Henrik Fisker talks to Alex Kreetzer about the return of Fisker and the transition into the e-mobility world.

Could you give a bit of background information on the reform of Fisker?

In 2016, Fisker Inc. started up as a completely new company with a goal to lead the new change in the automotive industry with the electrification of connected and autonomous vehicles.

How have you seen the automotive industry change over your career?

The biggest changes we are currently experiencing are actually the result of minor changes I’ve seen through my career. The change being directing more focus and attention towards changes in overall design and incorporating more technology into the vehicles as well as a general focus on fuel efficient vehicles. In my opinion, the changes we are experiencing now, specific to electric and connected vehicles, will be the biggest change I’ve seen in the automotive industry during my career.

What are your production goals for your EV and what will your roll out be like?

At the moment we are working on two electric vehicles. The first one being the EMotion which will officially launch at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. We’ll be doing the unveil and discussing in depth the features of the vehicle and showcasing the vehicle's unique technology.  

Being an established designer in many different areas, what effect has the connected car wave had on how you design vehicles?

I believe the connected car will lead to more engagement from the driver and all passengers directly through the connectivity in the vehicle. Drivers and passengers will be able to experience their vehicle in the same way they experience using electronic devices at home. The increased focus on technology and engagement includes a change in design requiring more physical screen space and completely rethinking the user interface inside the vehicle.

How important has collaboration been for Fisker when manufacturing its ground-breaking products?

For launching our first vehicle, the EMotion, our collaboration with our battery supplier LG Chem has been extremely important as we have had access to some of the new technology early in the development process allowing us to design a custom proprietary battery pack with the new LG Chem cells. We also have several other relationships that are extremely important to have early on in the development process such as Pirelli, Brembo and several other large suppliers yet to be fully announced.

How do we need to change our infrastructure to enable EV growth and are our cities ready for this shift?

To truly get electric vehicles to become mass market, I believe we need to rethink the electric charging infrastructure. We need to move to a new technology that allows future EV customers the ability to charge their vehicle as quickly as they can fill up a car with gasoline. I don’t believe the future car buyer wants to wait 45 minutes in a mall parking lot or similar location while their car is charging. Therefore Fisker is in the process of developing a new ultra-charger that has the capabilities to charge in nine minutes or less depending on the voltage of the car's battery. The ultra-charger will also connect to the vehicle in a new and easier way then either the traditional cable plug or slow induction charging. We believe ultimately the best place for this new charging system will be at traditional gas stations as they already have the real estate perfectly located for convenience and will need to adjust to the new ways of electric as less drivers will be dependent on gasoline.  

The automotive industry is starting to take inspiration from tech players in Silicon Valley, focusing on flexibility, open-mindedness and innovation. How true does this ring for you?

I believe that we are in a major shift with technology changing rapidly and vehicles as we know them today will be gone. The shift will happen on a global level and all drivers will need to adapt. Compared to the larger carmakers and conglomerates that are working with existing technology and have to adjust, I believe it will be easier for a car company starting with a blank sheet of paper to quickly and successfully implement the shift in technology.

Consumers now want their vehicle to represent an extension of their lives, stressing further importance on the entire ecosystem, how do you achieve this?

Creating this extension is achieved by creating a fully connected vehicle where the drivers and passengers no longer feel as though they are leaving their life behind when they enter the car. The major part of their lives have become their smart phones and the connected car will ensure a seamless transition with everything plus more  available in the car. Those who design vehicles for the shift in the times will understand there is a huge opportunity to make the future vehicle the largest mobile device available to consumers.

Are you looking at implementing autonomous technology into future vehicles?

Yes, we will be announcing our technology partners and our strategy in January at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

How far away are we from EVs becoming the mainstream and where do you see it going?

I believe that the turning point will be around 2022 as we will see the next generation technology and an increased selection of electric vehicles arriving. Until then drivers will continue to slowly get used to electric vehicles becoming mainstream. The EV charging infrastructure will grow with that. I see a major acceleration in consumer demand happening in 2022 and beyond.

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