Henrik Fisker: Style and Soul will Fuel Green Car Future
Updated December 16, 2012
Attend any gathering of luxury sports cars and you are surrounded by inspiring design. Whether it’s the sensuous curves of an Aston Martin, the muscular profile of a BMW Z8, or the aggressive beltline of a Ferrari, these are cars that move us long before we ever start the engine. Simply put, these cars aren’t transportation – they are objects of desire.
Now imagine a gathering of alternative-energy vehicles and ask yourself why your heart doesn’t race and your pulse doesn’t pound. The answer is simple: We know that choosing vehicles that reduce our carbon footprint and our dependence on foreign oil is the right path, yet our hearts long for cars with soul and style, not just innovative technology.
At Fisker Automotive, we believe the future of the alternative energy vehicle market belongs to automakers who understand that these two desires aren’t mutually exclusive.
Analysts predict the U.S. will be the world’s largest market for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and plug-in hybrid electrics (PHEV) by 2015, with demand equally strong around the world. For example, the U.S. has announced its intention to put one million plug-in hybrid cars on its roads by 2015. Germany recently unveiled an action plan to have one million electric cars on its roads by 2020, and Japan wants electric vehicles to soon make up half of all vehicle sales. If we are to achieve these numbers, green cars will have to be at least as attractive as today’s most desirable designs.
While there will always be some consumers who value the inner workings of a machine over its design, there’s a reason why products like the iPhone or Bang &Olufsen speakers are so successful.
Yes, their technology is world-class. But it is the memorable design that engages consumers’ senses and creates emotional attachment. Why should we apply different criteria to alternative energy vehicle design?
In addition to reducing fossil fuel consumption, green vehicles must also run clean. But once these criteria are met, what will move consumers to make a purchase?
At Fisker Automotive, we strongly believe that creating environmentally responsible cars with soulful, memorable design is the solution to inspiring drivers around the world to go green. We call our approach ‘ecochic’ – and we think it’s the right formula.
In fact, we feel so confident in our philosophy that we recently announced the purchase of the Wilmington Assembly plant in Wilmington, Delaware. The plant will support Fisker Automotive’s Project NINA, the development and build of a sexy, affordable, family-oriented plug-in hybrid that Vice President Joe Biden called “a four door Ferrari.”
Production is scheduled to begin in late 2012. We believe that Project NINA will ultimately create or support 2,000 factory jobs and more than 3,000 vendor and supplier jobs by 2014, as production ramps up to full capacity of 75,000-100,000 vehicles per year. More than half will be exported, the largest percentage of any domestic manufacturer.
To capture the consumer, all Fisker Automotive cars will be more affordable than their gasoline equivalent competitors. For example, the 400 horsepower, four-door Fisker Karma starts at $87,900, but a 400 horsepower, four-door Maserati costs more than $125,000. Project NINA will take the same approach and enter the market at a lower price point than a BMW 5-Series. With our approach, eco-friendly cars can be cost competitive without sacrificing power or style.
The future of our industry is rich with technical innovation and excitement over the promise of a cleaner environment and independence from oil producing countries. But we cannot forget that the realization of this promise depends on offering car designs that create true, pulse-pounding desire, cars that the consumer really wants to buy.
Henrik Fisker is CEO of Fisker Automotive, a new American car company developing premium green vehicles for world markets
Categories: Gear Grinding