Fisker Counting on Battery Technology to Power its Resurrection
【Summary】The EMotion electric sedan may have a stunning design, but the resurrected brand is counting on the vehicle’s battery technology to propel it to stardom.
To say that Fisker has a troubled past would be a bit of an understatement. The automaker appeared out of nowhere with the Karma back in 2012. The plug-in hybrid had a gorgeous design that was penned by Henrik Fisker, but was plagued with issues. The quality wasn't up to par with mass-produced machines, the car had numerous mechanical issues, and the interior lacked basic niceties that are expected on a six-figure production vehicle. At the time, Consumer Reports ranked it as one of the lowest luxury sedan it had ever tested.
After running into financial issues, Fisker went bankrupt in 2013 and was bought out by Wanxiang Group, a Chinese automotive parts giant. Wanxiang Group created Karma Automotive with the goal of bringing the Fisker Karma back to life and spent a lot of time and money improving on everything that the original vehicle got so wrong. That's where the Fisker Karma Revero was born.
Unfortunately, the car hadn't changed that much and the segment which it once was the sole proprietor of swelled with competition. So, just like the original, it died without much of a fight.
Fisker EMotion To Have High-Tech Batteries
As we saw a few years ago, Henrik Fisker is back with the Fisker EMotion. It's a stirring electric vehicle that promises to have usable range and set a new standard for EVs. Unlike the old Fisker Karma, the EMotion won't be relying on just its design to draw some attention. As Automotive News reports, the new electric car will differentiate itself from the competition with its battery technology.
As we saw at this year's CES, the Fisker EMotion electric sedan debuted with solid state batteries that the automaker claimed would have the "world-highest energy density" used in any electric vehicle. The batteries, as the outlet reports, are a new type of power technology referred to as three-dimensional solid-state batteries. They're supposedly safer, lighter, and can last longer than ones made out of lithium ion.
The incredible list of superpowers for the batteries don't stop there, though, as Fisker claims its three-dimensional solid-state electrodes will have 2.5 times the energy density, as the lithium-ion batteries that are found in today's electric cars. "Our chief scientist is an expert on solid-state batteries," Fisker told the outlet. "He has done, shall we say, the 2.0 of solid-state batteries."
Unlike thin-film batteries that can't produce enough power for a vehicle because a limited surface area, Fisker is using technology that allows its batters to have 25 times the surface area. This not only allows them to operate in frigid temperatures, which is an issue with thin-film batteries, but also allows them to handle fast charging. "We see a fairly clear path to solving those issues with our technology," said Fisker.
At the moment, Fisker plans to have the EMotion on the road by 2020, but developing its high-tech batteries, even with a highly skilled chief scientist will be an uphill climb. "There's still a lot of hurdles to jump over — there's a lot of testing to be done, a lot of different chemistries that need to be tuned," he said. "We are targeting to start doing on-road tests with the battery next year."
While the target date is 2020, Fisker would rather push that figure back to ensure that the vehicle comes with solid-state battery technology. "If that means we have to delay the launch for some months, I would rather do that [and] go straight to solid-state battery technology because I think that's such a big innovation." Clearly, Fisker wants the EMotion's technology to be the thing that shines in the machine.
The Rest Of The EMotion Looks Promising
So far, the EMotion has the figures to be a hit. The luxury EV is expected to have a range in excess of 400 miles on a single charge. It can also get to 60 mph in less than three seconds, which would put it on par with a Tesla Model S. The beautiful butterfly doors, carbon-fiber interior pieces, and striking design are also things that help the vehicle's starting price of $130,000 seem reasonable. The vehicle, though, is expected to top out close to the $200,000 mark.
Fisker believes all of these features are worth the price tag, as the car won't be boring. "The world doesn't need another boring car," he said. "We are going to be pushing the boundaries much more extremely and taking advantage of the electric powertrain layout."
Technology, specifically battery technology, will be the main selling point of the EMotion, but that doesn't mean Fisker, who's penned some incredible vehicles before, hasn't had some fun with the design of the car. "You don't have the typical hard points that you have with a gasoline car, where you have a large engine block in the front," he said. "The challenge is to take that opportunity and dare to do something different that may be unusual to the consumer."
As Automotive News points out, it's an interesting time for Fisker to return with an electric vehicle. Nearly every single automaker in the business has announced plans to come out with an EV in the near future, so his car, even with a unique design and battery technology, will face heavy competition. Fisker, though, isn't worried, as he believes the tech will make the EMotion stand out.
"Our battery technology, ultimately, will be a big differentiator," he said. "We are targeting to get the longest range in our segment." And the design, of course, will also play a large role.
As we've seen with Tesla, manufacturing is the largest issue that small auto manufacturers face. To get that down, Fisker is contemplating opening "a handful" of facilities in the United States and are also looking into making lasting partnerships. "We are going to do our own [manufacturing], but we are looking at some unique partnerships," he said.
For a company with such a checkered past, Fisker is confident in the car's ability to stand out of the crowd and has a clear end goal. "Our goal is to be a full-scale automaker with a range of electric vehicles that's going to stand out and have a lot of unique elements — from design to technology," he said.
If there's one thing current electric vehicles have shown us, it's that automakers need to have a lot of money and a backup plan on hand if things go wrong with their first machine, which it usually does.
Vineeth Joel Patel
Joel Patel has been covering all aspects of the automotive industry for four years as an editor and freelance writer for various websites. When it comes to cars, he enjoys covering the merger between technology and cars. In his spare time, Joel likes to watch baseball, work on his car, and try new foods
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