The electrics are coming (and they’re not all created equal)

by Henrik Fisker, Chairman and CEO, Fisker Inc 06 Jan 2020


The EVs are coming! Yes, they are. And in a big wave. The world’s most prominent automakers are committed – with entities like Volkswagen Group leading the way.

Rewind to the time period when automatic transmission or ABS brakes first emerged. Those features were only available on premium vehicles. Now, you’d be lucky if you could find a manual vehicle in America. And ABS brakes in the western world: it’s now an industry standard, with laws requiring it.

But how long will it be until EVs are required by law? It’s hard to say, and it depends very much on each individual country, their mandates and their views. One thing is for sure: the countries that adopt EVs the fastest may lead economic revolutions, lead in technology development and play an important role in creating a greener, healthier world for the future. Everyone else will be left behind. And this time, it may be detrimental if politicians fail to acknowledge the clear momentum being built around electrification – and they may even potentially be held responsible by the public for economic downturns.


Fisker launched the Karma with a vegan interior, as an EV with a range extender a year before the Tesla Model S hit the market. 

The automotive industry may be divided into two: those companies who go electric and prosper, and those who don’t and run the risk of long-term failure. I launched the Fisker Karma, complete with a vegan interior, as an electric vehicle with a range extender one year before the Tesla model S hit the market. I’ve always said that it was a hard time. Our battery supplier went bankrupt and most of the press gave us a huge beating. But overall, not many people cared outside of the immediate industry. It was 2011.

Fast forward to today, eight years later: a vegan interior is even more ‘cool’ and EVs are cooking fast. And we at Fisker are certainly trying to evolve the world’s view of EVs and their desirability – with more emotional designs and experiences to widen mass appeal. The real question is: what is the future of overall mobility? With EVs we solve a pollution problem. With the emergence of autonomous technologies and vehicles, we’re taking steps to solve safety issues. But what about congestion and cost? 

Congestion is not solved easily. The fact is, we all like our individual transport, when we can afford it. I’m a proud American through and through – but I grew up in Denmark, a rich country with 180 percent tax on cars, and an almost-perfect model on how to deploy a low-cost public transport system.

However, I never grew up ‘dreaming’ about taking the cheap bus or train. I, like most others, dreamt of beautiful cars. Cool and fast sports cars. And while public transport is needed, and works well in many situations, it can never replace the emotional satisfaction and sense of accomplishment of having a private vehicle, just for you. Your own loud music. Your coffee cup placed where you want it. Your sunglasses left wherever you want, whenever you want. Your child’s book left in the door pocket. Your own personalized seat adjustment. Just you – being able to be you.

No business plan, no utilisation model and no efficiency model can argue those factors away.

Sure, it may be true that young people in mega cities won’t need a car while they are young and independent, but once they move to the suburbs with kids, it’s a whole different story.

Inner cities will need to find a way to manage private mobility, that is certainly true. If they don’t, the people with buying power will not enter the city, go to restaurants or do any shopping there. They will end up being ‘ghost city centres’ where nobody wants to go. It’s a matter of being too inconvenient.

Sure, people with less purchasing power may walk there, but they likely will buy less – negatively impacting the local economy long-term. 

Then there’s that whole cost factor. A future problem will be cost of mobility, as we all need multiple options, and they won’t be free. Ride-hailing, car sharing, our private car and more. So how can we create modern options in a way that makes sense?

The car industry must change dramatically to fit into this new world of consumer demands. We need to provide affordable, flexible mobility choices that fit into people’s future lifestyles.

‘No commitment’ is the emerging phrase of importance – in line with the way younger generations are trending. We can’t afford to commit to multiple mobility choices that we may not use but are forced to pay for anyway. We, the people, want mobility that fits us as individuals.

New flexible mobility services are needed. For example, the newly launched Fisker Flexee mobility app, allows people to get into a flexible lease for a luxury EV without any long-term commitment. And in time, it’s possible that drivers may be able to ultimately share their vehicle, rent or even engage in green ride-hailing programs with their vehicle to allow them to participate in the ‘gig economy’. All from the same mobile app platform.


Newly launched Fisker Flexee mobility app allows people to get into a flexible lease for a luxury EV without any long-term commitment.

The new Fisker app is designed with that future in mind. Including the potential for bringing other emerging forms of mobility onto the same interface. All with the focus on your individual needs and budget – and when you need those – at a click of a button.

Overall, the future is approaching fast and hot. In 2022, the world may embrace new mobility companies and ideas, while the old ‘car’ companies dramatically adjust or retract. It’s a new day: where a bright clean world with mobility for everyone – on various levels and different cost bases – can exist, allowing everyone to participate.

As a constant innovator and eternal optimist, I believe in a clean future for everyone! It’s never been easy. But I know we can do this . . . together. 

Also read: Fisker prices luxury Ocean e-SUV at $37,499, targets a million units by 2027