There’s a lot of hype around Fisker’s upcoming all-electric EMotion car. Ambitious claims are being made and it feels like many of those will be vaporware at this early point.
But nonetheless, let’s take a quick look and try to understand some of those ‘unbelievable’ claims.
To be clear, by ‘unbelievable’, I literally mean that they are hard to believe.
The first thing that is hard to believe is the actual price of the vehicle. Fisker claims that the vehicle will start at “$129,900.”
We are talking about a low-volume luxury sedan that would sell for about the same price as its predecessor, the Fisker Karma, which now starts at $130,000 as the Karma Revero.
But that vehicle would feature a much larger battery pack and supposedly significantly more advanced features like lidar sensors, carbon fiber wheels, and much more.
An easy explanation would be that by saying that it “starts at $129,900”, it would only be for a smaller battery pack option and the one enabling “over 400 miles of range” would be more expensive, but no. Fisker says that it is the starting price of the “ultra large battery pack”.
OK. It leads us to the next point.
The most headline-grabbing claim that Fisker has made about the upcoming EMotion is its range of “over 400 miles”.
We had our doubts since the beginning because they made that claim based on the assumption that they would bring to market a new graphene-based hybrid supercapacitor technology.
They have since abandoned this technology – at least for the first generation of the EMotion. Fisker said that they are still working on it, but they now plan to use li-ion NMC battery cells:
In order to achieve the same “over 400 miles range”, they will need a battery pack of around 120-130 kWh, which is 20 to 30 percent over the highest energy capacity battery pack available in passenger cars today (Tesla’s 100 kWh packs in Model S and Model X).
It’s not impossible since the vehicle is not planned for production until 2019. Energy density is likely to increase another 10 to 20% over the next two years and other companies, like Lucid Motors, are planning similar energy capacities in their cars on a similar timeline.
Therefore, they gained some credibility by dropping their graphene-based hybrid supercapacitor technology, but I’d like to see how they can achieve their price point with such a large battery pack.
The Charging Technology
Fisker has also been claiming “ultra-fast charging” for the EMotion, which made sense with the hybrid supercapacitor, but they are keeping the claim with the li-ion cells.
I’ve seen lots of headlines about the fact that Fisker’s car will be able to charge in 9-minute, likely encouraged by Henrik Fisker himself writing “400 mile plus range, 9 minute fast charging”:
That’s misleading. In the actual press release, Fisker claims something different:
“The Fisker EMotion has been proportioned to accommodate an advanced high-energy density, patent-pending battery pack and cooling system. It can be charged through the vehicle’s proprietary UltraCharger™ technology, charging over 100 miles in nine minutes.”
It means that it’s a roughly 25% charge in 9 minutes and that’s likely depending on the state-of-charge of the battery. If our battery pack energy capacity assumptions are correct, we are talking about adding ~30 kWh in 9 minutes, which would mean the capacity to sustain a charge rate of 200 kW for a few minutes. It’s far from impossible. In fact, some would call this child’s play.
The only problem is that are currently little to no charging stations capable of delivering that kind of charge. Some are planned, but Fisker has offered no information about the charging networks that will be able to support its upcoming new vehicle.
The Autonomous Driving Technology
Finally, this is the last claim that we are going to look into and only briefly since it’s quite obviously vaporware. Fisker’s new company doesn’t only plan to bring a new vehicle to market with all the lastest EV technology, but they also plan to leapfrog every other automaker and tech company in autonomous driving:
If you didn’t get it, this one is actually an April fool joke. But considering the other “real” claims that Fisker has been making about the EMotion, which is planned for a debut on June 30th and launch in 2019, it’s understandable if you actually thought that the claim was real.
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