By on January 6, 2020

The Fisker Ocean electric crossover debuted in Los Angeles over the weekend. Company founder Henrik Fisker claims the model will be competitively priced (for an electric), starting at $37,499. There’s also a subscription service, priced at $379 per month with a $3,000 down payment. Customers receive an allowance of 30,000 miles a year as well as “free” servicing, maintenance, and (presumably) insurance.

Considering Fisker’s track record, having a sales model that allows customers to invest a few grand upfront and cancel at any time might help the Ocean’s take rate. The Fisker name is now synonymous with underdelivering. Poor corporate decisions, combined with plenty of bad luck, ultimately forced the first iteration of the brand to cancel production of the Karma hybrid. Fisker Automotive declared bankruptcy in 2013, with Fisker Inc. emerging in 2016 with more mainstream aspirations. 

The Ocean will be the first of three vehicles from the manufacturer, starting production in 2021. The premium EMotion sedan is to follow, to compete more directly with the batch of high-end models still chasing Tesla’s Model S (which Henrik Fisker helped design). Much is promised for the model — everything from solid-state batteries to 0-to-60 times in the three-second range. The crossover will likely have to prove itself sustainable before the EMotion can go on sale.

Ocean’s debut was fairly humble, opening with a pretend phone call where Henrik informed the emcee that he had accidentally locked himself inside “the trunk.” This provided an opportunity to sheepishly reveal the crossover from its display cover and release the man so he could tell us about the model.

Fisker says the subscription model will be handled through a proprietary app aimed at maximizing affordability (by minimizing the need for brick-and-mortar facilities) and can be cancelled at any time. Old vehicles will be brought back when their subscription ends, spruced up, and reissued at a reduced price. Ocean is intended for the global market — launching first in the United States before making its way to Europe and China.

Despite looking as though it can be opened, the hood is reportedly fixed in place. Fisker claims those looking to add wiper fluid will be able to do so via a small port near the windshield, but there would be no need for customers to access the vehicle’s internals. It’s not entirely clear what you would see if you could. While the Ocean’s battery pack is estimated to be about 80 kWh, the manufacturer remains noncommittal. The brand has previously said the model will be capable of nearly 300 miles on a charge, however. The fastest Oceans will be all-wheel drive, capable of a claimed 2.9-second rush to 60 mph, whereas base models will be front-wheel drive and not so sprightly.

We imagine items like pop-out door handles, head-up display, light-up headrests, and “California Mode” (which simultaneously lowers all side windows, rear glass, and panoramic roof) also won’t be standard equipment. A solar roof will also be offered, providing an estimated 1,000 miles of charge per year (weather permitting). While Fisker admitted this isn’t sufficient to be a game changer in terms of reducing overall energy cost, he believes it is important to show such solutions in the hope that they can be improved. The plan is to install updated solar panels on the Ocean as they become available.

Sustainability was mentioned numerous times. Fisker says he doesn’t want the Ocean to be a throwaway vehicle, but a desirable automobile that can be continually upgraded — extending its lifespan. In addition to reissuing older models under a reduced subscription price, Ocean also uses a large amount of recycled (vegan) materials in the cabin. Anybody who has ever sat in front of an automotive executive explaining their hot new EV is knows this is now par for the course, but Fisker appears to have gone to great lengths to source waste materials from the ocean and, despite being made partially from garbage, it looks pretty good.

The interior uses two display screens that ride the line between opulence and practicality. This makes for a rather attractive space that, while not overly busy, lacks a lot of the physical controls some customers might prefer. The center screen is large enough to house all the controls one might need, however, and Fisker has added buttons for the five most common functions drivers like to change on the fly.

With us not knowing what will/won’t be offered as standard, it’s a little difficult to peg the price of the Ocean as a win. It’s loaded with interesting features, but if a few of those don’t make their way into the base model, there may not be much reason to pick it over a Hyundai Kona Electric, Chevrolet Bolt, or (upcoming) Tesla Model Y — unless you’re particularly fond of the styling. If so, the company is currently taking $250 deposits on the Ocean.

[Images: Fisker Inc.]

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