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June 19, 2024 8 mins
EV company goes out of business
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Episode Transcript

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I never like to hear when companiesgo out of business. It's just I

don't know, it's just it's unnerving, quite frankly, even if it's a
company maybe that you don't that youdon't frequent. I mean, I saw
yesterday, for instance, just ona side note, that it looks like
Pizza Hut was going to close anotherone hundred some locations across the US.
It's really sad. It's like,wait a minute, what Pizza Hut's doing

that? Yeah, Pizza Hut wentfrom the number one on the speed of
pizza place in the United States.Now it's in the serious, serious trouble.
Yeah. And so when you seePizza Hut, it's alarming. When
you have, for instance, whatMike is going to report on here,
another EV company is going out ofbusiness, do you think, okay,
well that's relative. But it's justsomething like Pizza Hut. It's just you

just it doesn't make sense, itdoesn't compute because that's been something that you've
known your whole life. The electricvehicle thing a bit volatile. I mean,
we're seeing what's happening with Elon Musk, and I think they're offering for
the first time ever a bunch ofreally aggressive rates to buy Tesla, you
know, the Tesla's right now andso on, because they're just not moving

them like they did they like theyused to. And ABC News technology reporter
Mike Dubuski's joining us right now,and Hey, Mike, welcome to the
show. And like I was justsaying, it's it doesn't matter how you
stack it, nobody really wants tosee any companies going out of business.
Yeah. Absolutely, And I thinkthe things that you're saying about the EV
market kind of struggling are absolutely right. We've seen not a decline in demand

in that segment, but certainly aleveling off in demand. And you talk
to experts in this field and theysay that the larger industry is negotiating this
shift. Right from the early adopters, the tech ye people who kind of
want to get on the ground floorof a new technology, try it out.
They have a high sort of tolerancefor some of the frustrations that come

alongside a new technology. That industryis moving away from those people into a
more mean extream consumer people who actuallyhave to use these cars every day to
commute to take their kids back andforth to school. They have a lower
tolerance for all those frustrations, andthat's kind of why we're seeing this leveling
off in demand, and coupled withthe fact that evs, just from a

basis of technology, are a whollydifferent design than how the car has been
designed for more than one hundred yearsnow. And that is evidenced by the
fact that we saw Bisker go outof business this week. They're a startup
auto maker. They make electric vehicles. They were founded in twenty sixteen.
They first put out their so faronly and seemingly only SUV at the sort

of end of last year. Andyou know, it's just a testament to
exactly how difficult it is to spinup a new automaker, given how labor
intensive and capital intensive this industry is. Yeah, it looks like some of
the stuff when you see And Ihadn't even heard of this company, Mike,
until you know, I saw thatyou were reporting on this today.

I hadn't even heard of Fisker ever. But when you look at all the
investigations over the Ocean, which wellexplain that as far as ocean, who
is that in relation to Fisker.Yeah, so the ocean is Fisker's only
vehicle. It's the mid size suv. It's kind of designed to go up
into the Tesla Model Why, whichlast year was by some metrics the best

selling in the world. An electricsuv from Tesla's best selling car in the
world. Can you imagine, Fiskerwanted in on some of that game,
so they came out with this carcalled the Ocean. Fisker, interestingly enough,
is not founded by an engineer.It's founded by a designer, Heinrich
Fisker. He's behind some Aston Martin'sand BMW's from the sort of early two

thousands periods and very pretty cars.And he actually started a car company before,
another company called Fisker in the earlytwenty tens. They made a car
called the Fisker Karma. That companydidn't do so well. It ended up
being sold off to a Chinese firm. Now he's back with this Fisker and
almost immediately when the Ocean hit themarket, this midsize suv, there were

problems software issues related to the infotainmentsystem. A speaking to a person who
works for Consumer Reports today and theysay they had a lot of trouble with
the ADAPA system, the Adaptive Driverassist controls where the car will speed up
and flow down with traffic wouldn't engage. In addition, electric vehicles have are

what is known as regenerative breaking,where you can essentially allow the electric motors
to slow you to a stop.Well, that is an issue on these
oceans, where the brakes won't engageand you might actually roll when you're not
expecting to. And the person Iwas speaking to is that you almost crashed
through World times. Speaking of doors, the doors on the ocean are completely

electronic. Many reported car because thefailures the door handle. So a lot
of problems with this car. Andyou know, federal government officials have begun
to investigate the many issues that havebeen reported by customers, but seemingly Fisker
even in spite of that. Asidefrom that, they were having money issues

and as of yesterday they filed forChapter eleven protections. They're planning to sell
off their assets and restructure their debt. So is this something with you know,
is this a prediction for the future. I mean you mentioned leveling off
with regard to electric vehicles. We'veseen that and I did have actually have
a buddy who was selling me likeyou know, Tesla's getting more aggressive with

regard to you know, sales andso on, with this stuff that you
traditionally have not seen yet with electricvehicles. Who at this point, depending
on the area of the country you'rein, you know, I talked to
some you know, one of yourworkmates, Alex Stone, who's on with
us all the time. He's like, man, yeah, you can't be
at a red light without you're justsurrounded by electric vehicles. That is becoming
the lion's share, for instance,in the Los Angeles area, for instance.

But is this a is this somethingof a sign of things to come?
I would say that's absolutely true inNew York City as well. It's
hard to you know, walk acouple blocks without seeing a Tessler or some
other electric vehicle. But you're right, it has struggled to take on in
other areas, in large part becausewhen you run out of gas and a

gas car, you know, gasstations are plentiful, but electric car charging
stations aren't as plentiful, and ittakes a lot longer to charge an electric
car. To go back to youroriginal question, though, which I think
is a good one, is thisa Fisker problem? Was this just a
startup company kind of mismanaging money andputting out a bad product and that's why
they failed. What is this indicativeof some larger problems in the EV industry.

I think it's kind of boat right. We talked about that sort of
slowing demand as you know, theindustry tries to attract more mainstream consumers.
Well, that's going to be reallyhard if you're putting out vehicles that,
you know, in a very highprofile way is covered by you know,
most major news outlets kind of flameout, So it's an issue. I

actually got an opportunity to drive anOcean earlier this year. They have a
location here in New York City thatthey allowed test drives for. I will
say it was a nice vehicle.But the interesting thing about Fisker is that
they designed essentially the car and thenthey handed off the production to an Austrian
company called Magna. They built thecar, so the hardware seems to be
fine. It's the same company thatbuilds cars like the Mercedes g Wagon and

the Toyota Supra. It's the softwarethat failed in this instance, and that
all comes from Fisker, and Ithink that's evidence of the fact that this
is a little bit more of aFisker problem than it is a larger TV
problem. Mike, I just hadsomething brilliant pop into my otherwise empty head.
An electric vehicle, and then you'rethere, are down by the gas
pedals. There are bicycle pedals incase it runs out of juice, and

then you can just pedal then toget to the nearest charging stage. I
like that, like an e It'ssort of thing, right, only as
your legs assist totally anyway. MikeDubuski, ABC News Technology reporter, Mike,
thank you very much. Stay coolout there, brother, you too.
Take care of it all right.We'll see you traffic and weather together

from day and night. Heating andcooling
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