Three years after announcing plans to launch a second battery-car start-up, Henrik Fisker is finally set to lay his cards down on the table, his new Fisker Ocean SUV scheduled to make its formal debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early next month.
The longtime designer was an early pioneer in electrification, launching his original, eponymous company about the same time that Tesla rolled out its Model S. But the star-crossed Fisker Automotive, and its plug-in hybrid sports car, the Karma, ran into a string of setbacks that led to its collapse barely two years later.
This time, Fisker’s new company is taking a bit of a different approach, starting with an SUV, rather than a sport sedan design, reflecting the dramatic shift in the U.S. market. The Ocean also goes all-electric, with an 80 kilowatt-hour battery-pack that, the automaker claims, will give it up to 300 miles of range per charge.
“I have been eagerly waiting to show our revolutionary Fisker Ocean luxury SUV to the public, so we decided to debut the full prototype – reflecting the actual production vehicle – at CES 2020,” said Henrik Fisker, who serves as CEO and chairman of Fisker Inc.
Fisker appears to be setting the Ocean up to compete directly with the planned Tesla Model Y, as well as other all-electric models set to reach U.S. showrooms, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E and BMW iX3, among others.
Though production won’t begin until sometime next year – with the Fisker Ocean expected to go on sale sometime in 2022, the start-up is lifting a page out of the Tesla playbook, Fisker already beginning to take advance reservations on its website. The $250 deposit will be refundable.
The Ocean’s base price is $40,000, almost identical to what Tesla says it will charge for the least expensive version of the Model Y. But Fisker plans to focus on leasing when the SUV finally comes to market, however, with monthly payments starting at $379, after a $2,999 down payment.
The flexible lease plan the company has laid out is similar to the subscription programs offered by some, manufacturers, including Volvo. Customers will be able to select terms of just one month, eight months, 22 months or several years.
Terms will permit an unusually long 30,000 miles per year, more than double what many leases permit. Few motorists come close to that figure and it may have been chosen to suggest that the Ocean can be driven much like a conventional vehicle, rather than the limited opportunities offered by earlier, short-range battery-electric vehicles.
Buyers, meanwhile, will get a package allowing initially free charging at the growing Electrify America charging network. The company – funded to the tune of $2 billion from money set aside as part of the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement – had 359 stations operating in the U.S. as of last week, with about 800 set to be “electrified” by the end of 2021. Those include hundreds located alongside WalMart and Target stores and Bank of America branches.
Specific powertrain details for the Ocean have yet to be revealed but Henrik Fisker has told TheDetroitBureau.com that he plans to take advantage of the performance potential offered by torquey electric motors.
The Ocean eventually will be joined by two more of what Henrik Fisker calls “affordable models.” He also aims to roll out a production version of the original, high-performance EMotion sedan first previewed several years ago. Heavily equipped versions of that model, according to the serial entrepreneur, will approach $200,000.