Fisker Owners Left High and Dry As EV Startup Goes Into the Ground

Henrik Fisker and the first Fisker Ocean 27 photos
Photo: Fisker
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Fisker Ocean owners are forced to find creative solutions to keep their cars running in the wake of Fisker woes. The EV startup is on the brink of collapse, leaving people who bought one of their cars with few choices. What's happening with Fisker will serve as a harsh lesson for everyone considering buying a car from another startup. This will make life even more difficult for surviving EV startups.
A lot of things in our lives that we take for granted require trust to function. Take banks, for instance, whose existence is only possible because people and businesses trust them with their money. The bank is doomed once this trust is broken, despite the safety nets provided by regulations. People now discover that EV startups function pretty much the same, thriving on customers' optimism that they could break even and become successful carmakers. But once this evaporates, things go sideways for everybody.

Fisker is probably the most obvious example, not only because it's already on the brink of bankruptcy but because its failure already affects many people's lives. Fisker delivered almost 5,000 Ocean SUVs in 2023, which means thousands of families are now reconsidering their options. The EV startup has already left them high and dry, with no service, no spare parts, and no software support in the long run.

No parts, no service, no support: it's a tough time for Fisker Ocean owners

Last week, the story of a totaled Fisker Ocean went viral, shocking people more than Fisker's imminent demise. Joy Wanner had her Ocean hit while the door was opened, causing what appeared to be minor damage. The insurance company estimated the repairs to be $910. However, after a month of trying to get the door fixed, the insurance company gave up and cut Joy a check for $53,303. The reason? The impact damaged several components, including a hinge, and Fisker couldn't provide the necessary spare parts to start the repairs.

Fisker Ocean deliveries will also allow the BEV startup to sell carbon credits
Photo: Fisker
The lack of spare parts is only one of the things affecting owners of Fisker vehicles. The news of the imminent bankruptcy broke the trust that allowed the startup to function. This means its unsold EVs will find few buyers despite the recent price cuts. It also wiped out most of the value of the Fisker Ocean vehicles already bought, which will be impossible to resell. Without parts and services to keep them running, they will soon become very expensive junk.

You might say that Joy Wanner was lucky to have the insurance company pay for her Ocean, even though the payment was $20,000 short of what she paid when she bought it. Not everyone is that lucky, though. For many Ocean owners, keeping their cars running is a continuous struggle, and it's only started. Many grapple with software issues, ranging from mysterious warning lights and annoying warning sounds to doors not unlocking, leaving passengers trapped inside the vehicle. These issues got Fisker into trouble in the first place and are the main reason why half of the cars it produced last year remained unsold.

One Ocean owner reported a severe low-voltage battery drain problem, causing the 12-volt battery to deplete completely. Due to the lack of support from Fisker, they had to design a DIY solution to trickle-charge the battery overnight. The system involved installing a Noco battery charger in the front bay and crafting a plug in the grille to power the charger overnight. The resourceful owner shared a video of their work on Instagram under the @fiskerswhispers account. Ironically, their account bio writes, "Fisker #1 Fan."

Fisker's problems are everyone's problems

This proves that, although Joy Wanner has learned her lesson, others still await a miracle. One that might never come despite the efforts to save the company. Henrik Fisker, the CEO of Fisker Inc., has reportedly put his Hollywood villa on the market for $35 million. That would be more than Fisker's market value right now (if it still has any value). But the question is: would Fisker be so reckless to throw more into the money pit that his company proved to be?

Fisker Ocean
Photo: Fisker Inc.
You might want to know why Fisker, of all EV startups, ended up in this situation. Unlike its peers, Fisker wanted to do this without committing to anything. There is no research and development, no intellectual property, and no production facilities. Instead, Fisker commissioned Magna Steyr to manufacture its vehicles using off-the-shelf parts. This proved an awful decision, as Fisker owners soon discovered that the Ocean was riddled with all sorts of problems.

Fisker produced over 10,000 Ocean SUVs in 2023, but it could only sell half of them because they were so bad. And when the bills mounted and its situation worsened, it had nothing of value to help it attract new investors. Fisker floated the idea that some big carmakers might want to invest in the company but never explained what it could put on the table to make it worthy for them to consider Fisker. If Nissan or any other carmaker wants Fisker's technology, they could go directly to Magna.

Fisker's problems are, unfortunately, not limited to Henrik Fisker's startup. They spilled and contaminated the whole car industry, poisoning the pool for every other startup. As Joy Wanner admitted, she thought momentarily about replacing the Ocean with a Rivian but then decided against it. She learned her lesson, and there's no way she would trust another EV startup. Other Fisker owners undoubtedly feel the same, making life difficult for Lucid, Rivian, and other EV startups.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
Cristian Agatie profile photo

After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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