In Depth: An Interview With Henrik Fisker Of Fisker Inc.

It isn’t every day that I get to talk to the CEO of a car company. But that’s what happened when I got 15 minutes over Microsoft Teams to speak with Henrik Fisker of Fisker Inc. They are about to roll out the Ocean which is their electric SUV that is due to start deliveries in November. Though that seems limiting to describe it in that manner as it looks like it is coming to the table with a lot of leading tech that should push it to the forefront of the electric vehicle conversation.

The first question that I asked Mr. Fisker was in relation to this press release about Fisker Intelligent Pilot. This is a system that is an industry-leading surround-view camera suite, a camera-based driver-monitoring system, ultrasonic technology, and a Digital-Imaging that is meant to keep you safe. Mr. Fisker pointed out that besides being industry first tech, the system can “see” way better than any camera or radar system that is out there. That allows the car to have a “safety net” as it were around itself. That’s because Fisker is approaching this from the standpoint of how they can make the vehicle safer rather than focusing on how they can make the vehicle drive itself. Because they approached it differently, they can make the system more effective and precise. As well as being far more useful in more situations. Especially in situations which are far from perfect for these sorts of systems.

The second question that I asked was about how Fisker would deal with increasing competition from companies like Audi, Mercedes and BMW who are used to producing millions of copies of something a year. Because I’ve argued for a while that once mainstream car companies get serious about electric vehicles, companies like Fisker would be in trouble. Mr. Fisker’s answer was quite interesting. He pointed out that Tesla has been fighting this for seven or eight years, and Tesla is still there. The reason why that is the case is that companies like Fisker have speed and traditional car companies don’t. By that I mean that traditional car companies who sell you a car today are actually selling you a car that is four years old due to the fact that it take them three years to develop said car. Fisker on the other hand is able to cut that development time to 2.5 years which makes them far more nimble and able to put what is truly the latest tech into their cars. Their organization is designed to make decisions quicker, and they have partners that enable them to speed things up. Their partnership with Foxconn also help this by helping them have an efficient and lower cost supply chain.

My next question was about international distribution which is important to me as I am Canadian. Fisker is going to be selling vehicles directly with Canada and Europe queued up for what Fisker calls “Experience Centers” in the first half of next year. One thing that I should note is that Mr. Fisker says that he already has healthy orders on the books from Canada which is a great sign.

My last question had to do with the fact that I perceive Fisker Inc. to be a different type of car company. Sort of like GM’s gone but not forgotten Saturn brand from days gone by (Full disclosure, my wife and I either leased or purchased four Saturn cars over the years). Mr. Fisker’s answer is absolutely as they do nothing in the traditional way. And Mr. Fisker focused on the buying and delivery experience. For example all cars will either be delivered via “delivery centers” or at home. And ultimately, vehicles will be purchased via their app. On top of that, Fisker will have a flexible lease option that allows you to give back the car at any time. And the car is will be recycled after 12 years. Finally, strategically developing IP to innovate and delight customers. All of this is meant to re-invent the car industry which according to Mr. Fisker is an industry that needs to be reinvented.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Fisker Inc. as they get closer to launching the Ocean later this year. If the world stops ending I hope to see one in person and be able to report on that. But for now, I’d like to thank Mr. Fisker for his time as this was a very enlightening interview.

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