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They worked for Tesla – now they hunt their ex-boss with their own cars

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Tesla was the first company to bring a startup mentality into the automotive industry and thus animated numerous imitators. The best prospects for Elon Musk are currently some of his ex-employees.

The fact that Tesla’s Model S was a success is not least due to Peter Rawlinson. For three years, from 2009 to 2012, the Briton worked as chief engineer under Elon Musk. He accompanied the electric sedan from prototype to mass production. Then he left Tesla in an argument. What exactly happened is unknown. What is certain is that Musk still holds a grudge against Rawlinson today.

n an argument, he left Tesla

Namely, he switched to the competition as CEO. Lucid Motors is the name of the startup that only supplied parts for other manufacturers until 2014, but developed its own car under Rawlinson. Lucid Air is the name of the limousine, which should cost the equivalent of around 142,000 euros. Rawlinson proudly showed a prototype back in 2016, and the sporty runabout has been available for purchase since last week. The online magazine “Teslarati” praised Rawlinson’s Tesla past in a report about the start of sales. Reason enough for Musk to comment on Twitter that Rawlinson hadn’t designed the Model S: “The prototype was ready when it came and it left us when it got harder. That wasn’t cool.

No matter how great Rawlinson’s influence at Tesla was, from a purely technical point of view, his new baby “Lucid Air” is competitive with the large sedans of his old employer. The sedan has 1000 hp, a maximum of 300 kilometers per hour and an enormous range of 832 kilometers for an electric car. The first models are to be delivered from January. Due to the price, it should remain a toy for the well-heeled. It is not for nothing that the Saudi Arabian state fund PIF participated in the development and invested around one billion dollars in Lucid Motors.

Another former Tesla employee works at Lucid: the German Peter Hochholdinger. He organized the production at Tesla. Now he’s making sure that the cars roll off the production line at Lucid.

A Dane challenges Elon Musk

Rawlinson isn’t the only ex-Tesla employee with ambitions, however. Henrik Fisker also shares a story with Elon Musk. The 57-year-old Dane hired Tesla as an external consultant for $ 875,000 in 2007 to design the body of the Model S. But at the end of the year he left again to found his own company Fisker Automotive together with the supplier Quantum Technologies.

A lawsuit ensued because Elon Musk accused Fisker of stealing trade secrets from Tesla. The Dane won the case, but lost in the car market. The Fisker Karma he designed came onto the market in 2011 and was made famous by prominent advertising media such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber and Al Gore. But shortly after the start of sales, Fisker battery supplier first had to call back all batteries and then went bankrupt. Without an adequate replacement, Fisker stopped production. PUSH – Lucid Motors Air – 800 km range, 300 km / h: Lucid Motors brings Tesla hunters

A car made from recycled plastic waste

Now he wants to try it again: in 2016 he founded a new e-car company called Fisker Inc. His top product is the Fisker Ocean, a purely electric SUV that focuses primarily on sustainability. The battery alone is only sufficient for around 300 kilometers, but a solar panel is installed on the roof that is supposed to increase the performance to up to 1000 kilometers. Only recycled materials are used in the interior, for example plastic waste fished from the sea.

The car should be leased via a smartphone app for the equivalent of 320 euros per month and a one-time fee of 2500 euros. This then includes all services and 30,000 kilometers driven per year and the car can be returned at any time. Alternatively, the Ocean can also be bought for around 31,500 euros. So far there is only one prototype.

The SUV should go on sale from 2022, and Fisker plans to offer four different electric cars by 2025. Until then, Fisker still has to find a contractor who will also build his cars. Negotiations are to be ongoing with Volkswagen and the Austrian manufacturer Magna. At the same time, Fisker is working on an IPO. This should secure the necessary financing for the startup for the coming years so that it does not have to constantly get fresh money from investors.

The prospects of knocking Tesla from the electric throne are slim for Rawlinson and Fisker. Elon Musk has established itself in the market. Tesla is now the most valuable car company in the world, and with its own factories, it is also the top dog in purely physical terms. The ex-employees also know that: “As long as we haven’t delivered a Lucid Air from our factory, we haven’t achieved anything,” the ” Handelsblatt ” quoted Rawlinson as saying .

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