Fisker Ocean Arrives in 2021, Starts Around $40,000

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Fisker recently announced plans to debut the first of three affordable electric vehicles it wants to sell. The model, which founder Henrik Fisker said would be an SUV named Ocean, is scheduled to land on the North American market in 2021. “More info” is coming on November 27th and a near-production prototype is supposed to manifest in January.

The EV was originally supposed to appear in December, making this a modest delay. Normally we wouldn’t bat an eyelash at such a meager postponement, but Fisker has a poor track record for delivering on its promises.

Back when the company was still Fisker Automotive, it was building the Karma. Unfortunately, luxury plug-in hybrid didn’t sell and was plagued with quality issues. This author only recalls seeing one Karma outside of automotive trade shows, parked clumsily at a Massachusetts golf corse during the 2014 PGA Tour. While there were plans for the company to eventually build the more-practical Atlantic with help from BMW, things did not pan out.

The business declared bankruptcy in 2013 and failed to repay millions in American taxpayer loans, forcing it to sell everything to Wanxiang America Corp — an Illinois-based subsidiary of China’s mightiest auto parts conglomerate. There were rumors that the Asian company would relaunch production of the Karma and Atlantic, possibly in the United States, but Wanxiang has been noncommittal while the remaining aspects of the bankruptcy sale are being settled.

Having returned as Fisker Inc, the auto startup is now focused on more market-friendly EVs. But it’s still making huge claims. The biggest is a supposed solid-state battery breakthrough that will produce electric vehicles with 500 miles if range and 1-minute charging times. Earth-shattering news we’ve heard little about since 2018.

Fisker’s EMotion prototype debuted last year, with promises of a 400 mile electric range and heaps of luxury. But it’s sitting on a $130,000 (estimated) MSRP, encouraging the company to look downmarket for more customers. The Ocean is supposed to start at $40K, incorporating loads of recycled materials inside to help promote its green image. Fisker is calling it “the world’s most sustainable vehicle.”

While Fisker has started issuing terribly-cropped teasers of the Ocean’s exterior design, precious little has been shared about what will be powering it. All we know is that it will be electric, use lots of recycled materials (maybe even for the tires), and be available exclusively through flexible leases with “no longterm commitments.”

That is, if the Ocean ends up being built. We think the brand still lacks credibility. If that solid-state battery turns out to be legitimate, then its troubles are over. Every manufacturer in the industry will want to buy that technology, as it effectively nullifies the weakest aspects of EVs. But we haven’t seen it yet. What we have seen is Fisker parading a bunch of concept vehicles before anything is even on the market. Without a production-ready model, it just kind of feels like the startup is just playing around.

[Images: Fisker Inc.]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Kat Laneaux @jalop1991I get that. It should be that way. Bills should be one and only one. None of this...if you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours as long as you agree with this too. That's petty and bs. I guess no one has enough balls to stand up for what is right, regardless of which side you stand on. Do one bill and pass it but pass it on merits and not on tit for tat.
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  • Dougjp It seems like I'm in a minority by rejecting CUV/SUVs and wanting "cars" instead. Its because, comparing apples to apples (same specs), I don't want (a) worse performance, (b) worse handling, (c) worse fuel economy, (d) worse road & wind noise and (e) higher cost. I'm quite willing to PAY for shipping that costs way less than 1% of the difference between the cost of a car and a comparable CUV/SUV, to buy a bulky piece of furniture from a store that doesn't provide free shipping. Which I would seldom buy anyway. The problem is, people don't think logically, and would rather default to herd mentality. Its the same as why people buy "off road vehicles", complete with ugly add on patch body work to "look the part", then they never go off road.
  • FreedMike How about one for a brown diesel wagon?