Henrik Fisker is back, again challenging Tesla

Henrik Fisker is back, again challenging Tesla

The Fisker EMotion, Henrik Fisker's second try at a volume production car, takes a lot of its visual cues from his failed Karma.

Henrik Fisker is back, again challenging Tesla

Henrik Fisker, a onetime BMW designer, is taking a second stab and making a high-end electric car.

Fisker's new car, called the EMotion and priced at $129,000, is slated to begin rolling off a production line at the end of 2019, contingent upon "ongoing discussions" with a variety of as-yet unnamed automakers on sharing platforms and manufacturing responsibilities, Fisker says.

"We'd take the risk out of ramping-up that way," he says. "When we eventually go to a lower-priced car, we'll need the right volume and profitability plan."

Fisker also says his engineers are simultaneously working on a lower-priced model.

But he does say that the car eventually could feature "a unique, solid state battery pack" that will ban overheating issues and yield a 400-mile range.

More: Fisker successor Karma shows its first model

More: Karma's plug-in Revero car picks up where Fisker left off

More: Review: First drive of Tesla's electric Model 3

"We're designing the car around the battery pack," he says, adding that LG Chem is its partner for the power source. LG Chem also is working with Lucid Air, which the company has described as a $160,000 private jet on wheels.

With Tesla generating publicity thanks to its recent Model 3 production start, Porsche making headway on its Mission E sedan, and Faraday Future announcing that it's found a factory, Fisker feels this time he's riding a crest of a wave that's finally breaking around electric cars, which still only make up 1% of U.S. auto sales.

"There's been a big shift from consumers, a sense that maybe we're at the end of the gasoline era, what with the pollution and health issues," he says. Because of electric cars, "people think it's possible to really change the way we live thanks to them. Although we're still a ways away from mass-market appeal due to charging issues."

Henrik Fisker is back, again challenging Tesla

The Fisker EMotion will feature a 400 mile EV range at $129,000.

Henrik Fisker is back, again challenging Tesla

The Fisker EMotion comes on the heels of Fisker's failed Karma, which went bankrupt in 2013. The EMotion is due out in 2019.

Another key focus of Fisker's new venture is designed charging stations that can bring EV recharging times "down dramatically, to under 10 minutes, so that it's more like what you experience today when you go fill up on gasoline, so you can get thousands of people in and out. That's a must for this all to work."

The Fisker Karma had a promising start, raising more than $1 billion from VC firms such as Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers and private investors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, while lining up early buyers such as former Vice President Al Gore.

But despite its striking looks, the car was dealt a fatal blow with repeated recalls of its A123 Systems batteries. (A new company, called Karma, has gone on to keep building Fisker's original design).

Fisker says he's "taking lessons learned, which includes make sure the battery works first. But then we're also going to look at sales and service in a different way, which could include selling direct. We're after that consumer group that wants to make a statement about the environment with what they drive."

Follow USA TODAY tech reporter Marco della Cava on Twitter 



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