Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on April 22, 2008
In the case of advancing technology, it’s often said that great minds think alike. In other less fortunate cases, it’s alleged that the ideas of great minds are stolen by those not so great. That’s what Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors claims happened with the trade secrets and design concept for their new hybrid sedan.
Green car fanatics have long been salivating over Tesla’s electric two-seater sports car, which has only recently become available in limited quantities. Up next on the production schedule is a four-door sedan, which, according to the New York Times has been code-named the White Star. It appeared to be smooth sailing for Tesla until from around the bend came news of the Fisker Karma sedan, which — like Tesla’s vehicle — is a “serial hybrid” powered by a battery that’s charged by a small gas engine.
Great minds thinking alike? Not so much, according to Tesla.
In a suit filed in San Mateo Superior Court, Tesla says it hired Danish-born Henrik Fisker (of BMW and Aston Martin fame) last year for $875,000 to work on the White Star’s body design, and that after doing “substandard work…essentially sabotaging it”, Fisker came out with a competing vehicle, despite allegations that he had no prior knowledge of hybrid technology.
Fisker’s White Star design was eventually scrapped, forcing Tesla back to square one, concept-wise. Meanwhile, Fisker was founding his own company, Fisker Automotive.
A lawyer for Tesla says, “I think it’s ironic that Fisker chose to name his car the Karma, when what he’s done is very bad karma.”
Coincidence or conspiracy? I guess that will be up to the jury.
(via the New York Times)