The man behind one of the most storied electric car failures in recent memory, Henrik Fisker, is back with a new electric vehicle called the EMotion that appears to be designed to directly compete with Tesla.
In an announcement released on Monday, Fisker Inc. revealed images of the new electric car, which is geared toward the luxury sports sedan market.
Looking like a cross between an old school corvette and Tesla Model S, Fisker Inc. says the car will reach a top speed of 161 mph and will have a 400-mile electric range.
“I love innovation and it is important to keep going, despite the naysayers.” -Henrik Fisker
If the name Fisker sounds familiar, that’s because it released a much-hyped electric car back in 2011 called the Fisker Karma. Unfortunately, some drivers had less than amazing experiences with the vehicle. The year it was released, the company had to issue a recall due to what Consumer Reports called “improper placement of coolant hose clamps in the electric cars’ battery compartments.” Then the company was forced to issue a second recall regarding the same issue in 2012.
Meanwhile, other drivers reported battery reliability issues with the $108,000 car, which led to the company offering free battery replacements in 2012. Adding to the company’s woes, in the same year, a report surfaced of the car spontaneously catching fire. Then, as fate would have it, 16 Fisker Karma vehicles caught fire after being submerged in salt water in New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy.
The company eventually filed for bankruptcy and was later acquired by China’s Wanxiang Group, who rebranded the auto company as Karma Automotive.
Given that history, Henrik Fisker’s decision to dive back into the electric car market is a bold one, but this time the landscape is much different. Not only are consumers now more familiar and open to electric vehicles (thanks in part to Tesla), but the competition in the electric vehicle space is far more crowded than it was in 2011.
“My big learnings [from the past] is to control the testing and development of the battery pack,” Henrik Fisker told Mashable when asked what lessons from his past venture he’ll apply to his new company. “Very few new start-up companies have been able to put a fully (worldwide) certified car to the market, as we did with the Fisker Karma. My lesson is to focus on the development and have a clear vision about the product. I love innovation and it is important to keep going, despite the naysayers.”
Hopefully, Mr. Fisker’s second time around will be less fraught with technical issues. In today’s EMotion announcement, the company says it plans to use a new battery technology that uses graphene with battery packs produced in partnership with Nanotech Energy Inc.
The most surprising of the reveal was the added detail that all EMotion vehicles will be equipped with “hardware that will allow fully autonomous driving when approved,” and will be released by a “soon to be announced” partner. Elon Musk made a similar announcement regarding Tesla and self-driving car hardware recently, so we may be watching a trend unfold.
“We are equipping our cars with autonomous hardware, so we can offer autonomous driving as an option, when the technology is matured and ready to be launched,” says Mr. Fisker.
Fisker Inc. will show off the vehicle to the public in 2017, with deliveries of the vehicle to be announced afterward.
Nevertheless, in light of recent history, promises won’t be enough for many consumers. The biggest challenge for Fisker Inc. and the EMotion won’t be drumming up awareness, but getting consumers to believe that this time, Fisker got it the electric car right.