‘Why Does It Have To Be That Way?’ Fisker’s CEO on His Plans for Their New Electric Car

Zac Estrada

Zac Estrada is a reporter covering transportation, technology and policy. A former reporter for The Verge and Jalopnik, his work has also appeared in Automobile Magazine, Autoweek, Pacific Standard, Boston.com and BLAC Detroit. A native of Southern California, he is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston. You can find him on Twitter at @zacestrada.

‘Why Does It Have To Be That Way?’ Fisker’s CEO on His Plans for Their New Electric Car

Henrik Fisker doesn't want to be like Tesla or any of the other startup automakers trying to corner the electric car market, largely by manufacturing luxury vehicles. But his planned second car could be a radical step towards that goal.

Unveiled last month, Fisker Inc.'s new electric car is set to cost less than $30,000 and be a dramatic reinvention of not only the compact car, but also the format of the car as we know it.

In an interview with dot.LA, Henrik Fisker said it is the right time to rethink not only who might be willing to buy new electric cars, but also the kind of car city-dwellers will want to own.


Dubbed Project PEAR or Personal Electric Automotive Revolution, Fisker's new car may look nothing like cars on the road; he rethinks seating arrangements and even the trunk.

"It's not about being in a segment, but building vehicles people want," Fisker said. "What if we do something iconic, something feel-good, that doesn't show how much money you have?"

The Manhattan Beach-based startup plans to partner with Foxconn — an electronics manufacturer best known for producing Apple products like the iPhone and iPad — on a new electric car for an on-sale date in 2023, a scant 24-month development timeline that's roughly half the time it typically takes to build a new car. It would be the second vehicle in Fisker's plan to produce four new electric cars by 2025, in order to have a lineup of different styles of vehicles. The first of which is scheduled to be the Ocean, an SUV to arrive next year.

Fisker

"Does it need to have five seats? Does the trunk need to open a certain way?" Fisker said. "Car design has hardly changed in 50 years. Why does it have to be that way?"

He cited the original Mini from 1959 as a landmark car design from which he sought to model his new car. Hardly 10 feet in length but with room for a family of four or five, the Mini was ingeniously packaged, very fuel efficient and inexpensive. But its style and personalization options allowed it to grow a cult following among all groups of people, from Paul McCartney to Fisker's own mother. Fisker wants to emulate that with the Foxconn car, but says he needs to bring it to market quickly.

"The normal way that many people think of a startup is that you produce a car, suffer for a couple years and then you make another car," Fisker said. "That's not the way we want to be a car company."

Instead of reaching high and building a luxury electric vehicle for the wealthiest early adopters, he's trying to reach the core of the new car market that's rapidly trying to adopt battery electric technology to stay in business.

Fisker says he thinks the market for high-end luxury EVs that have outrageous performance figures is tapped out. Not only is that a dig at Tesla (and perhaps an unintentional one at his previous, now bankrupt company), but it's another concession that the EMotion luxury sedan concept he debuted at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show is not in his current plans.

Even the upcoming Ocean SUV is set to have a base price of around $37,000 before federal and local incentives, which puts it more on par with electric vehicles from Nissan and Volkswagen than Tesla. But for his California-based company in a legislative environment eager to jump on electric vehicle technology, Fisker insists on thinking very differently.

"Everybody knows it's possible to make a $100,000-plus EV, and I don't think that's a new frontier anymore," Fisker said. "You can make an EV like that, but that race is already done. I think the real excitement is how do we get EVs into the higher quantity market, and how do we refocus mobility."

Fisker says last year's COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns changed people's attitude towards mobility, especially in cities.

Instead of building a vehicle that would be ideal for ridesharing, Fisker said his new car will be compact and practical. Giving much of the engineering work to Foxconn allows his company to focus more on the design. He doesn't see people giving up their cars in droves, even if more people work from home or start using more public transportation.

"We saw a lot of people being comfortable without having a car and using rideshare," he said. "I think a lot of people want to have a car, but they really want mobility."

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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Body Complete Rx Founder Samia Gore On How She Turned Her Fitness Journey Into a Multi-Million Dollar Company

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

Body Complete Rx Founder Samia Gore
Courtesy of Behind Her Empire, Samia Gore

Samia Gore was a mother of four when she decided to take a shot at starting her own business.

On this episode of the Behind Her Empire podcast, the Body Complete Rx founder discusses how her personal journey with health and fitness became the catalyst for a booming business.

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