Henrik Fisker, CEO of electric car maker Fisker Inc., was a high-profile departure from Twitter this week, deleting his account over concerns about how the social media platform operated under Elon Musk’s ownership. a longtime rival.
On April 25, Twitter’s board accepted Musk’s $44 billion offer to buy the company and take it private. Fisker, a well-known car designer who once worked for Musk under contract at the start of Tesla, encouraged followers to take to his Instagram to keep tabs on him in his latest tweet. Musk says he’s committed to making Twitter a bastion for free speech, but Fisker isn’t so sure.
“I believe 100% in freedom of expression,” he said. Forbes by text message. “But I don’t want my freedom of expression to be actively managed or controlled by a competitor. And I don’t want a competitor determining how my subscribers experience Fisker as we grow our business.
Some Twitter users are expressing concerns about the direction the platform will take under Musk’s control – such as higher tolerance for hate speech, lies about vaccines and content that is racist, misogynistic or attacks the community LGBTQ – although it’s unclear how many will leave. Other accounts, such as the popular “Elon Musk jetwhich provides updates on where the mercurial billionaire flies his luxurious Gulfstream G650ER, fear they will be removed once the sale ends.
Although he’s no longer on Twitter, Fisker Inc. is. Whether or not the Los Angeles-based automaker maintains its account “is a business decision,” Fisker said, without giving further details. A company spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.
Fisker, who once designed a BMW roadster for James Bond and headed Aston Martin’s design studio, was an early design consultant for the vehicle that would become Tesla’s Model S sedan. Musk didn’t like Fisker’s concept and sued him (unsuccessfully) in 2008 for breach of contract, claiming the Danish entrepreneur took on the project to spy on Tesla. Fisker denied the charge.
Its first attempt to take on Tesla, with Fisker Automotive’s Karma plug-in hybrid luxury car, failed about a decade ago, but it’s back with Fisker Inc. The company’s all-electric Ocean SUV, a competitor to the Tesla’s Model Y, launches at the end of this year and will be built under contract for Fisker by the Magna automotive engineering powerhouse in Graz, Austria.
The Ocean starts at $37,499 for the base Sport version which goes 250 miles per charge. A top-end Extreme grade gets at least 350 miles per charge, accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds, and will cost buyers $68,999. A second Fisker model, the PEAR, is to be built in partnership with Foxconn in Lordstown, Ohio, starting in 2024.
Fisker shares fell about 4% to $10.52 in midday Nasdaq trading Tuesday.