Caterpillar’s EV Move: Investment in Fisker

Caterpillar Inc., which has been somewhat quiet about electrification and alternative powertrains, at least publicly, has made an interesting and possibly significant move with the announcement of its strategic investment in Los Angeles-based Fisker Inc.

Fisker bills itself as an e-mobility and technology company developing electric vehicles and proprietary solid-state battery technologies. The strategic investment comes from Caterpillar Venture Capital Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar.

Started in 2006 by Henrik Fisker, the company is perhaps best known for its new product launches in the passenger car EV space, especially with its launch of the highly styled Fisker EMotion luxury electric sedan that was shown at the Consumer Electronic show in January.

At the same time, Fisker unveiled its Fisker Flexible Solid-State battery, claiming it will feature three-dimensional electrodes with 2.5 times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries. Fisker calls it a “breakthrough technology that will enable dramatically longer ranges of more than 500 miles on a single charge and charging times as low as one minute…”

The company said that automotive applications are anticipated to be production grade ready sometime after 2020.

While it is doubtful that with this announcement Caterpillar now enters the electric car business, it can be surmised that like many in the heavy duty markets, the investment in Fisker will give the Deerfield, Ill.-headquartered company an electrification technology base it can expand and use throughout its machinery product lines.

The announcement noted as much saying, “Caterpillar Ventures’ investment in Fisker illustrates a mutually recognized importance that electrification solutions will represent to multiple business segments in the future. While Caterpillar and Fisker serve fundamentally different industries, advancements in electrification technologies pose increasing importance and offer the potential to positively impact customer value for the right products.”  

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