Exclusive: Henrik Fisker Talks EMotion, Solid-State Batteries

MAY 29 2018 BY DOMENICK YONEY 15

Now, this is an EMotion-al interview!

The Fisker EMotion is not just a car. It’s a shot at redemption for Henrik Fisker: the man whose first attempt at automaking — see the Fisker Karma — ended in tears and a lawsuit. But more than that, it could also herald a new age of longer range, faster recharging electric vehicles. That is, if the “flexible solid-state” battery technology his company is simultaneously developing lives up to its hype.

More Henrik Here – Henrik Fisker Confirms Future $40,000 Electric Car, Discusses eMotion

With an ambitious production target of 2020 for both the car and battery not so far away, we had a number of questions we wanted to ask Mr. Fisker to help us get an idea of where the effort stands at the moment, and just how hopeful we should feel about the $130,000 all-electric luxury sedan and the solid-state batteries that could power it. Luckily for us, the designer-cum-auto-entrepreneur spared some time for our inquiries, and you can read the results for yourself below.

  • The Fisker EMotion is a beautiful design. To get it successfully into production, what lessons learned from your first foray into automaking are you applying to the business this time around?
    • The Fisker Emotion will be made for a lower volume, in the single-digit thousands, with low volume tooling and extensive use of carbon fiber.
  • Do you plan on going the dealership route again?
    • No, we will have experience centers and a unique service franchise model, with a customer concierge.
  • Will the production version of the EMotion have the same swing-up doors as the prototype?
    • The front doors, yes definitely. The rear doors are under production feasibility evaluation.
  • Is the prototype drivable, and if so, how much of the hardware/software that motivates it will be carried over into production?
    • Yes, not much, as we still have a lot of development to do.
  • Despite the striking styling of the EMotion, its battery could really steal the show. Can you speak to what promising developments have happened that give you confidence the flexible solid-state battery will be ready ahead of the previous 2023 timeframe?
    • Our scientists had some major breakthroughs and we are now much more confident in the technology. There are still a lot of hurdles that need to be solved – it’s not an easy task to bring this new technology to mass market. But, we are working hard at it and plan to have in-vehicle test already next year.
  • Do you expect your batteries and, possibly, the licensing of that technology will create more revenue than actual automaking?
    • Due to the size of batteries in automobiles, the biggest opportunity is in automotive, so we will initially have a few automotive partners that will have exclusive access to our battery technology together with Fisker. But, we are already in discussions to license the technology outside the automotive industry.
  • Will the EMotion have autonomous capability at launch, or will that come later?
    • It will have some, but it’s too early to predict how much, as the technology develops fast and as legislation may play a role as well.
  • Do you plan to take the company public eventually?
    • We have a lot of things that we need to achieve before we start thinking about that.
  • How far along is the engineering of the production version of the EMotion?
    • We have at least 20 more months to go, and we may delay the launch to incorporate our solid-state batteries from the start.
  • Do you intend to contract the manufacturing, or will you be refurbishing an existing, but unused, plant to manufacture?
    • Existing plant in the US, but no final decision yet on location and site.
  • Will cars and batteries be produced in the same location?
    • The battery cells and modules will be in a different location.
  • How large is your team now?
    • We are a small and agile team, constantly growing.
  • You refer to your particular battery technology as “flexible solid state.” How does this so-called flexibility come into play? Are the cells physically flexible, or is this meant to infer a flexibility with regard to various applications for the cells? For example, one variation may have more energy density, while another, more power density.
    • Both: The cells are physically flexible, which is important for resisting vibration. We will also have variations in the cells depending on the application.
  • When you eventually begin producing mules, will you use an off-the-shelf battery to complete chassis development, or will battery and car development be completely integrated?
    • We will already use off-the-shelf batteries this year for Mule testing.
  • How much pampering in the way of temperature management do your solid-state cells need, and are they more or less combustible than, say, those produced by LG Chem?
    • When you pack so much energy, you will always have to do some form of thermal management. Our solid-state batteries need less cooling than traditional lithium-ion batteries. We are currently testing our solid-state batteries and are looking into seeing if we actually need active cooling, which would reduce the cost of the battery back. The expectations of solid-state batteries are that they are non-flammable and more safe than today’s lithium-ion batteries.

So there you have it. It seems like the next couple of years will be intensely busy if Fisker is to hit his challenging 2020 target. The big things to watch for will be the acquisition of a factory, the building and testing of mules, and the performance of the flexible solid-state battery once installed in an EMotion.

One of the big questions that we didn’t ask this time (but has been addressed elsewhere) is money. For now, the undertaking is privately financed and has the capital it needs for at least the immediate future. Hopefully, we’ll have an opportunity to talk again once things are a bit farther along, and we’ll certainly bring that subject up at that time. Until then, godspeed and good luck.

Categories: Fisker / Karma

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

15 Comments on "Exclusive: Henrik Fisker Talks EMotion, Solid-State Batteries"

newest oldest most voted
Jake Brake

So more realistically Fisker is working on a mule vehicle for 2020, not real automotive production, even low volume.

Lamata

I wouldn’t buy a Kiddie’s Go Kart from this Guy ! Major Trust Issues …….IMO

Chris O

Shot at redemption? Nope, the business model here is living on the cash of investors for as long as possible by dazzling them with great looking car designs and pie in the sky battery tech.

Pushmi-Pullyu

Exactly.

Charles

You lost me right in the title of the article: “Henry Fisker talks…”

Dave

Fisker is a crook… I have less faith in his plans then I do in Faraday Future, which is pretty much 0%

Bill Howland
To reiterate: Fisker with the ill-fated KARMA (with that GM 4-cyl E-REV system) had a perfectly fine 3.3 kw charger, 40 mile range high-voltage battery – but had a cogging issue at low-speeds (driving it felt like you were feeling every tooth of its gear box go by) that never had been fixed in the 3 times I test drove the car. Unacceptable really for any electric and certainly not for $100k class cars. And the most bone-headed feature was no overcurrent protection (neither fuse nor circuit breaker) for the 12 volt cooling fan which ended up burning down many garages and houses. It was obvious they were at the ABSOLUTE LIMIT of their electrical expertise. For them to change not only the type of battery, but also their successful sales model by using dealers now familiar with their product seems to me to be the height of insanity. If this guy had previously PROVEN his genius, that would be another matter. But seeing as he couldn’t even make a basic car without driving right, nor being a fire-trap shows this guy is just full of hot air. As others have been saying here, I don’t believe it – that… Read more »
DL

Strangely, I’ve seen more of the new Reveros tooling around the LA area than I ever saw of the Karmas.

That’s still one bad ass looking car.

John

Looks like a Model S on steroids!

Lamata

Looks Like a POS …IMO

Salem

As far as I know the very early basic lines of the Model S were designed by him before he left Tesla and started his own company. Franz von Holzhausen build on these basic lines to create the Model S.
To be fair he designed great looking cars, the Z8, Artega GT and DB9 are gorgeous and even the Karma looked okay, but this one is just a disaster

John Doe
I wonder what have been the major problem with solid state batteries. Many years ago we bought solid state pouch batteries from Canada, USA and Japan. Maybe Korea and a European country too. They were all working fine. I’m not sure what they cost, but test cells tend to cost money for sure. . . but that is many years ago. After testing I got a few batteries with me home – and I still use them.. they have worked flawless for so many years. I can not recall the specs, compared to Lithium batteries of the same period. I do remember we used a carpet knife and cut one pouch battery in half, with no serious smoke or fire going on, like a standard lithium cell, or a NiMh cell. I also find it strange that one of these companies don’t make a proper car battery for an excisting EV – just to prove they can do it, and be the first. Maybe get some investors – and you know. . . make some money selling solid state batteries for the top end models, where cost is less important. There is also a HUGE marked for electric tools and… Read more »
PHEVfan

“There is also a HUGE marked for electric tools and what not.” – There is the answer to your question. Other markets like phones or tools will pay a higher price per cell than cars will, and they don’t have to design internal cooling into the packs. So any independent battery maker with the latest product would go after those markets to net the highest return. Auto makers are having to make their own battery designs to support their auto sales. They’re willing to pony up on battery in order to win the EV sales race. IMHO anyway.

G2

The Good; Fisker is going full BEV.
The Bad; Fisker is involved beyond his area of expertise- beautiful design.
I hope it all works flawlessly (for the good of the Revolution) but I’m not betting any important body parts on his success.