Fisker crosses Atlantic to real plug-in competitiveness?

Fisker Atlantic plug-in hybrid gives Fisker a chance in the plug-in space thanks to gorgeous looking luxury design lines.

The Fisker Atlantic has the look of luxury success

In an image based world, the Fisker Atlantic plug-in has real wheels

Henrik Fisker is no stranger to jaw dropping automotive design lines. Few, if any, have a better eye for luxury car design than Fisker, and Fisker again proves his chops with the new Atlantic plug-in, an undoubtedly gorgeous looking car. But I continue to wonder if design alone can drive a real winning formula in the plug-in space.

Not that Fisker’s plug-ins don’t offer interesting battery technologies as well.

Every time I travel down this road, companies like Porsche immediately come to mind. Mainstream success is not synonymous with automotive success when it comes to the luxury segment. That, coupled with Fisker’s pent for eye-popping luxury car candy, gives Fisker a legitimate chance. But is plug-in luxury different than gasoline-powered luxury?

Obviously, cost-effectiveness isn’t the key driver behind Fisker’s business model. It’s the whole package that matters. Thus, my previous worries over Fisker’s reliance upon so much outsourcing of technologies could be irrelevant. Nevertheless, I continue to believe that plug-ins are different.

For now, the hottest space to showcase plug-in technologies is the luxury space, despite the fact that the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt were not initially designed for this segment. Consequently, there are hordes of well-designed luxury plug-ins hitting the streets in the next few years, including from Porsche. There is going to be a lot of competition in the gorgeous looking luxury plug-in car space, and even if Fisker maintains a slight design advantage, other automakers will have a greater edge in the technology space — possibly a considerable advantage.

Fisker does, however, have one thing going for it compared to the established players just now getting into the luxury plug-in vehicles space: An early entrance.

There is no doubt that Fisker has made some mistakes and missed some deadlines, but building plug-in cars is an obstacle-filled endeavor. So, some setbacks aren’t the end of the world, and despite these setbacks, Fisker has still been able to continue to suck up investor cash — having recently topped $1 billion in investments. That has to be a good sign.

Regardless, I’m still not a big fan of government assistance going to Fisker. Fisker, at least in my opinion, is a design-based company; whereas a competitor like Tesla, is very engineering-based. Tesla might one day develop truly mainstream plug-in technologies. On the other hand, I don’t believe that’s Fisker’s future. Fisker’s future will forever be synonymous with design. Still, considering the government has given them some loan assistance, I hope they do succeed, and the Atlantic at least looks like a step in the right direction.

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