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L to R: Fisker Ocean, PEAR, Alaska, Ronin. Courtesy of Fisker


Fisker Holds A Glitzy Reveal Event In SoCal

Fisker has big plans for its electric car lineup including a compact electric pickup truck for people who prize affordability over payload.

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Henrik Fisker is an optimist. He needs to be. His track record in the car business has been pretty dismal. The original Fisker Karma was filled with so many glitches it was almost undriveable. It did drive Fisker’s first electric car company into bankruptcy, though.

Since then, Henrik Fisker has touted news of new breakthrough batteries that were gonna set the world on fire (perhaps a poor analogy when discussing EV batteries). There hasn’t been much news about that venture in the last couple of years.

But through it all, Fisker has put a brave face on things. He managed to get his Ocean battery electric SUV into production and struck a deal with Foxconn to manufacture his cars at the former Lordstown factory it bought from Lordstown Motors. Last week, he laid on a glitzy Product Vision Day event in which he presented three new electric vehicles his company might manufacture someday, God willing and the creek don’t rise. For those who are interested, the entire 1 hour, 20 minute, and 36 second extravaganza can be viewed below.

Everyone is emulating the master showman, Elon Musk, who has used splashy reveal events like this to hype upcoming models for years, but not everyone can be Elon, and while the Fisker event previewed some tantalizing automobiles, there are substantial questions about which, if any of them, will actually get built.

Fisker Alaska Electric Pickup

Fisker Alaska

Courtesy of Fisker

Perhaps the most interesting concept on display at Product Vision Day was the Fisker Alaska, a battery electric pickup truck that Henrik Fisker says is intended to be a daily driver, not a hauler of horse trailers, concrete blocks, or pig iron. He said production is scheduled for 2025 for the compact pickup that is slightly larger than a Ford Maverick and slightly smaller than a Toyota Tacoma. The starting price is $45,400 and the truck will be eligible for the full US federal tax credit.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Alaska is that its 4.5-foot-long cargo bed can accommodate objects up to 9.2 feet long if the seats are folded and the tailgate is down. Range is projected to be 230 to 340 miles, which suggests at least two battery sizes and a choice of single- or dual-motor configurations will be available. TechCrunch reports it will be built by a contract manufacturer in Europe in the same factory where the Ocean is assembled.

Personal Electric Automotive Revolution

Fisker started taking reservations for its PEAR (personal electric automotive revolution) compact SUV last year. The vehicle is intended to be a city car starting at under $30,000. The plan is to build a million or so of them at the Lordstown factory with Foxconn. More on that subject in a minute.

The Verge says Fisker hopes to hit this relatively affordable price point by producing the PEAR in large quantities and with a simplified design process that it says results in it needing 35 percent fewer parts than comparable models. It features a so-called “Houdini Trunk” that slides down into the rear bumper to be more space efficient in cramped parking spots, an option to have a bench seat in in front so it can seat up to six people, and a front trunk that slides out from behind the grille.

“The chance for us is let’s get these cars to market as fast as we can. Grab as much market share, because once you grab market share, you have a much bigger chance to hold on to it,” Fisker told TechCrunch. “Nobody can make a car in two years now. We started all these programs two years ago. So they’ve all been under development and kind of in skunk works, so they’re all ready to go — ready to go to suppliers and get into production. We still have to select certain manufacturing sites, and we’re in the middle of all that. But the strategy is really let’s get great product to market, really innovative product that excites people and let’s take a big market share.”

Fisker Ronin

The Alaska, PEAR, and Ocean are all relatively affordable, but every company needs a halo car. Tesla is working on a second-generation Roadster that will be faster than a speeding locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, so Fisker needs to have a car like that, too. It calls its offering the Ronin, a five-passenger grand touring sports car that Fisker says will offer over 600 miles of range. It’s a hardtop convertible with four butterfly doors that will blaze from 0 to 60 mph in 2 seconds. The company says it “will be ultra-luxury priced and built in limited quantities.” Don’t hold your breath for this car arriving any time soon — if ever.

Production Hell

Like just about every other automobile manufacturer on the planet, Fisker is struggling to get cars out the door due to supply chain issues. On Friday, the company said it produced fewer Oceans than it expected to in the second quarter and dropped its production goals for the full year.

If you think Product Vision Day would help the company’s stock price, investors are getting weary of the dog and pony shows manufacturers like to put on from time to time. All the good news came to naught as the word on production cuts resulted in a 6% drop in the company’s stock price after the event.

The Fisker/Foxconn Deal

Henrik Fisker may be confident the memorandum of understanding he signed in 2021 to build the PEAR at Lordstown is moving forward, but TechCrunch is skeptical. It points out that Lordstown Motors is now suing Foxconn, alleging it was repeatedly lied to by the Taiwanese company. The company withdrew from a $19.5 billion agreement with Indian company Vedanta last month. It also famously received a $3 billion incentives package to build a factory in Wisconsin that was supposed to create 13,000 jobs. The state ended up reducing incentives when Foxconn failed to deliver on its initial promises.

Henrik Fisker said there are some outstanding questions that both Foxconn and Fisker need to resolve. “Part of it is that both parties want a lot more information, so we need a little more information for some suppliers because once you have a deal, somebody’s saying, that’s how much it costs to assemble it, and we’re saying okay, we agreed to that, right? So we’re still working on exchanging information and getting to, ‘This is how we’re going to do it,'” he added.

During the Q2 earnings call on Friday he said, “The PEAR will be built here, [in the U.S.], but we are still in final talks with Foxconn. When you deal with contract manufacturing, it’s a little different because you have to go through all the details of each vehicle to understand the exact cost of assembly.” He added that he expects the deal to be finalized in the next three months.

Promises, Promises

The images from the Fisker Product Vision Day are intriguing. An affordable electric pickup truck should sell like hot dogs at the ball park. An under-$30,000 city car is something many would be interested in. The Ocean has some appealing aspects. Streamlining production is something every manufacturer is pursuing.

But times are tough in the car business. Lucid just slashed the price of its entry level car by $12,000. The Tesla Cybertruck is coming but has been delayed by several years. There seems to be a 50/50 percent chance the deal with Foxconn will come unglued.

We wish Henrik Fisker well. He certainly needs some success after nearly a decade of heartbreak and missed opportunities. But the attitude around CleanTechnica intergalactic headquarters is one of “wait and see.” There’s many a slip t’wixt the cup and the lip. Henrik Fisker is going to need a boatload of luck to turn all his plans into reality.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


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