Fisker has launched its Ocean pure-electric SUV in the UK, with deliveries expected to start in earnest later this year. But what is Fisker, and what can we expect from the manufacturer?
Comparisons with Tesla are easy to make, considering it’s a California-based start-up that makes electric cars. It’s a little lazy to just pitch Fisker against Tesla, even if their histories are just as tumultuous - and even includes the latter filing a law suit against the former early during each firms’ infancy. (Tesla alleged Fisker stole technology, but lost.)
To make things more complicated, this is technically Fisker Automotive, which started in 2007 producing the plug-in hybrid luxury four-door coupe Karma, but was bankrupt in 2014. Now it’s Fisker Inc; but considering it’s a car maker, focused on electric vehicles, and founded by the same figurehead - Henrik Fisker - the background must include mention of the original Fisker model.
Skip forward to 2016 and Henrik is at it again, starting an electric car company with grand ambitions. Fisker by the way is a Danish automotive expert (as opposed to Tesla’s Mr Musk’s background), starting out as a car designer for the likes of BMW and Aston Martin, before starting his own coachbuilding business prior to his efforts as the head of a car manufacturing company.
Those efforts have culminated - so far - in the Ocean SUV.
A drop in the Ocean, or so much more?
The Ocean is about as sure a thing as you can get in the car world currently, as long as the price is right. It’s a mid-sized electric family SUV, ticking all of the established trend boxes. Backed by a six year/60,000 mile basic warranty, the Ocean is available to lease on order from us, with on the road prices starting from £35,000.
The entry-level model gets a 273 mile range with a 75 kWh battery, then there are mid and high-level options with a 100+ kWh pack achieving a headline 440 miles on a charge. These top out at just over £60,000 which, dare we compare with Tesla’s Model Y, is essentially the same as the top-spec Performance model with around £1,000 in it. The Tesla Model Y Performance has a range of 319 miles though, and the entry-level Model Y starts at around £45,000 and a 283 mile range. It’s clear that the Tesla and Fisker battle is only going to continue with the Ocean.
The Ocean is just the start of a larger product line-up from Fisker, though basically all start-up EV manufacturers say that. With deliveries of the Ocean having started in other countries, Fisker has got further along its timeline than most.
Riding the crest of the wave?
Fisker has already revealed details of its forthcoming products, which will start with the Pear. This is a compact SUV that still seats six - think Mercedes-Benz EQB size - though with a much lower price. In the US, prices will start from just under $30,000, so expect a £25-29,000 price in the UK when it launches in 2025 after taxes etc have been applied, which will still undercut much of the opposition.
A few interesting design details have been introduced, including a “Houdini Trunk” which sees the tailgate drop down into the bumper, handy for tight parking spots. The front load area slides out for easier access too, rather than having to open the bonnet to store items. Powertrain details aren’t available yet, but it will be built on the same platform as the Ocean. If it can pack that 100 kWh battery in, expect a range of more than 400 miles, but 300+ miles should easily be available for most variants once launched.
Also on its way is the Ronin, which returns to Fisker’s roots. The Ronin is a four-door convertible GT car, with a price as colossal as its driving range. Launch dates aren’t available yet, but planned range is more than 600 miles and it will produce more than 1,000hp from a tri-motor set-up for a 2.0 second-ish 0-60mph time. Price? Well, Fisker is light on information there too, but we know it will start at $385,000.
A little more robust (and hopefully cheaper) than the Ronin is the Fisker Alaska, which will be the firm’s all-electric pick-up. It’s most certainly not a competitor to the Tesla Cybertruck, as it’s smaller, and actually likely to make it to the UK. Instead, it’s more like the Rivian offering, even if it’s smaller, has a shorter range, and is cheaper.
The Alaska will get prices largely mirroring the Ocean’s and again is built on the same platform. This means the 75 kWh and 113 kWh batteries are available with a choice of two- or all-wheel drive, depending on specification. Driving range varies between around 230 and 340 miles for the line-up and, like the Pear, it’s due the year after next.
Finally, it is the Force E package that is due soonest after the Ocean launch, with Fisker saying it is set to arrive in Q1 2024, though prices are yet to be announced. The Force E is an off-road version of the Ocean, designed to add significant all-terrain potential to the SUV. It will be available as a full model, or as an aftermarket package, packing in 20-inch wheels, chunky tyres, underbody protection with skid plates, and specialised dampers.
It should also be mentioned that Fisker has announced how it is aiming to be “the world’s most sustainable car maker”. It’s using Life Cycle Assessment in its designs from the very start (rather than trying to fit it in with established designs). As such, features include a solar roof, and recycled materials used extensively throughout the vehicle. Vehicle-to-X charging means you can use the Fisker to power a home for up to a week in emergency conditions, and that solar roof provides around 1,500 “free” miles a year - though we’re not sure if that’s based on Californian weather or that in the UK!
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