Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers confirmed to Reuters that Ray Lane, the owner of the first Fisker Karma delivered to a customer, resigned from Fisker’s board on Friday.
Lane is alleged to have been influential in Fisker’s ability to attract more than a billion dollars in private capital during the company’s early days and was one of its most visible and vocal supporters.
It’s not clear why Lane has chosen to exit Fisker’s board now but it may have to do with news that at least two competing groups, one involving Fisker co-founder Henrik Fisker and the other auto industry veteran Bob Lutz, is interested in the firm.
Henrik Fisker, himself, chose to resign from Fisker back in March, citing disagreement with the rest of the company’s management. As is likely the case with Henrik Fisker, it is possible Lane resigned in order to partner with one of the competing groups interested in the firm.
Fisker, which hasn’t built a car since last year and recently fired most of its staff, is yet to file for bankruptcy. The company also owes the U.S. government $171 million in Department of Energy loans extended to it back in 2009 under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program.
Henrik Fisker is reported to have teamed up with another Fisker investor, Hong Kong-based billionaire Richard Li, and is said to be interested in buying the remaining portion of the DOE loan, possibly at a discount.
Bob Lutz, meanwhile, is said to have teamed up with China’s Wanxiang Group, the owner of the Fisker Karma’s battery supplier A123 Systems (now B456 Systems), and is looking to acquire Fisker in a prearranged bankruptcy. Lutz has also formed a startup that plans to sell Fisker Karma sedans that have had their electric drive systems replaced by Corvette V-8 engines.
Stay tuned for an update.
In related news, a company calling itself Hybrid Support Solutions (HSS), and most likely made up of former Fisker employees, has launched a service to help existing Karma owners concerned that Fisker might not survive its current ordeals. For a subscription fee of $3,995, HSS will provide information on service and repair requirements for the Karma. Note, parts and the actual servicing is not included with the fee, but simply the time, advice and recommendations of HSS staff.
We should add that new Fisker Karmas, which originally sold for $100k, having been selling at significant discount lately.