The Fisker Ocean, the first model from the new automaker, has made its European debut at the tech-fest that is the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. We say new automaker, but founder Henrik Fisker is a part of the automotive industry’s furniture, having been a prolific designer penning models for the likes of Aston Martin and BMW before turning to making his own.
Early attempts were, in his own words, perhaps too early and the first cars to wear the Fisker badge around a decade ago are few and far between, although today quite sought after. Now it’s all systems go with a pot of money from investors, a manufacturing deal with Magna who make models under contract for Jaguar, Porsche and others and a model plan for the next few years with further manufacturing in collaboration with Foxconn in the US.
The model plan includes a small solution for urban mobility called the Pear, a slightly tongue-in-cheek play on Apple’s plans to make a car, although Fisker says the name stands for Personal Electric Automotive Revolution. Next year we will see a luxury sports car that will be designed in the UK at the newly formed Fisker Magic Works and there is also another in the works, although Fisker wouldn’t give us any details.
Then there’s the car we were in Barcelona to see, the Ocean. It had its reveal in Los Angeles in 2021 but this was the first time we got take a look at it and actual touch some buttons and surfaces, not to mention play with the cool rotating central touchscreen. Yes, touchscreens can be distracting and raise safety issues, but it rotates so you can watch Netflix in 16:9 while sitting and waiting for the thing to charge up, so that’s cool.
We sat down and had a chat with Fisker himself but before we get into what he had to say, here are some basic details on the new model. The Ocean will go into production in November 2022 but because we like to have our steering wheel on the right, the UK will only get its first models in the summer of 2023. Pricing will start from £34,990 for the single motor Sport which has 275hp and an estimated driving range of 275 miles. The range-topping Ocean Extreme will have dual motors, all-wheel drive, 550hp and a Hyper Range battery that is claimed to provide a range of 390 miles. There will also be a Launch Edition.
That’s all the basics, but what about the cool stuff? Well we've mentioned the rotating touchscreen, but there’s tech like the world’s first automotive digital radar that can see better in the dark than other forms of active radar. Not cool enough? Ok what about the fact it has drive modes called Earth, Fun and Hyper? You can also use it to power other things, like your electric bike or even provide a power boost to another EV. Then there’s California Mode, when all eight pieces of glass including the panoramic roof and the rear window slide way at the push of a button to give you loads of fresh air - that’s literally cool, unless you’re driving through Dubai in summer.
There’s a passion for sustainability too with the option of a fully vegan interior, recycled carbon fibre in the wheels, recycled plastic from the oceans and loads more. Plus of course, it’s an electric car, so it’s environmentally in terms of zero tailpipe emissions.
It has space for five, a good size boot, that higher SUV ride height everyone loves and as you would expect from a car company run by a car designer, it all looks good too. The prototype we had a look around in Barcelona was exactly that, a prototype, so there were a few bits that need to be a little more solid and Fisker’s daughter told us not to close the doors too hard, but otherwise, it was all good.
For now Magna has built 50 prototypes which are undergoing tests around the world to pass local regulations in each market, but Fisker says that all seems to be on track for Oceans to start pouring out of the Magna factory in November.
“Everything is pretty much done, the official start of production and sales deliveries is November 17, that's when we start delivering the first vehicles,” he told us. “We are launching in five countries in Europe and US simultaneously. We will be delivering vehicles in November in five European countries first - Austria, Germany, Norway, Denmark and Sweden.”
“The UK unfortunately, because the steering wheel is on the other side, is always six months after. If you look at any launch of any automaker it’s about six months later because it's not just the steering wheel moving over, if you think about it, the dash itself has to have a whole different tool (for manufacturing).”
It’s all going full speed according to Fisker, with reservations for the Ocean jumping significantly after it was revealed in November to the point where the company now has around 33,000 pre-orders. That makes this time around for Fisker look much more positive, but its not just about the business or even the design for Fisker himself.
“We've built a pretty cool company and I think this is exciting and I'm not here just to design another car, I want to really do something that has a meaning, beyond designing a cool car,” he says.
Whether it’s the good intentions behind the company or the fact that Fisker has designed a really cool car, there’s still a long way to go to prove that the formula and the timing is right for Fisker and his ambitions this time around.
Written by Mark Smyth