“Thank God for model trains. If we didn’t have model trains, they wouldn’t have gotten the idea for the big trains.”

Taken in the model train room for Subway and Train Traffic Control majors at Wanxiang Polytechnic. 

Filed under: Green, Fisker, Green Automakers, Electric, HybridNew rumors says that Wanxiang will get rid of the Fisker name and replace it with Elux and that the Karma PHEV relaunch is being pushed back to 2016.

Continue reading Fisker name dropped in favor of Elux, Karma relaunch pushed back

Fisker name dropped in favor of Elux, Karma relaunch pushed back originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 Feb 2015 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Shocker: An electric car company actually meets production goals (and yes, it’s Tesla)

#SuryaRay #Surya Once again electric car pioneer Tesla Motors is the lone firm out of its electric car peers that says it’s going to do something, and then actually (usually) does it. According to Automotive News, Tesla has now reached its goal of producing 400 Model S electric cars per week, or around 20,000 cars per year.

This rate of production has been Tesla’s goal for months — if not years — and it’s a big step on the company’s path to profitability this year. Back in November, during its latest quarterly earnings, Tesla said it was on track to reach this milestone after having to scale back its original production goals a couple months earlier in September. It also means that all those customers on the waiting list to get their Model S cars — there were 13,200 as of the third quarter — will get their cars sooner, rather than later.

However, as I’ve written before, Tesla seems to be the exception rather than the rule in the struggling world of independent electric car makers and batteries made for electric cars. Electric car infrastructure maker Better Place shuffled out its second CEO in as many months last week, and laid off a big chunk of staff in the face of very slow adoption of its electric car service in Israel.

Electric car startup Fisker hasn’t made any of its hybrid electric Karma cars in months, and is looking for a Chinese partner, investor or acquirer with deep pockets to offer it a lifeline. Fisker’s original production goal at the beginning of its life was 5,000 Karmas in 2011, and it’s made around 1,900. A123 Systems, which has been making batteries for Fisker’s Karma, went bankrupt last year and then was bought by Chinese auto tech giant Wanxiang.

For the auto giants like GM and Nissan, which have been making their own mainstream electric cars, production isn’t a problem. It’s just that sales are a little slow. GM sold a total of 23,461 Volts in 2012, up from the 7,671 sold in 2011, and Nissan sold 9,819 Leafs in 2012, according to AutoblogGreen. GM originally wanted to sell 45,000 Volts in 2012.

So why is it so hard for independent electric car companies to meet their targets, and large auto makers to hit sales targets? For the auto giants, the market is only just emerging. GM’s Volt and the Nissan LEAF are the first mass produced plug-in battery cars on the market in the U.S. Auto exec Bob Lutz, who kickstarted GM’s Volt and is now on the board of some startups, says the transition to electric cars will be very slow.

For independent car startups, commercial scale production can be daunting and take a lot longer than expected, too. Many things can go wrong, and the it can take months to streamline the process of auto manufacturing. Tesla was founded back in 2003, and its pilot car — where it made errors and suffered delays — was the original Roadster. It’s taken Tesla this many years to get to its closer to mainstream auto maker status just pushing out 400 cars per week.

http://dlvr.it/2rmmfs @suryaray

Возвращение Fisker на мировой рынок

Крупнейшая китайская корпорация по производству автомобильных компонентов Wanxiang, которая стала в текущем году собственником Fisker Automotive, планирует не только опять начать выпуск седана Karma, но и заняться производством абсолютно новой модели.

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Plants/Manufacturing, Fisker, Luxury

Fisker may be down, but it might not stay down forever. The company behind the Karma luxury hybrid shut down late last year and was purchased by Chinese OEM supplier Wanxiang Group, which intends to restart production. It just can’t tell us when.

Speaking with Automotive News Europe, Wanxgiang executives indicated they have some work on their hands, sorting out 250 “bugs” it has found in the existing Karma. Once it has those sorted out, it plans to start production again at the Valmet plant in Finland before potentially moving assembly to the plant in Delaware that Fisker had acquired from General Motors. The executives were touring the United States to inspect their battery factory in Michigan, visit the plant in Delaware and meet with government officials in Washington.

Wanxiang apparently has even bigger ambitions than that, however. The latest news is that it intends to expand the rebooted Fisker with a second model sometime in 2017. The company has not provided any details as to what that form that model might take, but prior to its bankruptcy, Fisker displayed a smaller concept sedan called the Atlantic at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

Fisker had previously revealed the Surf wagon and Sunset convertible concepts based on the Karma as well, but there’s no telling at this point if Wanxiang has any intent on putting those into production any time in the near future.

Fisker’s new owner working out Karma’s 250 ‘bugs’ before introducing second model originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chinese giant Wanxiang wins bid for bankrupt A123 and its battery tech

#SuryaRay #Surya Chinese auto tech behemoth Wanxiang has won the bidding process in an auction to buy the assets of bankrupt battery maker A123 Systems. On Sunday the companies announced that Wanxiang plans to acquire most of the assets of A123 for $256.6 million. It’s news that could be a bit controversial, given A123 received a $132 million grant from the U.S. government, and could now be owned by a Chinese company.

The winning bid beat out Johnson Control’s bid to acquire A123′s automotive division. Johnson Controls previously had offered to buy the automotive division and two factories for $125 million.

One of the reasons Wanxiang’s offer to buy up A123 had been controversial was because A123 had some U.S. military contracts, which critics didn’t want to see in the hands of a Chinese company. But A123 decided to sell off its government business, including all its U.S. military contracts, to Illinois-based company Navitas Systems, for $2.25 million. Wanxiang acquired the rest of the assets including the grid storage business.

We’ll see if that move silences politician critics like U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). The deal still has to be approved by the bankruptcy court as well as the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFIUS).

If approved, the future of A123 System’s lithium ion battery tech will fittingly be owned by a Chinese auto giant, as China is increasingly becoming one of the most important markets for electric vehicles. Money from Chinese investors, conglomerates, cities and the government, continues to drive a significant amount of the future of next-generation electric car technology.

The deal also provides a future for A123′s technology, which had a promising beginning, but had suffered a series of setbacks in 2012. Venture-backed A123 held the largest IPO in 2009, raising some $371 million, and was trading at over $20 per share when it started trading. A123 also raised more than $350 million from private investors when it was still a startup.

Yet in recent months, it suffered from manufacturing problems, and also had only a handful of customers for its premium batteries. The company had been losing boat loads of money for years.

The Wanxiang deal still won’t make back enough to cover its debts. A123 says:

Because the total purchase price for A123’s assets would be less than the total amount owed to creditors, the Company does not anticipate any recoveries for its current shareholders and believes its stock to have no value.

Now that the A123 bankruptcy is moving forward, it will be interesting to see what Fisker Automotive, one of A123′s prime customers, will do. Fisker had told the media that it is waiting for the results of the A123 auction before it starts back up assembling its Karma cars.

This isn’t Wanxiang’s first cleantech and clean energy acquisition — it’s actually its fifth in 2012, says the company in a release. Wanxiang has been aggressively acquiring under valued American cleantech and clean energy companies.

http://dlvr.it/2cN1F0 @suryaray

Fisker’s Chinese owner says we should “truly believe” it can send all of the old company’s concept cars to production alongside the Karma, according to statements on its new website thenewfisker.com. The old website, fiskerautomotive.com, is still online but has been largely useless since the plug-in hybrid automaker killed production in 2012, fired three-quarters of […]

China’s Wanxiang sees opportunity in struggling U.S. cleantech

#SuryaRay #Surya “Cleantech is the new frontier for civilization,” Pin Ni, the President of Wanxiang America, told me in an interview this week. While Wanxiang might be an entirely unfamiliar name in the U.S., it’s one of China’s largest industrial parts companies with $13 billion in revenue and 45,000 employees. Wanxiang’s American division is sizable in its own right, with around $2.5 billion in revenue and 6,000 people.

Wanxiang has emerged as a company that has been making some really aggressive investments into U.S.-based cleantech startups, and the firm has invested in quite a few companies that had hit a wall financially. Most recently Wanxiang said it planned to invest up to $450 million into ailing lithium ion battery maker A123 Systems, which could eventually give Wanxiang 80 percent ownership.

A123 Systems, based in Waltham, Mass. has been bleeding cash for months, with weak sales and a battery recall for a line it produced for electric car maker Fisker Automotive. It was on the verge of being delisted from the Nasdaq. Ni described A123 Systems to me as one of the clear leaders in lithium ion battery manufacturing that has been facing significant financial challenges. Wanxiang will work to help A123 get “financially stabilized,” said Ni.

Wanxiang also invested $420 million into GreatPoint Energy, a company based in Cambridge, Mass. that converts coal into cleaner-burning natural gas. At the time that deal was described by the Wall Street Journal as “the largest ever by a Chinese corporation into a venture-capital-funded U.S. company.” GreatPoint Energy planned to use the money partly to build a large-scale plant in China to convert coal into natural.

But before Wanxiang’s investment, GreatPoint Energy’s technology had stalled in the U.S., partly because U.S. shale natural gas had emerged as so cheap plentiful. GreatPoint’s technology showed great promise, but “economically they were finished in the U.S. The shareholders had decided to not give the company any more money,” said Ni. However, in China, GreatPoint’s economics worked far better.

Ni told me for U.S. cleantech startups, Wanxiang can provide valuable resources like capital, management, and help with expanding into China. Wanxiang is involved in all types of clean technology, from electric cars, to solar, to wind farms, to batteries. Wanxiang invested in another struggling company electric car company Smith Electric Vehicles.

When I asked Ni if Wanxiang looks for undervalued, under performing, cleantech startups, he said, it probably only looks that way because of the few press releases about these companies. Wanxiang also invests in energy companies that are thriving, says Ni.

But the reality of cleantech is that “we’re not there yet in terms of technology and cost,” says Ni, “the industry needs a lot of support from governments and private companies. It’s not a viable business as of today.” However, Wanxiang and Ni don’t waver on the sector in the long term: “There’s no question we need to get there.”

Wanxiang’s investments in U.S. cleantech companies aren’t without controversy; particularly for companies that have gotten money from the U.S. government, and then are building products in China. A123 Systems received a $249 million matching grant from the Department of Energy to build its factory, which will now be mostly owned by the Chinese conglomerate.

http://dlvr.it/233Nq2 @suryaray

The New Fisker Is Live: Original Karma Owners Get Most Support: Since it bought the remains of Fisker Automotive last year, Chinese parts giant Wanxiang has promised to restart production of the Karma extended-range electric sedan. And while Fisker hasn’t quite been brought back to life yet, it is at least beginning to twitch. A new website for the carmaker was recently launched under the “New Fisker” banner… http://dlvr.it/9g8hMZ