Fisker: Renaissance Man

You may have heard of a car company called Fisker. It was the US-based manufacturer which produced the Karma, a luxurious four-door sports saloon which set the mould for extended-range electric vehicles. Production of the Karma came to an abrupt end when Fisker’s battery supplier went out of business, leaving an electric car with no electricity. Turbulence in the Fisker boardroom prompted the founder, Henrik Fisker, to cut ties with the company as it freewheeled into oblivion before a Chinese parts supplier, Wanxiang, acquired the left-over technology and hardware. Their plan is to continue production of the car Henrik Fisker designed.

Even if you were not familiar with Mr. Fisker before now, you will probably have come across some of the cars he designed for other manufacturers. BMW’s Z8 roadster – driven on screen by a certain British Secret Agent – and the cars that revived the fortunes of Aston Martin were penned by the reserved Dane, who has since gone on to design expensive watches, furniture and even a luxury yacht. But cars are Fisker’s passion, and followers on his active social media pages have recently been treated to a few alternative renderings of the old Fisker logo, teasing the relaunch of the brand and a whole new Fisker car.

The recently announced EMotion, a four-door sports coupé, takes aim at Fisker Inc.’s local rival, Tesla. The Californian competitors have crossed swords in the past, when the bombastic CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, took Fisker to court over his ideas. The case was settled in Fisker’s favour and now Fisker is ready to take on Tesla once again. Having only teased images of the EMotion, not much is known about the new car yet but the design is both spectacular and contemporary. Many of Fisker’s signature design elements are present, including a wide, aggressive front end – aided by having no need for a radiator grille – and the smooth coupé roofline reminiscent of his Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

The attention-grabbing dihedral doors open to reveal what seems to be a pillar-less aperture which should make the interior feel spacious when occupants get in and out. As spectacular as they look, the doors proved a challenge in development, with Fisker announcing the innovative butterfly operation as a “breakthrough” when he released the first image of the design on Twitter.

This time round, the revived Fisker Inc. is taking no chances with battery technology. Fisker Nanotech has been set up to develop batteries with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), mitigating the risk of suppliers letting the company down again. The groundbreaking, graphene-based batteries are designed to take the EMotion 400 miles between charges, bringing electric vehicle range into line with traditionally fuelled cars for the first time. While this model is expected to be a high-end, low-volume introduction to the market, Fisker has announced that a higher volume, mass market product will follow soon after. On the evidence so far, it seems Henrik Fisker’s renaissance has begun.

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