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Fisker has had a tumultuous year so far, especially when news broke that their Nina project was put on hold due to a lack of funds. But the American electric automaker is pushing to prove all its skeptics wrong, announcing a press conference ahead of the New York Auto Show intended to give a look at the future of the brand. With that announcement, Fisker has also released a sketch of what could be the Nina.
It’s not quite proof that the Nina is making progress and frankly, the sketch doesn’t really reveal much – it looks like it was done in Draw Something. Nonetheless, the sketch is the first image anyone has seen on the Nina and was on an invitation for the car’s public unveiling on April 3rd in New York City. That would mean Fisker plans on debuting the Nina right before the New York Auto Show kicks off.
Fisker has said previously that the Nina would be similar to a BMW 5-Series in size, but will be priced more competitively in the 3-Series range of $47,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit. Under the hood of the Nina will be a BMW-sourced engine, and if we had to take an educated guess on which one, it would be the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder that’s in the BMW 328i.
Very few people outside of the Fisker organization have seen the Nina, but one of those that has is Vice President Joe Biden, who called it a “four-door Ferrari.” Despite losing the Department of Energy loan, Fisker has received alternative funding and plans to give a business update at the same event on April 3rd.
Production of the Nina will not start until 2013.
Fisker Automotive, an electric car manufacturer based out of Southern California announced that it had laid off employees and contractors at both their headquarters and assembly facility in Wilmington, Delaware as they attempt to renegotiate terms from their $529-million loan from the US Department of Energy.
Fisker spokesman, Roger Ormisher, recently told the Associated Press that Fisker Automotive hopes that they can “reach a resolution soon” with the Department of Energy on revised terms on their low-interest loans. Recently, Fisker missed critical deadlines on the development of their second vehicle which is currently called Project Nina. Project Nina is supposed to be a mid-sized, plug-in sedan to complement the already existing Karma model.
Even though Fisker claims that much of the design, engineering, development, and testing has been done on Project Nina, the automaker said in October that production wouldn’t begin until mid-2013 though some production would occur before the end of 2012.
The Fisker Karma hasn’t been a huge success either, marketed as a range-extended electric luxury sport sedan. It had several delays in its launch and recently went through a recall to prevent a potential battery-pack leak. The layoffs that were announced included 40 employees and contractors in Anaheim, California and 26 workers at their Wilmington plant. Fisker Automotive is currently looking to conserve its cash while renegotiating their loans.
GALLERY: Fisker Karma
[Source: Associated Press]
Just as the Karma begins to enter showrooms, Fisker is raring to get a move on its Project Nina. However, despite the optimism, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for Fisker. Although it was initially intended for the $50,000 Nina hybrid to be completed by 2012, circumstances require the product’s launch to be pushed back a year to mid-2013.
Quite a lofty bar has been set as Fisker’s team of 120 personnel expands another 2,500 workers to operate a made-for-Nina manufacturing plant in Delaware. While humble sales numbers are expected for the Fisker Karma, company fonder and CEO Henrik Fisker intends for Project Nina to reach a production volume of 100,000 cars per year.
Earlier, CEO Henrik Fisker announced that Nina will be a competitively priced smaller hybrid sedan, receiving 2.0 liter supercharged TwinPower engines supplied by BMW.
Fisker Automotive, the company that beat both General Motors and Toyota to market with a plug-in hybrid, has been awarded a $527 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop affordable plug-in hybrids.
The majority of the loan will go towards building a new generation of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that will cost $39,900 after tax credits. The remainder will go towards final development of the Karma PHEV. The Karma uses a technology similar to the Chevy Volt, but is considerably more powerful, allowing the 403hp luxury car to hit 62 mph in six seconds while getting 67 mpg. It can drive on pure electric power for up to 50 miles, with a total extended range of 300 miles.
The loan is part of the Department of Energy’s $25 billion Advanced Technologies Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program.
Fisker is calling its new initiative Project NINA, after the ship belonging to Christopher Columbus, symbolizing a move from an old word to a new world.
“This conditional loan represents a significant step in America’s future,” said Henrik Fisker, CEO. “With it Fisker Automotive can rapidly develop affordable clean cars that satisfy our passion for driving and help restore the U.S. as an auto industry leader.”
Fisker says the project will create or save at least 5,000 jobs among U.S. auto suppliers and in manufacturing the hybrids.