Why Fisker failed  | TechCrunch

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I’m back from holiday in Denmark and Germany, where I managed to try just about every kind of transportation, from bikes to scooters, to driving on the Autobahn and taking the train. I even took some ferries. It’s safe to say Copenhagen’s bike culture left me envious. 

The TechCrunch team was busy as ever thanks to the Tesla shareholder meeting, several funding deals and developments in the EV world. The biggie: Fisker filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Here’s a timeline of events leading up to the bankruptcy filing as well as senior reporter Sean O’Kane’s piece about why Fisker failed.

And in case you missed it, I also highly recommend this deeply reported article (from late May) by O’Kane that exposed the numerous problems within Fisker. 

A little bird

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

Got a tip for us? Email Kirsten Korosec at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com, Sean O’Kane at sean.okane@techcrunch.com or Rebecca Bellan at rebecca.bellan@techcrunch.com. Or check out these instructions to learn how to contact us via encrypted messaging apps or SecureDrop.


money the station
Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

This week’s biggest deal comes from self-driving trucking startup Waabi. The company raised $200 million in a round from existing investors Uber and Khosla Ventures, alongside a number of strong strategic investors like Nvidia, Volvo Group VC, Porsche Automobil Holding SE and more. 

Waabi plans to use the funds to get to a fully driverless commercial launch in 2025, but that’s not the only reason investors are so bullish on the young startup. Waabi’s generative AI foundational model is capable of reasoning almost as a human would, without requiring reams of real-world data to train on, according to the startup’s founder and CEO Raquel Urtasun. This makes the AI system more capital efficient and easier to scale to autonomous trucking and beyond. 

Urtasun said the AI’s ability to generalize and develop quickly means Waabi can expand the tech to other applications, like robotaxis, humanoids or warehouse robotics. 

Other deals that got my attention …

Bitsensing raised a $25 million Series B to further develop its high-res radar technology for autonomous vehicles. Investors include Korea Development Bank, HL Mando Corporation, Industrial Bank of Korea and Aju Capital. 

LD Carbon raised $28 million in a Series C round led by Toyota’s growth fund, Woven Capital, to advance the circular economy by diverting used tires from landfills. The startup also aims to develop high-performance recycled car parts, according to a statement sent to TechCrunch. 

RBW EV, a London-based EV manufacturer of new, hand-crafted classic British sports cars, raised £10 million from Meson Capital Partners. The startup currently offers a Roadster model with a starting price of around $135,000 and plans to debut its GT model later this year at a starting price of $151,000.

Unigrid raised $12 million in a round led by Transition VC and Ritz Venture Capital to make sodium-ion batteries, which promise to be a cheaper, safer alternative that can complement lithium-ion batteries.

Notable reads and other tidbits

Autonomous vehicles

A University of Central Florida study suggests that autonomous vehicles (AVs) are safer than humans in routine circumstances during daylight hours. But in other conditions they struggle, according to the New Scientist. 

California senator Dave Cortese shelved his SB 915 bill (which would give cities more control over AV deployment) after the Assembly committee proposed amendments that would effectively strip the bill of its original intent. The AV industry sees this as a win, but Cortese said he would eventually reintroduce it.  

Project 3 Mobility, the Croatia-based autonomous vehicle startup co-founded by Mate Rimac, is set to make what it describes as a “major reveal” on June 26. As a reminder, the company recently raised 100 million euros ($107 million) in a Series A round that included backing from TASARU Mobility Investments, a company fully owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

Electric vehicles, charging & batteries

Chinese automaker and battery maker BYD signed an MoU with Ampersand, an African EV energy tech company, to decarbonize Africa’s commercial motorbike transport system. The deal involves Ampersand purchasing BYD’s battery cells to build around 40,000 e-motorcycles by the end of 2026. 

ChargePoint is teaming up with South Korea’s LG Electronics to install more EV charging stations in the U.S. As part of the deal, ChargePoint will provide software to operate LG’s EV chargers, and LG will supply the hardware to bolster ChargePoint’s network. 

Revel has hired a couple more former Tesla employees to leadership positions in its EV infrastructure team, the startup announced. This appears to be part of a growing trend from automakers and EV charging companies to scoop up top talent that Elon Musk appears to have fired on a whim six weeks ago. 

Ultium workers at GM’s Lordstown, Ohio, battery cell plant have voted to ratify a new contract that will give production workers $35 an hour by October 2027, as well as benefits and health and safety protections. 


Tesla held its shareholder meeting last Thursday following an unprecedented social media battle waged by Musk and Tesla fans. It should surprise no one that investors voted to approve Elon Musk’s astronomical pay package. They also voted in favor of reincorporating Tesla in Texas.

Now Tesla has begun fighting for legal recognition of that shareholder vote. The automaker wrote to the Delaware judge who, in January, ruled that Musk’s pay package was unfair to say that the shareholder vote “significantly impacts” her ruling voiding the pay.

That’s not the only legal battle Tesla got itself into over the past week. While some shareholders want to give Musk everything he asked for, others are standing up to him. A group of shareholders sued Musk and the Tesla board last week, claiming that they breached fiduciary duties and unjustly enriched Musk by allowing the CEO to launch xAI, which they say is a competing AI company.


Quick-commerce startups promising 15-minute delivery rose and fell in U.S. cities. But in India, the sector is growing alongside the country’s rapid urbanization. Will Indian quick-commerce startups, which are increasingly moving into the e-commerce market, be able to find product-market fit and strong unit economics where U.S. startups couldn’t?

This week’s wheels

What is “This week’s wheels”? It’s a chance to learn about the different transportation products we’re testing, whether it’s an electric or hybrid car, an e-bike or even a ride in an autonomous vehicle. In the coming weeks, we’ll share our views on the Fiat 500e, a few e-bikes, the 2024  Nissan Ariya Empower+, and more. 

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