The latest Tesla challenger approaches the starting line, and it looks kinda sketchy
There will soon be a new player in the electric car space, with a big name backing it — but the company has a lot to prove before it can legitimately threaten Tesla.
Renowned auto designer Henrik Fisker just released the first full-body images of his EMotionautonomous electric car, along with some new spec details, giving the world its first IRL look at the latest challenger to Tesla's reign as the top all-electric luxury vehicle on the market.
EMotion, which was first announced last year by Fisker's eponymous company, boasts some impressive specs and a sleek design that's sure to turn heads. The pre-release materialsclaim the car will be the "most advanced" electric vehicle ever made, with a proprietary lithium-ion battery that can charge for 100 miles' worth of juice in just nine minutes and provide a massive 400-mile-plus range at full power. That's at least 65 more miles than Tesla's top-level Model S 100D sedan, if you're keeping track.
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But there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of the company's claims, especially before anyone outside the development team has seen the car on the road. This isn't Henrik Fisker's first foray into the electric car market, after all; he was behind the failed Fisker Karma electric supercar, which was discontinued after its batteries were recalled following reports of reliability issues and, in an unrelated issue, the cars caught fire.
Back when EMotion was announced last October, Fisker told Mashable he learned a valuable lesson from the Karma's failure. "My big learnings [from the past] is to control the testing and development of the battery pack," he said then. "My lesson is to focus on the development and have a clear vision about the product. I love innovation and it is important to keep going, despite the naysayers.".
It looks like Fisker actually learned his lesson. He originally claimed that EMotion would launch with the industry's first graphene battery, which could reduce charge times while extending a vehicle's range — but that's not in the cards, at least for the time being.
"We still continue our efforts in advancing battery research in Graphene & Solid State chemistry," he wrote to Mashable in an email about the new car's features. Instead, the lithium-ion battery, along with a newly-patented super-fast "Ultra Charger" will be tasked with providing the power for the car's unprecedented (and as of yet unproven) range.
There's not much information available about the self-driving platform, other than the location of the sensors and cameras needed for autonomy. When the car was announced last year, it was slated to be built with hardware to allow "fully autonomous driving when approved and released by a soon-to-be-announced partnered supplier," but Fisker told us specific details are still being kept under wraps for "competitive reasons."
Along with the new pics, Fisker touted a few of EMotion's more cosmetic design specs: the car's windows will be made with Lipik electrichromatic glass, which tints electrically on command, it's equipped with two electric butterfly doors, and a digital key.
The company plans to sell EMotion to consumers directly through its website and soon-to-open "experience centers," just like its rival.
The car will be officially unveiled on August 17, but pre-orders for the sedan open on June 30 for a retail price of $129,000, and production in a U.S. facility slated to kick off in 2019. Fisker claims the company already has over 1,000 customers ready to put money down to pre-order the car, sight unseen, which is another bold declaration without any details about exactly what will be due for a +deposit.
A luxury sedan is just the first move for the fledgling company. Fisker hinted at the next step to us in his email: a second production car at a more affordable price bracket. He wrote that the next vehicle will cost below $35,000, and will be developed with an unnamed large auto manufacturer.
He didn't provide any details about the other car beyond that — but with Tesla primed to kick off production of the budget-friendly Model 3 sedan at a similar price-point, Fisker's clearly positioning his company to compete with Elon Musk's on multiple fronts.