Electric Car Maker Sues Rival for Stealing Trade Secrets

Designer Fisker employed by Tesla, then started own company
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2008 3:06 PM CDT
Sacramento Police Officer Ethan Zeek, looks over a Tesla electric car.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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(Newser) – The maker of an electric sports car is suing a rival company, alleging stolen trade secrets, the New York Times reports. Tesla Motors hired Henrik Fisker to design a new sedan; after a subpar effort, Tesla says, he founded his own company and built a better vehicle with Tesla tricks. Fisker’s new Karma uses the same serial hybrid process as Tesla's White Star.

Tesla claims Fisker purposely took the job to gain access; said its chairman, “He gave us an inferior work product, and it’s obvious why.” The redesigned White Star—using a small gas motor to fuel a battery that powers an electric motor—will eventually retail for around $70,000; the Karma will cost $80,000.