Fisker will make two world premieres at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The car company will share the first live view of its EMotion four-door luxury sedan with a seamless, sleek, integrated LiDAR autopilot system. It will also preview its proprietary, flexible, solid-state battery that promises 500 miles in a single charge. This development will no longer be incorporated into Fisker cars for a few years, but founder Henrik Fisk calls it “a new era in battery technology.” The patent-pending battery eventually improves the way we power everything from cell phones to all-electric super-cars.
This is also a major opportunity for Fisker to assassinate high-end electric vehicles in 2007, but filed for bankruptcy after disappointing product releases. As Fisker supports what he calls the “leading showcase for automotive technology,” Forbes asks him what he thinks the industry is heading and what the relationship between today’s cars and future self-driving teams is.
What do you think is the main point of conversation at CES this year?
Henrik Fisker: Autonomous driving will be the biggest topic at CES 2018. so far. Everyone tests the vehicle with a giant, expensive laser radar on the roof, and we’ve seen cars with these gadgets on the roof. The next step will be: How do you actually integrate the hardware into futuristic vehicles that people really want to buy? Who should make it affordable?
Related to this is the explosive growth of the Internet of Things will be the backdrop for all the new technologies launched for consumers, businesses and more consumers. Everything is getting closer – including vehicles, of course – and this will only continue to expand. IoT proliferation continues – from small personal electronics to the most awesome vehicles are constantly increasing interaction. We are moving towards a smart city era.
How far do you think we are in the autonomous electric car with most U.S. consumers?
Fisker: Most people are always hesitant about new technologies, but if it improves our lives and is packaged in an ideal design, people may adopt it faster. There are two important questions to answer at CES:
How do autonomous vehicles really improve someone’s life? I’m not sure it’s on the highway now. Instead, there may be more immediate demand solutions in the stopped traffic – perhaps as part of the mix and perhaps with a completely autonomous shuttle.
How do you think of the high end of the final conversion into the mass market, these vehicles at reasonable prices?
Fisker: Ultimately, autonomous “level 4” abilities will be offered as an option on any premium vehicle, just as cruise control today is a very standard option. For the mass market, the truly global adoption and adoption of truly affordable advanced electric vehicles is unlikely to be achieved by small electric car companies themselves. It does not make sense from a business point of view. Global manufacturers will ultimately help push this forward, including potential alliances with companies that have very specialized electric vehicle expertise and design.
That said, I believe the real benefit of Level 4 Automation is the traffic that stops. Transport organizations and small, autonomous buses run on fixed routes – eventually led by “smart” transportation systems to ease traffic jams – may read more accurately what consumers want in the near future.
How are your demos part of these broader real-time trends?
Fisker: The trend now is clearly toward electric cars, which are now more exciting and breath-taking designs than existing gasoline cars, with more screen space on the interior. “Pure” electric car makers and major automotive OEMs around the world are moving in the same direction.
What is the core function that lets you separate?
Fisker: Fisker vehicles will always feature avant-garde, dramatic and emotional design / proportions – complemented by innovation to bring us to the future. The current lack of production of electric cars makes the Fisker brand such an ideal design advantage.
Fisker EMotion will have four butterfly doors without a mechanical door handle. In automotive technology, the biggest highlight is the car-integrated Quanergy solid-state lidar, which will achieve “four autonomous driving.”
In addition, Fisker will also showcase “Fisker Flexible Solid-State Batteries,” which will not only change the game in the automotive industry, but will also change the game across consumer electronics. Our scientists – one of whom is co-founder of Sakti3, a global pioneer in battery technology, was acquired by Dyson – a patent for the technology. This breakthrough basically makes the three-dimensional electrode energy density reached 2.5 times the lithium-ion battery. This is a breakthrough that can make a lot of use of EVs and change the way we think about powering personal electronics as well.