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EV Startup Fisker Inc. Secures a Long-term Battery Supply Deal With China's CATL

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【Summary】​California-based electric vehicle startup Fisker Inc. and Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (“CATL”) today announced a formal agreement to supply batteries for the upcoming Fisker Ocean electric SUV. Under the terms of the agreement, CATL will supply two different battery types for the Fisker Ocean SUV, with an initial battery capacity of over 5 GWh annually, from 2023 through 2025.

Eric Walz    Nov 02, 2021 9:40 AM PT
EV Startup Fisker Inc. Secures a Long-term Battery Supply Deal With China's CATL
The Fisker Ocean SUV will offer an optional solar roof to help charge the battery. It can add an extra 1,000 miles of range annually.

California-based electric vehicle startup Fisker Inc. and Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd ("CATL") today announced a formal agreement to supply batteries for the upcoming Fisker Ocean electric SUV.

Under the terms of the agreement, CATL, which is also Tesla's battery supplier in China, will supply two different battery types for the Fisker Ocean, with an initial battery capacity of over 5 GWh annually from 2023 through 2025.

According to Fisker, the primary high-capacity pack will use a lithium nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) cell chemistry, while the second will be built using CATL's latest cells based on lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) chemistry. 

Most automakers are using either nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) or nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) batteries for their electric vehicles because of their higher energy density, which delivers a longer range.

Fisker and CATL teams have been working together in close collaboration since 2020 to develop class leading batteries which are optimized for vehicle structure, crashworthiness and very high levels of energy density for the Ocean SUV. 

Both battery packs are engineered to support peak charging powers of more than 250 kilowatts. The two companies are currently engaged in extensive testing and validation at the pack and vehicle level.

"Securing this supply agreement with CATL is another important step in the development of the Fisker Ocean and achieving our battery performance objectives," says CEO and Chairman, Henrik Fisker. "By utilizing multiple chemistries and designing an extremely efficient pack, we will be able to achieve our targeted driving range for the Fisker Ocean Sport and bring segment benchmark-driving range to the longer-range versions of Fisker Ocean."

California-based Fisker, which was founded in 2016, is among a new crop of electric vehicle startups, including Lucid Motors and Rivian, that are aiming to capture some of the success of Tesla, which over the last decade has grown to become the world's most valuable automaker with a market cap topping one trillion dollars.

Fisker's founder and CEO Henrik Fisker is an automotive industry veteran and is best known for designing iconic luxury cars, including the BMW Z8 and Aston Martin DB9. Now he leads the company that bears his name.

The fully-electric Ocean SUV gets its name from the use of recycled plastics throughout the vehicle's interior. Most of the interior materials are made from plastic waste collected from the ocean that would otherwise become pollution and hazards for marine life, including plastic bottles and fishing nets. 

The entry level Fisker Ocean will offer 250 miles of minimum range, according to Fisker. The electric SUV will offer an optional solar panel roof which the company claims will deliver roughly 1,000 miles of additional range over the course of a year. The Ocean's battery pack is designed to accept direct charging from the solar roof using an innovative engineering integration strategy.

Fisker said prices for the fully-electric Fisker Ocean will start at just $37,499. It will also be eligible for the Federal EV tax credit of $7,500. 

"As CATL expands its global footprint to help create clean mobility for all, we are delighted to reach long term collaboration with Fisker and provide battery technology that is unique to Fisker's product rollout. We are excited to support Fisker to reach its sustainability, performance and growth targets," says CATL President, Zhou Jia.

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Fisker founder and CEO Henrik Fisker talks about the Ocean SUV on Tuesday, Jan 7, 2020 at CES in Las Vegas.

In Oct 2020, Fisker announced it closed a deal with Magna International division Magna Steyr to build the Ocean SUV at its factory in Austria, since the company has no U.S. factory of its own for mass production like its rivals Rivian and Lucid Motors. Magna International will supply the vehicle platform and Magna Steyr will assemble the vehicle. 

The deal with Fisker is Magna's first contract manufacturing agreement with an EV startup. Magna Steyr's factory in Austria also produces the electric I-Pace SUV for Jaguar. 

Fisker remains on target to start production and deliveries of the Fisker Ocean in Nov. 2022, but the company is already making plans for its second EV.

In February of this year, Fisker and Apple's contract manufacturer Foxconn announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly develop what Fisker calls a breakthrough electric vehicle codenamed "Project PEAR" (Personal Electric Automotive Revolution). 

The electric vehicle will be built by Foxconn and sold under the Fisker brand in North America, China and Europe. Projected start of production is Q4 2023.

Fisker will unveil the production version, including additional battery specifications and vehicle features, on Nov. 17, 2021 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. 

CATL is also a major battery supplier to Tesla. In Feb 2020, CATL inked a two-year deal to supply batteries to Tesla for its vehicle built in China. 

In June, CATL announced that it's planning to build a major new electric vehicle battery plant in Shanghai, as the company looks to become the world's biggest supplier of EV batteries. The new plant in Shanghai would be able to manufacture 80 gigawatt-hours of battery cells a year, which is enough batteries to power roughly 800,000 electric vehicles.

Fisker launched its U.S. IPO in Oct 2020 through a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp. The company aims to raise additional capital by taking advantage of the strong investor interest in EV companies and related stocks that made Tesla the world's most valuable automaker.

Fisker's shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FSR". 

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