Two More EV Companies Go Under—Where Is This Going? Analytics Needed!

Two “major” electric vehicle firms have gone bankrupt in the last week or so, Fisker and Coda both filed for bankruptcy protection.  Fisker was a “poster child” for the EV industry, promising a high-end, high-priced, sporty vehicle that would appeal to the rich and famous, whereas Coda built a $38,000 sedan.  Neither vehicle sold very many copies; although I hear Justin Bieber has a chrome-plated Fisker Karma in the garage; and both were plagued with reliability and safety issues they couldn’t resolve.  Several of the Fisker versions caught fire and burned, which is not what you want from an expensive car company who received a half-billion dollar federal grant.  Coda was primarily venture-capital funded and didn’t have the same controversial safety issues, but seemingly was unable to manage their growth in this evolving new industry.


Justin Bieber's chrome-plated Fisker Karma

Justin Bieber’s chrome-plated Fisker Karma

There have been several things amiss in the federal push for EVs, many of them involving the rawness of this emerging technology.  Among them, the battery technology is not there yet to make them safe and reliable, they are too expensive for average buyers, they have very short range—generally 100 miles or less (often much less)—between charges which makes them impractical for long-distance trips, or even long and unpredictable commutes.

This seems to be a federal push that did not do any advanced analytics in advance, and throwing taxpayer dollars at something without thorough analysis just because it is “feel-good and green” does not seem like a very good idea.  The concept of a practical Electric Vehicle is still a good idea, but the whole concept needs some serious analytics and business intelligence applied to it before lots of dollars are spent on companies that are just going to go belly-up.

–Warren B. Causey

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