With the demise of Fisker Automotive back in 2013, one could say Henrik Fisker might have been down, but not out—you can never count him out.
Over the last few years, his name has been attached to custom cars like the Mustang-based Rocket (co-developed with Galpin Auto Sports) and a super-luxury yacht for Italian boatbuilder Benetti.
Now he’s won the rights to his own name back, and plans to stun the world once again with a soon-to-be-unveiled butterfly-doored electric car with a 640-km (400-mile) range.
“Regarding Fisker Inc., we have been working in stealth mode now for two years,” the Danish designer told Autofocus in Auburn Hills, Michigan recently. “We have a great team comprised of some ex-Fisker Automotive guys and some ex-other car company people, and out of Fisker Inc., we’ve started another company, Fisker Nanotech, our battery division.”
Fisker Nanotech’s batteries will have a special component that will give them an edge in the marketplace. “We have this new game-changing battery with graphene in it, which we believe will change the world and really be the future of batteries because, ultimately, it’ll be non-flammable,” Fisker revealed.
“Also, the [energy] density is way higher—you can charge and discharge the battery way faster than anything else on the market, which gives us a huge [competitive] advantage.”
The graphene component, which takes the form of a sheet of carbon atoms bound together in a honeycomb pattern, is recognized in the tech world as a “wonder material” due to its attributes. It’s a potent conductor of electrical and thermal energy; is extremely lightweight; chemically inert; and flexible, with a large surface area.
It’s also considered eco-friendly and sustainable, with unlimited possibilities for numerous applications. However, no car battery to date has used graphene—the new electric vehicle Henrik will market under the Fisker Inc. banner will be the first.
“Our first vehicle will be the spiritual successor to the Karma, but will obviously be called something else. It’ll be a high-end, premium vehicle, and it will be a true Tesla competitor,” Fisker said. “Plus it’ll have more space than the Tesla Model S.”
This new vehicle will be built on an all-new platform, a necessary step, according to Fisker. “It is not feasible to design electric vehicles on normal vehicle platforms, because you have tunnels, engine bays, and gas tanks, so you won’t get the efficiencies you want.”
“We want this [new model] to be the future of electric vehicles.”
A new platform certainly makes for a more expensive development process – it will, for example, need to pass certification in various crash tests – but also gives Henrik the freedom to design a chassis that suits his vision.
Engineering for the future demands some creative thinking, and that’s what Fisker has in mind. “We definitely want to be the disruptors and innovators in the car business,” he says. “Even the construction is unique, as we are incorporating the battery into the structure.”
Henrik Fisker at the VLF facility in Michigan
Once their first product is up and running, Fisker Inc. will work on a much higher-volume vehicle, which the company hopes can compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3.
This smaller vehicle should be “very affordable, and priced below the Bolt and Model 3,” Fisker says. That suggests a base price of around $30,000 with current government incentives for electric vehicles.
When can the public expect to see a Fisker Inc. product in the flesh? “The first vehicle will be revealed mid-2017, at a special event—not likely a car show,” Fisker said.
He believes the market has changed in recent years, in ways that would better support his efforts. “I’ve seen that the people who buy electric vehicles – not those who write about it, or blog about it – want to support a new brand, rather than go to established brands.”
“I think this technology demands a new brand, and new ways to look at electric vehicles. I don’t think anyone is truly taking advantage in the packaging of electric vehicles, and that’s what we want to do at Fisker Inc.”