|Born|| (1963-08-10) 10 August 1963|
|Alma mater||Art Center College of Design|
|Height||6'3ft (with shoes)|
Henrik Fisker (born 10 August 1963) is a Danish-American automotive designer and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles, California. He is best known for designing luxury cars including the BMW Z8, Aston Martin DB9, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Fisker Karma, Galpin-Fisker Mustang Rocket, VLF Force 1 V10, VLF Destino V8, Fisker EMotion, Fisker Ocean, and Fisker Orbit. He also designed the Viking motorcycle and Benetti Fisker 50 superyacht, and is involved in the design of flexible solid-state battery technology. He is the founder of HF Design, co-founded VLF Automotive, founder and former CEO of Fisker Coachbuild, founder of Fisker Automotive, where he served as chairman and CEO until March 2013, and currently is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Fisker Inc.
Early life and education
Fisker was born in Allerød, Denmark. As a young boy he became interested in cars after seeing a Maserati Bora on the highway, and soon started sketching designs in notebooks. He graduated with a degree in transportation design from the Art Center College of Design in Vevey, Switzerland, in 1989.
In 1989, Fisker began working at BMW Technik, the company's advanced design studio in Munich. His first project there was the E1 electric concept car. From 1992 to 1997, he refined the Z07 concept car, which would become the BMW Z8 roadster, produced from 1999 to 2003. The car combined design elements from the company's past with a modern look, paying homage to the iconic BMW 507 (produced from 1956 to 1959). Fisker also worked on the design of BMW's first SUV, the original X5, and a mid-size luxury crossover introduced in 1999.
Ford and Aston Martin (2001–05)
Fisker left BMW for the Ford Motor Company in 2001, where he served as design director at Aston Martin. He was in charge of the production design of the Aston Martin DB9 (in production from 2004 to 2016), bringing in elements from the history of Aston Martin cars. The DB9 was available as both a coupe and a convertible. Fisker also designed the Aston Martin V8 Vantage (in production from 2005 to the present). It was named the coolest car of the year and the best sounding car of the year by Top Gear in 2005. The Vantage is the best selling Aston Martin of all time. The extent of Fisker's involvement in designing both the DB9 and V8 Vantage has been disputed, however, with former director of design at Aston Martin Ian Callum saying the two cars were largely designed under his watch before Fisker joined the company.
From September 2001 to August 2003, Fisker was creative director of Ingeni, Ford's London-based design and creativity center. In August 2003, he became the director of Ford's Global Advanced Design Studio in Irvine, California, where the Ford Shelby GR-1 was designed. In 2005, Fisker left Aston Martin and the Ford Motor Company.
Fisker Coachbuild (2005–07)
In 2005, Fisker teamed up with Bernhard Koehler, a colleague from his days at BMW and Aston Martin, to start a new luxury car custom design firm, Fisker Coachbuild, based in Orange County, California. Coach-built (or custom-built) one-of-a-kind cars were extremely rare after the 1950s, primarily due to the difficulty and costliness created by strict Federal safety and pollution rules. With Fisker Coachbuild, Fisker planned a modern version of coachbuilding, dealing in runs of 150 cars. The company's first car was the Fisker Tramonto, a roadster with a re-bodied Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG, with a longer hood line and slimmer rear. The company's second car was the Fisker Latigo CS, with a re-bodied BMW 645Ci coupe. Fewer than 15 of the vehicles were ever built.
In 2007, Tesla Motors hired Fisker to perform initial design work on the Tesla Model S electric sedan, which was introduced in 2012. That year, he also designed the body of the Artega GT two-door sports car, Artega Automobile's first model, which was produced between 2009 and 2012. It spawned the 2011 Artega SE, an electric sports car with an identical body.
Fisker Automotive (2007–13)
In August 2007, Fisker and Quantum Technologies teamed up to launch the luxury electric car startup Fisker Automotive in Anaheim, California. The first car to be produced by Fisker Automotive was the Fisker Karma, a luxury plug-in hybrid sports sedan that was unveiled in a preproduction version in January 2008 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. At the auto show the following year, Fisker Automotive displayed the production version of the Karma. Fisker noted that the Karma would be the only car able to drive 50 miles on electric-only, and then proceed to drive as a regular car. At the 2009 auto show, Fisker also unveiled the company's second model, the Karma Sunset, a two-door retractable-hardtop convertible based on the regular Karma. It was designed as the world's first plug-in hybrid convertible, and Fisker Automotive's first roadster. The Fisker Surf, unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, was designed as a four-door plug-in hybrid hatchback, a roomier version of the Fisker Karma. Like the Karma, it was able to operate in an energy-saving mode. Neither the Sunset or Surf have been produced.
In 2008, Fisker raised over $90 million from investors including venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. In September 2009, Fisker Automotive was awarded a $528 million loan guarantee by the United States Department of Energy (DOE). The automaker was one of four recipients of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, to encourage the domestic manufacture of electric cars. The funds were to be used to develop the Karma, as well as an affordable family-size plug-in hybrid car. The loan facility was frozen at $192 million in February 2012, after the DOE claimed that Fisker missed its milestones. According to the DOE, the government recouped a total of approximately $53 million ($28 million from the company plus $25 million from the sale of the loan to Hybrid Technology, months before assets of Fisker Automotive were sold to Wanxiang for $149.2 million). In total, Fisker Automotive raised $1.2 billion in public and private funds.
Fisker resigned as chairman from Fisker Automotive in March 2013, because of disagreements with management about business strategy. Later that year, the company declared voluntary bankruptcy. Assets of Fisker Automotive were sold at a bankruptcy auction in 2014 to Chinese automotive parts firm Wanxiang for $149.2 million. In September 2015, Fisker Automotive was renamed Karma Automotive. The Fisker Karma was renamed the Karma Revero in 2016. Fisker is not affiliated with Karma Automotive or its parent company Wanxiang.
HF Design (2013–present)
In 2013, Fisker formed HF Design & Technology, a Los Angeles-based design house. That year, HF Design entered into a partnership with Lauge Jensen Motorcycles (owned by Lego heir Anders Kirk Johansen) to design a high-volume motorcycle. The design was completed in 2014.
In November 2014, Fisker made his return to car manufacturing with the Galpin-Fisker Mustang Rocket, a coachbuilt custom-bodied Mustang, fitted with a 725-horsepower V8 engine. It has a top speed of 200 mph and goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. A collaboration between HF Design and Galpin Auto Sports (the largest Ford dealer in the US), the car debuted at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. In 2017, it was renamed the VLF Rocket V8, reflecting the fact that it would be manufactured by Fisker's company VLF Automotive.
Benetti Fisker 50 yacht
In 2015, Fisker's HF Design teamed with Benetti Yachts to create a series of superyachts named the Benetti Fisker 50, based on Fisker's exterior and interior designs, with the hull to be built of carbon fiber, using reclaimed wood and integrated solar panels, and onboard amenities to include a beach club, spa, bars, a pool and sunbathing areas on multiple decks. In April 2016, Fisker revealed a fuller view of the $37 million 50-meter (164-foot) superyacht designed in California and scheduled for production in Livorno, Italy. It has yet to be produced as of 2022.
VLF Automotive (2016–2019)
In January 2016, Fisker formed VLF Automotive with manufacturer and former Boeing executive Gilbert Villarreal, and auto engineer and former General Motors executive Bob Lutz, to manufacture small-run handcrafted luxury cars. Based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, VLF is the successor to VL Automotive, which was launched in 2013 and led by Villarreal and Lutz. VLF unveiled the Force 1 V10 American supercar at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on 12 January 2016. Fisker collaborated with Tudor Championship racing driver Ben Keating on the car, a re-engineered Dodge Viper SRT chassis with a new Fisker-designed body. Production began at VLF's Auburn Hills manufacturing facility in August 2016, with approximately 50 of the hand-built two-seaters scheduled to be manufactured. Fisker designed the F1 V10 Roadster, which has an all carbon fiber exterior and comes with a 745-horsepower V10 engine. According to VLF, it can reach a top speed of 210 mph and go from 0 to 60 mph in under 3 seconds. It debuted at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2017.
Fisker Inc. (2016–present)
In July 2016, Fisker expressed interest in designing a fully connected electric car with autonomous driving features and an aesthetically pleasing look. On 3 October 2016, Henrik Fisker launched Fisker Inc. The company's first vehicle, named the Fisker EMotion, is an all-electric sedan. Fisker Inc's long-range electric vehicles are targeting a minimum range of 400 miles per charge, which would be a far longer range than any electric vehicle to date. However, this date has been pushed back until at least 2024 for production of the EMotion. The car will be equipped with a solid-state battery being developed by Fisker Inc. (delayed until 2025).
In September 2018, Fisker announced the development of Fisker Inc.'s mass-market all-electric SUV. In 2017, Fisker Inc. announced that it had filed patents on flexible solid-state battery designs. A prototype of the battery debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2018. In October 2018, Fisker announced new funding for battery development through Caterpillar Venture Capital. The solid-state batteries are intended to deliver longer vehicle range and faster charging times. In 2018, Fisker was named to the board of directors of First Cobalt, a North American cobalt refinery that produces battery materials.
On July 8, 2020, Fisker announced the completion of a $50 million Series C financing round funded by Moore Strategic Ventures, the private investment arm of Louis Bacon. On July 13, 2020, Fisker announced that Fisker Inc. would offer an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange through a merger with special purpose acquisition company Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp., which is backed by private equity firm Apollo Global Management. The deal values Fisker Inc at US$2.9 billion, with an IPO share price of $10. On October 30, 2020, Fisker Inc. officially closed its merger with Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp. The company is now publicly listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker (NYSE:FSR). Henrik Fisker will continue to serve as the CEO and Chairman of the merged company. On June 28, 2021, Fisker stock was added to the Russell 3000 Index.
Tesla Motors v. Fisker Coachbuild (2008)
On 14 April 2008, Tesla Motors filed a lawsuit against Fisker Coachbuild, Fisker and Koehler, contending that they had fraudulently agreed to a design contract in 2007 only to gain access to confidential information, before announcing a competing vehicle, the Fisker Karma. Both the Tesla and Fisker vehicles in question were designed as serial hybrid cars, with a gas engine powering a generator that charges a battery to power the electric motor, and both were initially planned for delivery in 2010. The lawsuit sought to prevent Fisker from using Tesla design documents, along with a return of the money from the Tesla contract, plus punitive damages. Fisker filed for arbitration in May 2008. An arbitrator ruled in their favor in November 2008, finding "overwhelming" evidence showing that Fisker did not do anything wrong. Subsequently, Tesla was ordered to pay $1.14 million in legal fees and costs to Fisker.
Fisker Automotive congressional hearing (2013)
Following his resignation from Fisker Automotive in March 2013, Fisker voluntarily testified on 24 April 2013, at a congressional hearing led by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the Department of Energy's $192 million disbursement to Fisker Automotive through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. Fisker Automotive had failed earlier that week to meet the deadline for repayment on the loan, which was originally approved as a $529 million loan guarantee.
Fisker v. Aston Martin (2015–16)
On 4 January 2016, Fisker filed a suit against Aston Martin and three of its executives for $100 million in damages for civil extortion, claiming that his former employer was trying to prevent him from unveiling his new luxury sports car hybrid, the VLF Force 1 V10, at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. The complaint claimed that after Fisker released a single pen-on-paper sketch of the Force 1 in December 2015, he received a letter from Aston Martin claiming the design was too similar to their DB10 and demanding that he either change the design or not display the car at the auto show. Aston Martin had previously sued Fisker in 2015 over his car design for the Thunderbolt. That case was settled after Fisker agreed not to move forward with the vehicle. Following the January 2016 auto show debut of the Force 1, it was clear that the vehicle was not similar to the DB10. Aston Martin subsequently stopped threatening to interfere with the development of the Force 1, and the matter was resolved in April 2016.
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- Official website
- Fisker Inc. website