Henrik Fisker

Henrik Fisker first made a name for himself as a designer of cars like the Aston Martin DB9. Now he’s looking to take on Tesla in the EV marketplace.

Recently Lucid Motors became the latest nascent EV maker to get the title of “Tesla’s biggest challenger,” however, Henrik Fisker wants to make it battery electric Battle Royale.

Fisker, founder and chief of Fisker Inc., attempted to stake a claim for the title by throwing enough shade Elon Musk’s way it dark enough to wonder if Tesla’s CEO paid his electric bill this month. The Danish automotive designer-cum-entrepreneur took a few swipes during his company’s first-ever earnings call, starting with Musk’s tendency to be too aggressive with timelines.

“I think that you’ve already seen how we are on time,” he said, “and you will see that later this year, when we start building prototypes. We will prove that we are serious about being on time as a startup. And that’s something that I personally will make sure I follow up on every single day in the company, seven days (a week).”

More Tesla shade

Later discussing the company’s production plans, he took another jab noting that unlike Tesla, which only produces its most expensive vehicles first to help fund the lower-cost models later in the cycle, all of the company’s trim levels will be available from the beginning.

Fisker Inc. will show off the production version of its Ocean EV at the LA Auto Show in November.

“We are planning to offer even the base model from the beginning,” he said. “We obviously want to sell most(ly) the high-priced version because that’s the highest profitability vehicle for us and cash flow is important for us as we start.

“But we’re not gonna wait several years to offer the base car because we make money on the base cars as well.”

Generating additional revenue

Although he poked the bear a bit during the call, it’s clear that he plans to borrow some ideas from the world’s top EV producer and most valuable automaker overall for additional revenue streams, including establishing its own insurance company and flexible leasing.

He believes the that releasing the vehicles provides a potential gold mine of profitability. Since Fisker owns the vehicles, once the first owner returns it back to the company, it gets updated or refurbished with the most current offerings of the moment because most of that is technology-based updates.

With a few keystrokes and a good cleaning, a Fisker Ocean coming off a two-year lease could almost be brand new again – and fetch a much higher resale or release price than vehicles unable to make those kinds of upgrades.

Fisker founder Henrik Fisker offered up a vague rendering of the BEV the company plans to produce with Foxconn.

Why Magna and Foxconn

The CEO revealed why two different companies are building Fisker’s first two vehicles: it was part of the plan all along.

“Our business model has always been about having multiple partners,” he explained. “I think that allows you to go into different segments that have different types of innovations happing with different partners.”

Mega-supplier Magna is building the company’s first vehicle, the Fisker Ocean, at its plant in Graz, Austria on an electric platform dubbed the FM 29. The Ocean is expected to arrive volume early next year with a starting price of $37,499 before any federal or state tax credits or other incentives.

Meanwhile, the California-based EV company just announced its pairing with China’s Foxconn, which produces Apple’s iPhone, to manufacture its next vehicle, a smaller, lower priced segment buster. Henrik Fisker didn’t reveal the name of the vehicle, which will use a Foxconn designed EV platform.

He expects it will be ready for the end of 2023, and by building it in China, it’s easier to sell it there too – important since it’s the world’s largest automotive market, he noted. The CEO also noted the company plans to have four vehicles in its line-up by 2025. Earlier he said an electric pickup truck would be part of the mix, although he didn’t reiterate that during the call.

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