Legendary Car Designer Henrik Fisker Predicts the Future of Luxury Automobiles

Car designer, Henrik Fisker is responsible for some of the most ambitious and forward thinking automobiles that the luxury sector has ever seen – including the BMW Z8, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Aston Martin DB9, Artega GT, VLF Rocket, and Ford Shelby GR-1 – as well as a trio of cars bearing his own surname like the Fisker Karma, Tramonto, and Latigo.

Fisker is once again poised to challenge the notion of what is possible in automotive design with the planned roll-out of new cars under the banner, Fisker Inc, which he believes will further lead us in a direction where internal combustion engines with finally be replaced by all-electric cars once and for all.

Dubbed “EMotion” – and first debuting at CES in Las Vegas in January – the car promises 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds, a top speed of 160 mph, a motor which delivers the equivalency of 780hp, and a 400+ mile range. In contrast, Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster, boasts attributes like 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, a top speed of 250 mph and a range of 620 miles.

Henrik Fisker.
Fisker Inc.

Yet, one could make the case that they’re quite comparable given EMotion’s $130,000 USD price tag which is $70,000 USD less than the Roadster. Needless to say, Henrik Fisker’s reemergence in the space has led many outlets to insinuate that there is a burgeoning rivalry between he and Elon Musk – something he has embraced as the perceived “underdog.”

We recently caught up with Fisker to discuss not only the future of automobiles, but also ethical responsibilities he feels when designing, and a place he thinks every car enthusiast should take a spin in their lifetimes.

The Fisker Karma.
Fisker Inc.

The Fisker Karma. It was a unique challenge to design the world’s first premium electric vehicle with a range extender. I had complete freedom starting from a clean sheet of paper. I created dramatic proportions and had to design a “Fisker Brand” DNA. The Fisker Karma is my daily driver, until I get my Fisker EMotion all-electric car.

Historic car: the Ferrari 275 GTB, great proportions, clean sculpture and perfect graphics. New car: the 2018 Porsche 911: I love the delicate clean sculpture of the rear fenders.

In a traditional large car company it usually takes longer, with more meetings and more compromises, but with higher budgets. Total time between 3 1/2 to 4 years. At Fisker we work on a 2 1/2 year product cycle, as we have fewer meetings and compromises. After sketches, there is a 4 month timeline where engineering and design works closely together between digital and full size clay modeling to freeze overall design and proportions, 2 months of fine tuning, and the last 24 months are pure execution and fulfilling all performance targets, legal requirements and manufacturing engineering.

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
Alexandre Prévot / Flickr

Essentially, automotive design is the most difficult product to design in the world, with a glossy exterior and a soft interior consisting of multiple individual product designs that all have to come together, fulfilling the strictest legal requirements.

I prefer designing objects that impact people’s daily lives in a positive manner. If I can put a smile on somebody’s face, by looking at one of my designs, even if they don’t own it, it’s my biggest reward.

I believe the future of mobility will be even more fragmented, where the same person will require everything from easy non-emotional transport to an extreme emotional experience. The future of OEM’s is going to provide a unique brand experience, rather than a specific type of vehicle. We (Fisker) will provide an exciting emotional experience no matter what Fisker vehicle you are in.

Henrik Fisker with the Fisker EMotion.
Fisker Inc.

The car industry is already changing and recognizing the new trend of ethics and responsibility that goes with manufacturing vehicles. At Fisker, it’s our goal to help cut pollution by still providing exciting and emotional mobility.

Competition is good and pushes you to do better, especially if you are the “underdog”. I’m currently enjoying the freedom to be radically innovative both in the battery development and vehicle development spheres, as we need to push the boundaries to the extreme to be able to compete.

The Aston Martin DB9.
David Caudery / N-Photo Magazine / Getty Images

You actually lean more from failure, as it makes you humble and forces you to innovate even more and pay even more attention to all areas of the business, to make sure you will be successful.

Starting out on the German Autobahn with no speed limit and drive over the Alps into Italy. The feeling of free speed on a public road, later combined with a great curvy road with the beautiful setting of the mountains, is the ultimate driving experience.

The Fisker EMotion.
Fisker Inc.

The luxury automobile will be even more emotional and unique, moving away from being a traditional sedan or coupe with an upgraded leather interior. It will be divided into two main segments – the autonomous led luxury experience and the personal “driver” experience. Both will be much more extremely designed than today cars, as those customers will be using their cars less, thus wanting a even more unique experience when they do. We will all still own a vehicle in the future, but use it less than 50% of the time we use it today, due to other mobility choices.

For more car news, check out Kanye West’s custom Tesla.

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