Henrik Fisker’s making a splash again with a shiny new car called the EMotion.
Naturally, the comparisons between his failed Fisker Automotive and the new Fisker Inc. are already being drawn, which leaves us wondering what’s different this time around.
We sat down with Fisker at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday to determine if the visionary has learned from past mistakes.
Fisker said the experience with Fisker Automotive impressed upon him a few key lessons, the largest has to do with suppliers. “This time around we had to make sure we had a set supplier of a very solid battery company, that’s why we have LG Chem, which at the time of Fisker Automotive we didn’t have all the battery suppliers to choose from,” he said.
This go around Fisker said he’s gone even further than just suppliers, he’s taken to hiring “amazing battery people and scientists in-house at Fisker.”
From a business point of view, “you need great investors,” Fisker said. China’s Hakim Unique Group, a $32 billion private equity group, is one of Fisker Inc’s., most important partners today, he said.
Fisker confirmed that Fisker Inc., is currently working on three vehicles simultaneously: the Fisker Orbit, the Emotion, and a third vehicle, which will be a high volume model with a more affordable price point below $40,000.
While Fisker Automotive set up dealerships within larger existing dealerships, he told us the new Fisker Inc., plans to use a direct sales model, though it’s still working through its exact sales display model.
Perhaps most interesting is the fact that Fisker’s looking at a franchise model of the servicing of Fisker Inc.’s new vehicles. How that will work is yet to be determined, but it’s a vast departure from how his previous company approached service (and sales).
In regards to charging electric cars, Fisker said he has no plans on challenging Tesla’s Supercharging network. In fact, he doesn’t feel an automaker needs to own or develop a charging network. “Car companies don’t need fast-charging networks like Tesla. Every car company doesn’t have its own gas station network, the would be annoying for the consumer. Common plugs are simply easier for the end user,” he said.
The EMotion is capable of charging on every type of Level 3 fast-charging network, and he feels in two years when the car hits the streets, the networks will be vast enough to handle charging on the go. Like other automakers such as Porsche, Fisker Inc., is looking at 800-volt charging systems to rapidly charge the batteries and truly make recharging like filling your car with gas.
Fisker told us he’s determined to set new standards in the industry with the development of solid-state batteries, which Fisker Inc. might be willing to license someday to non-direct competitors. The first tests of these new batteries will take place in the EMotion in 2019, and it’s even possible Fisker Inc. could delay production of the EMotion so it could launch with these new batteries, though that’s not set in stone, he said.
Similarities aside, it’s clear after our discussion that Fisker Inc., is taking some hard lessons learned from Fisker Automotive though a lot remains to be seen for the young startup.