Musk Twitter deal prompts Fisker to exit platform

Alma L. Figueroa

Electric vehicle pioneer and Tesla competitor Henrik Fisker exited Twitter this week after his old rival Elon Musk reached an agreement to buy the social media platform for $44 billion.

Fisker, who oversees electric vehicle maker Fisker Inc., wrote on Instagram Tuesday: “I believe 100% in free speech. But I do not want my free speech to be actively managed or controlled by a competitor. And I do not want a competitor to determine how my followers experience Fisker as we grow our company.”

Fisker’s Twitter handle no longer exists, though his company’s Twitter feed remained active as of Tuesday with a post of Henrik Fisker test driving a vehicle.

Musk did not appear to directly react to Fisker’s move on Tuesday, tweeting two general messages about free speech.

Fisker and Musk have long been adversaries. Tesla sued Fisker in 2008 alleging his design company stole Tesla technology and used it to develop his own vehicle. An arbitrator ruled in favor of Fisker. Henrik Fisker did design work on the Tesla Model S sedan before the car launched, when the project was known by the codename WhiteStar.

In the early 2010s, Fisker’s first carmaker, Fisker Automotive, was a rival to Tesla and, for a while, they were on nearly equal footing as Fisker promised to bring his attractive sedan called the Karma to market followed up by a string of sleek cars and crossovers. The company, however, had issues with its battery packs and was hit with a string of bad luck, including losing a shipment of vehicles due to fires and floods related to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It went bankrupt in 2013. The EV landscape has changed dramatically since then, with most major automakers investing heavily in the technology and newcomers like Lucid and Rivian joining the fray.

Tesla, meanwhile, took off and catapulted Musk to even greater international fame, along with his PayPal and SpaceX ventures.

Henrik Fisker regrouped and founded Fisker Inc. in 2016. It went public in 2020 and is planning to launch the Ocean SUV this year.

Before founding EV startups, Fisker was known as a noted sports-car designer who counts the 2005 Aston Martin V8 Vantage and 1999 BMW Z8 among his highlights.

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