Henrik Fikser spoke at the ArtCenter Invitational at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. He talked about the favorite features of the Fisker Ocean, his design philosophy and why this time his company is so successful.
Here is an edited transcript of what Fisker told AUTO Connected Car News and the ArtCenter audience:
I’m a little crazy because I decided to start a second car company. When we did that, we spent a lot of time thinking about the business model.
I love sports car design, but we decided that our first vehicle had to be a volume vehicle– a vehicle we could make a business out of. So we decided to go for this sort of compact SUV.
What we did differently is we started from a clean sheet of paper. For design, we want to have extremely short openings and very large wheels.
We also wanted to introduce some new things in the segment. So we introduced some features like California Mode– the big solar panel is opening. Not only do the door windows open, but also the little side windows, which we call docking windows to dock and sit in there and get some fresh air. The rear window opens down in the rear window.
There were rear windows that opened down in the ’60s until they found out that the fumes came back into the car and it wasn’t healthy. That disappeared. We can make that coming back with an electric car.
The wide stance of the sculpture on the body was very important. We had to think about this has to be a high-volume usable vehicle. So it’s maybe the first vehicle that truly cared about that you can fit in the backseat that I have designed. So we spent a lot of time on that. And, you know, that’s one of the challenges with all designers. If you design a sports car, you don’t care so much about who’s in the backseat and how big the trunk is.
When you get into an SUV segment you have to try and make it look good, have the right proportions, but also fit people in luggage and everything else in it. So it’s it was a fun project, but nothing on this car that we couldn’t do that we didn’t make come through. And remember, this starts at about $39,000. So it’s quite affordable.
Our goal was to make the world’s most sustainable car. We have about 50 kilos or 100 pounds of recycled and biomaterials in this vehicle, most of it is in the interior.
We wanted to get something on the exterior. The black in the wheels is made from recycled carbon fiber.
With electric vehicles, you want to do something on the aerodynamics. So the wheel covers are aerodynamic covers, where we keep only the necessary amount of air coming into the brakes.
We tried to work on aerodynamics and other areas of the car and not just do a fastback because that’s the easiest thing for an aerodynamic car.
There are a lot of recycled materials in this vehicle because that was one of the key things to make it the world’s most sustainable car.
Carbon Fiber is One of the things people picked up on right away. The features that people are really appreciating is California mode–the windows that open up the little do windows and the trays.
We just sent out an over-the-air update where you can actually see now you will get a screen you can see how much energy you generate every day.
People liked the sustainability aspect of having 100 pounds of recycled materials.
The honeycomb in the front is for air to cool the motors.
We are planning to recycle the entire car after 12 years, including the battery.
If somebody wants to keep it longer, we are planning a buyback program.
Fisker also said that his favorite place to drive in California Mode is Pacific Coast Highway which runs along the California coastline. The largest dog to enjoy California Mode is a huge Newfoundland.
How does it feel now that cars are shipping?
“Great!” Fisker exclaimed.