In the mid-aughts, when it became clear that electric vehicle technology had progressed to the point where it could produce cars consumers actually wanted instead of just glorified golf-carts for hippies, two EV startups produced the most buzz: Elon Musk’s Tesla and Fisker, led by legendary automotive designer Henrik Fisker.
In 2022, Tesla is now the world’s most valuable automaker and has a whole range of mass-produced vehicles that aren’t just status symbols or green-energy Birkenstock-bait, but attractive to car enthusiasts as well.
Fisker, meanwhile, blew through $1.4 billion in private and public funding between its founding in 2007 and 2013, according to Reuters. It produced roughly 2,450 copies of its only car, the Fisker Karma — a prohibitively expensive dumpster fire of a design that wasn’t even fully electric (it was a plug-in hybrid) and was notoriously wretched in both the performance and reliability departments.
On Monday, Musk struck a deal to buy social media platform Twitter for $44 billion. Fisker, meanwhile, deleted his Twitter account and moved to Instagram.
I’m not saying this is dispositive in any way, shape or form, but just in case you wanted a very simple case study in the relative merit of a) who’s worried about free speech on Twitter as it stands now and b) who’s worried about free speech on Twitter if Elon Musk takes it over, well, there you go.
Fisker is a progressive’s progressive, a “climate crisis” evangelist and a proponent of an “environmental, social and governance” score (“ESG” to the initiated) to ensure corporations toe the liberal line.
(He’s not the only liberal freaking out over Musk’s purchase of the social media network. The left is apparently afraid of unfettered free speech in the digital town square — which is why we at The Western Journal think it’s more important than ever to defend it. If you agree, please consider helping our fight by subscribing.)
According to Fox Business, Fisker deleted his account on Twitter — but not before leaving a parting message (note the “ClimateCrisis” and “ESG” hashtags).
“Please follow me on IG [Instagram] from now on if you want updates. Thanks,” Fisker wrote, followed by the hashtags, “#Fisker #Love #EV #ESG #ClimateCrisis #follow.”
Fisker only had 86,600 followers on Twitter compared to 84.6 million for Musk, it’s worth noting.
The account for Fisker’s new automotive venture — Fisker Inc., which has developed a new EV called the Fisker Ocean — remains active.
— Fisker Inc. (@FiskerInc) April 26, 2022
The Ocean, another anodyne-looking crossover from an EV startup, derives its name from being the “most sustainable SUV on Earth” with an interior made out of “high-grade upholstery, carpets, and interior details made from recycled plastic bottles and other recycled plastics,” according to the company’s website — thus putting less pressure on our beleaguered seas.
Which is, you know, fantastic, but keeping the name “Fisker” might not have been the wisest move. I understand it’s the man’s surname, but there’s a reason Ford hasn’t branded anything as “Edsel” recently.
On his Instagram, Fisker wrote that he was afraid his “free speech” would be undermined by Tesla, given that they’re a competitor.
“I believe 100% in free speech. But I do not want my free speech to be actively managed or controlled by a competitor,” he wrote on Tuesday. “And I do not want a competitor to determine how my followers experience Fisker as we grow our company.”
This manages to give a good laugh on multiple levels. For instance, as of Wednesday morning, Fisker Inc. still had its Twitter account active — which is to say the company Musk could theoretically gain from limiting the free speech of still remains on the platform Musk is buying, it’s just its owner that’s left. Because, you know, we were all clamoring to hear what Henrik Fisker had to say.
(One is reminded of the old tale of the small otter floating on its back down the Mississippi River, signaling to have the drawbridge raised because he would be going underneath it shortly.)
What’s actually happening here is that Henrik Fisker is signaling the same sentiment innumerable other blue-checks on the left have sent since Elon Musk began pursuing a Twitter purchase in earnest: They’re fine with oligarchs running major social media platforms, they just want it to be their kind of oligarch. In Fisk’s case, that’s Mark Zuckerberg, whose Meta (formerly known as Facebook) owns Instagram.
At the moment, Twitter is, for better or worse, the de facto public square of social and political speech in the Western world — and yet, the company has spent years making it clear it had no compunction about limiting reasonable speech, particularly speech that doesn’t fit the liberal narrative.
Twitter’s October 2020 censorship of the New York Post’s reporting into Hunter Biden’s laptop didn’t draw much condemnation from any of the people now having a conniption about Elon Musk buying out the platform. That ought to tell you something about their priorities.
In the meantime, Twitter’s technology has lagged behind other tech platforms considerably, the biggest innovation in years being an expansion from a 140-character limit per tweet to a generous 280.
The company has a notoriously terrible business model, something Musk has promised to turn around. Part of that, I can assure you, won’t involve turning the platform into a red-pilled paradise where conservative viewpoints are the only ones being amplified. I can assure you of that because that same business model — just with the politics reversed — is part of why the platform is failing now.
I will say this much for Henrik Fisker’s rage-quit from Twitter on Tuesday, however:
I’m a car nut, and this is the first time I’ve thought about Henrik Fisker in ages. Judging by the looks of his oatmeal-bland crossover — which has, as its major selling point, an upcycled plastic interior — I get the feeling it might be the last.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.