Fisker Automotive is planning to open a tech center in the Midwest to aid in the development of its second hybrid vehicle, the Atlantic. The carmaker is considering a plan to set up the tech center in Michigan, but has declined to say whether it would build a center or lease existing space. Around three years ago, Fisker shut down its engineering office in Detroit and moved its 30 full-time employees to its headquarters in Southern California.
A spokesman for the hybrid car maker noted that several of Fisker's key suppliers are located in the upper Midwest and a tech center in the region would provide more convenience to its Wilmington plant in Delaware. Fisker acquired the Wilmington plant from General Motors in 2009. This year, Fisker stopped preparations to produce the Atlantic at the Wilmington plant after the carmaker lost access to millions of dollars of federal funding because of missed business development milestones.
According to reports by Reuters, Fisker has delayed Atlantic production for at least two years, and the carmaker is now planning to commence it in late 2014 or 2015. The Atlantic is a mid-sized plug-in hybrid sedan that could fetch a starting price of around $50,000 to $60,000. Fisker’s first model, the Karma plug-in hybrid sedan, has been hit by production delays as well as quality issues.
Consumer Reports magazine recently published a negative review of the Karma, saying that it is "plagued with flaws." Earlier this year, a Karma tested by Consumer Reports failed following a problem with the battery produced by A123 Systems. This prompted A123 to recall all the Fisker battery packs. Interestingly, A123 has collapsed and is now operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.