Fisker bills itself as providing “the world’s most sustainable electric vehicles and advanced mobility solutions.” The automaker has made bold claims about tech behind its first vehicle, the upcoming Ocean EV. Additionally, to add to its environmental claims, all of the company’s cars are built in Magna’s carbon-neutral factory in Graz, Austria.
Founder Henrik Fisker is a mad genius, designing a slew of iconic vehicles like the BMW Z8, Aston Martin DB9, and Aston Martin V8 Vantage before starting his latest company, Fisker Inc, in 2016. The outspoken entrepreneur’s Midas touch is proving itself once again, as his company has already sold out two trim levels of its Ocean SUV, the Ocean Sport and Ocean Ultra. It also sold out 5,000 units of its Fisker Ocean One edition.
Since the announcement of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which changed the requirement for tax credit qualification to only include cars with final assembly in North America, Fisker has been contacting interested parties in the US to mitigate any concerns about retaining the $7,500 federal tax credit before the act potentially takes effect (Fisker’s vehicles no longer qualify for tax credits under the new law). Fisker told Ocean reservation holders that if they have a binding order and take delivery before the end of 2023, they still qualify for the tax credit.
The company made waves at the Consumer Electronics Show and the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show, where Henrik Fisker himself debuted the Ocean and its unusual features. Its available roof-mounted solar panels (called SolarSky) are touted to power 2,000 miles of range per year. The center-mounted 17.1-inch touchscreen rotates vertically and horizontally like a personal tablet. And inside the cabin, the Ocean employs all sustainable materials, like recycled plastic bottles and other recycled plastics. Activate the Ocean’s “California mode” to lower all the windows (including the tailgate window) and slide back the sunroof for an open-air feel.
Fisker Ocean Silver in Leo Carrilo Beach. Fisker
The Ocean, the company’s base model, is equipped with a single motor with 275 horsepower. Fisker says it will have 250 miles of range before needing to recharge. Stepping up a level, there’s the Ultra, which adds a second motor for a total output of 540 horsepower, with a zero-to-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds. The Extreme and Ocean One models reduce that time to 3.6 seconds and sport 550 horsepower engines.
The Ocean SUV comes standard with what the company calls the Fisker Intelligent Pilot package, which is its suite of driver-assistance technology. Included are programs for automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning, and available adaptive cruise control.
With a starting price of under $40,000, the electric-powered SUV is betting on the company founder’s vast experience and creativity to build and market its vehicles. Only 537 employees work for Fisker—an incredibly small number for an automaker.
One of the ways the company is staying nimble is through its “asset light” approach, which means it keeps its balance sheet healthier by farming out the manufacturing to Magna Steyr’s carbon-neutral factory in Austria. In a press release, Fisker said it’s exploring ways to increase production of the Ocean to meet demand in the US by the end of 2023. No promises have been made yet, however. With less than 100 days to go to production, Fisker is focused on getting the first set of orders out the door.
“Our asset-light, rapid-product-development business model enables us to bring state-of-the-art technology like a revolving 17.1-inch center screen, SolarSky sunroof, and the world’s first digital radar to market earlier than other brands, offering the latest technology for $68,799 for our top-end, fully loaded Fisker Ocean Extreme,” Henrik Fisker tells PopSci.
Those who remember Fisker’s previous endeavor, the luxury plug-in range-extended sports car Fisker Karma, know that the CEO isn’t shy about stepping outside of what is considered “typical.” Unfortunately plagued by the bankruptcy of its battery supplier, A123 Systems, Fisker’s design, tooling, and manufacturing facility were sold to Wanxiang Group in 2014. The Chinese company renamed Fisker Automotive to Karma Automotive, and Henrik Fisker started over with Fisker Inc.
Fisker says it will resume production on November 17 and ramp up to 40,000-50,000 units in 2023. The company will reopen the order process for the Fisker Ocean Extreme trim on November 18.