Believed Dead, Tesla Motors Nemesis Returns With a Vengeance (TSLA)

Tesla Model 3 (TSLA)

Tesla Motors Inc needs to accept the fact that some rivals just won’t die and Fisker Automotive is a great example of that.  Henrik Fisker, the brain behind Fisker Automotive is back in the EV business and he has several targets painted on Tesla’s back. In an interview with the Detroit Bureau, Henrik Fisker says his new EV firm (Fisker Inc.) “is really the revival of the original Fisker, though it will be a completely new company.” This article provides some insights into Fisker’s second attempt to compete with Elon Musk.

Fisker to launch battery technology that could render Tesla’s batteries useless

Tesla Motors Inc is the leading EV firm in the market right now because its EVs have the longest range on the road.  Rival firms making Pure EVs don’t have cars on the roads yet and traditional makers making EV-hybrids lacks Tesla’s depth of experience in making batteries for EVs. Musk is also building a Gigafactory where he could make enough Lithium ion batteries to power 500,000 cars annually. However, Fisker thinks he could make potentially better batteries than Elon Musk.

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Fisker Returns
Source: Fisker Automotive

Earlier this week, news broke that Tesla’s batteries could potentially cause serious harm to the environment. The Lithium used in most Lithium ion batteries is mined from deposits in northeastern China. A report indicates that the mining practices used to extract the Lithium ion is dangerous to the earth and that Musk‘s cars might not be green after all. Interestingly, Tesla has maintained that it doesn’t source Lithium from the Chinese firm fingered in the report but it has declined to disclose the origin of the Lithium used in its car batteries.

Fisker revealed that he is working with researchers from UCLA to develop a next-gen Lithium ion battery technology. The researchers have already come up with a battery technology for “Graphene” which will have “have increased range, increased longevity and incredibly fast charging times.”

One of the major problems with Lithium-ion batteries is that an increase in the energy density (volume of charge or power) tends to lead to a reduction in the lifespan of the battery. However, Fisker notes that he has found a way to increase the energy density and that some grapheme prototype batteries could store five times more energy than Musk’s lithium ion batteries.

Can Fisker succeed against Musk on the second attempt?

Fisker Inc. is out to compete with Tesla Motors and its cars will have a minimum range of about 400 miles per charge. Now, the firm says its first product will be “about the size of a Model S but with more interior space.” In essence, Fisker is planning to launch a luxury class EV similar to the Model S in a nod to Tesla’s master plan that began with luxury class Roadster sports edition and Model S sedan.

Fisker also hopes to challenge Tesla in the mass-market for EV with a mainstream car that could compete with the Model 3. In his words, “simultaneously… we are developing a more mainstream vehicle.”

Fisker Automotive came to limelight at about the same time that Tesla introduced its Model S EV sedan. However, Fisker Automotive was not able to get a strong enough foothold to rival Tesla because of a series of setbacks. Fisker’s EVs had production issues, the firm had a cash crunch, and it had to recall its cars before it eventually filed bankruptcy.

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Victor Alagbe is a seasoned business and finance writer with a specialty in writing about how to invest for the long-term in healthcare, pharmacology, energy and tech stocks. His long-term focus is on stocks that provide a nice mix of growth and income. For the short term, he passionately writes about trading stock options for the excitement and leverage that stock options offer.


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