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There's still some bad blood between Elon Musk and Henrik Fisker

Just a few hours ago, Fisker Automotive announced that it was able to determine the cause of the latest fire that destroyed a Karma hybrid/electric sedan. Now, we’ve learned that Tesla Motors/Space X CEO Elon Musk is jumping into the fray to kick Fisker Automotive while it’s down in an interview with Automobile Magazine. It should be noted, however, that Musk and Fisker Automotive founder Henrik Fisker have a rocky past (read this article for some background information).
Musk was somewhat diplomatic when talking about the Karma’s styling, noting, “It looks good. Particularly from the side it looks good. I don’t love the front. It looks too much like a caricature of a Mexican Bandito—the grille.”

But the emphasis on over-the-top styling lead to one of Musk’s main criticisms of Henrik Fisker and the Karma sedan. “The fundamental problem with Henrik Fisker — he is a designer or stylist… he thinks the reason we don’t have electric cars is for lack of styling. This is not the reason. It’s fundamentally a technology problem."
In other words, the Karma is all style with little substance.

Henrik Fisker and the Fisker Karma [Image Source: Car and Driver]
Musk goes on to state that the voluptuous bodylines of the Karma make for an oddly packaged vehicle. For example, despite the fact that Karma weighs as much as a full-size SUV (5,300 lbs) and is nearly 200" long, it has very little cargo capacity and can only seat four people.
Although Musk doesn't allude to the Model S in this section of the Automobile Magazine interview, the Model S is faster, features both a front and rear trunk, and can seat five people in its base configuration. The Model S can also seat up to seven with optional rear-facing jump seats installed in the cargo hold (Elon Musk has five children and wanted to be able to transport them all in the Model S).
Musk also took Fisker to task over outsourcing much of the development of the Karma to other companies (most of the development for the Model S was done in-house). "He outsourced the engineering and manufacturing. But the fact is…that’s the crux of the problem. And he’s outsourcing to people who don’t know how to solve the problem."

Elon Musk and the Tesla Model S [Image Source: AutoEvolution]
Given the two reported fires involving the Fisker Karma (including the most recent fire which was caused by a third-party supplier's cooling fan) along with the recall and replacement of battery packs, we're sure that Musk is probably patting himself on the back.
To sum up his thoughts on the Karma, Musk proclaimed that the vehicle is "a mediocre product at a high price." The Fisker Karma starts at $95,900 while the entry-level Model S starts at $57,500 and can hit $105,400 for the "Signature Performance" version.

Sources: Automobile Magazine, Autoblog Green

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RE: Nailed it
By StealthX32 on 8/18/2012 9:34:04 PM , Rating: 2
Musk IS a douche. Ask anyone who works for either SpaceX or Tesla.

But so was Steve Jobs.

Not to say douchery is a necessary trait of successful CEOs of innovative companies, but find any interview of either and you'll see the narcissism. They both believe themselves to be gods, and are out to change this world.

RE: Nailed it
By 1prophet on 8/18/2012 10:20:32 PM , Rating: 2
I see that "douchery" trait in a lot of successful visionary people past and present, especially when they go against the natural flow that the masses won't question.

RE: Nailed it
By BugblatterIII on 8/19/2012 9:20:22 AM , Rating: 2
Today's Dilbert covers it pretty well:

Being a douche doesn't guarantee success; I've worked for plenty of douches who never managed to take the company where it needed to go.

I don't think being a nice guy will bring you success in our society, but there's still room to at least be decent and succeed.

RE: Nailed it
By someguy123 on 8/19/2012 7:35:41 PM , Rating: 2
You see "douchery" in popular figures because the controversy they generate is what ultimately gets them public attention. Has hardly any correlation with being a genius nor a visionary.

RE: Nailed it
By Ringold on 8/19/2012 9:01:36 PM , Rating: 2
I've met a lot of business leaders and while they aren't all that way, the correlation is strong. I'd be much more likely to have a beer with a SpaceX engineer than Musk.

Though in some cases instead of that word I'd use "alpha male," perhaps -- which makes some sense, as the meek don't often rise that high.

That said, I'm consistent: I don't like them personally, but I'm not some class warrior because of it. I respect their (large) contributions, I just don't care to be around them any more then I must. :P

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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