue facing Fisker owners is becoming more complex, according to experts. Because of the 2008 financial crisis, which prompted General Motors and Chrysler to file for Chapter 11 protection, as Fisker has done, automakers have a playbook in place for handling bankruptcies. These automakers were able to uphold the guarantees on their cars while they underwent corporate restructuring, partly because of assistance from the US government.

However, Fisker’s circumstances appeared more serious during this month’s Delaware court sessions. Creditors’ attorneys claimed that Fisker ought to have declared bankruptcy around the end of the previous year. Additionally, attorneys for Fisker informed the court that the company will purchase the roughly 4,000 cars that make up its remaining inventory from Fisker to be leased to drivers for Uber and Lyft in New York City.

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