European-built BMW iX3 rival will arrive in the UK in 2023, with sub-$55k price and up to 560km of range.
The production version of the new Fisker Ocean electric SUV has been revealed at the Los Angeles motor show, a year before it goes into production for global sale.
To be produced by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, the Ocean will arrive in right-hand drive for the UK in the second quarter of 2023 and it is expected Australia will also receive the model around the same time. It takes on the Audi Q4 E-tron and BMW iX3 with competitive performance figures, a raft of advanced technology and a range of up to 560km.
Pilot production will begin this week so that the necessary crash tests and homologation processes can get under way.
In terms of design, the Ocean stays true to the concept first shown in 2019, with Fisker committed to offering a “true SUV” rather than “yet another aerodynamic all-electric hatchback”. Its slim lights, short overhangs and a wide stance are aimed at emphasising its road presence and give heavy clues as to the design of future Fisker models.
It remains a five-seater, and the company’s commitment to sustainability extends to a “fully vegan” interior comprising reclaimed fishing nets, T-shirts and rubber. Fisker claims it’s “the world’s most sustainable electric vehicle”.
Other highlights include California mode that lowers all the windows and retracts the roof to provide a convertible-style driving experience; a Limo mode that allows rear-seat passengers to control various vehicle functions; and a rotating 17.1-inch infotainment touchscreen that can be switched from portrait mode to landscape mode when the car is stopped.
Three trim levels will be available. Sport brings a 202kW motor on the front axle for a 0-100km/h time of 6.6sec; Ultra gets a motor on each axle, boosting output to 397kW and cutting the sprint time to 3.9sec; and range-topping Extreme brings 405kW and a 3.6sec 0-100km/h time.
Earth and Fun driving modes are standard in all cars, while the Ultra and Extreme add Hyper mode, which boosts performance, and the Extreme also gets a dedicated Off-Road mode.
Fisker has yet to confirm precise battery capacities but estimates a range of between 400 and 560km depending on specification. These are based on the US’s EPA test cycle.
Fisker hasn’t confirmed charging capabilities either but highlights the potential of the Ocean’s solar-panel roof to add up to 3200km of range per year in ideal conditions.
The Ultra and Extreme variants use batteries supplied by Chinese firm CATL that use nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cell chemistry, which Fisker says affords them “a combination of segment-leading range and performance”.
Company boss Henrik Fisker told us that the batteries and powertrains were “selected this year”, only shortly ahead of the Ocean’s market launch. The reason, he explained, is that “the car industry has been in the common cycle of taking about four years to develop a car, so when you buy a car, the technology was chosen two-and-a-half or three years ago”.
He continued: “We’re trying to change that into a much shorter development time of two-and-a-half years. Part of the trick here is that we have an amazing engineering and development team, but also that we’re working really closely with Magna to produce our vehicles, because we want a high-quality vehicle, so we haven’t had to deal with building a factory and teaching people how to manufacture a car. So that’s probably an advantage and a differentiator to our business model.”
Outsourcing production significantly reduces Fisker’s overheads, as does its unconventional retail network – centred on so-called experience centres in cities – and remote vehicle delivery and servicing model.
Australian prices have yet to be confirmed, but prices range from $37,499 to $68,999 in the US (roughly $50,000 to $95,000).
The Ocean is the first of a planned family of Fisker EVs, one of which will be the Project Pear, developed with technology giant Foxconn, which is set to go on sale globally from the end of 2023 at an affordable price point.