R1.6m electric car is designer's bid at a comeback

Henrik Fisker, founder, chairman and CEO of Fisker, shows a Fisker EMotion all-electric vehicle at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 9, 2018. Photo: DAVID MCNEW / AFP

LAS VEGAS - Henrik Fisker has unveiled his $129,000 ( R1.6-million) electric luxury car in a rebooted effort to take on Tesla and others.

The Fisker EMotion, which made its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is part of a comeback effort for Henrik Fisker, a former BMW and Aston Martin designer whose first venture was halted in 2013 after selling only a few thousand vehicles.

This time, Fisker is pulling out all the stops for the vehicle, designed with butterfly doors and a sleek sports car look, semi-autonomous driving, and a range of some 650 kilometres on a single charge.

The car, which is still two years from deliveries, "is a new take on the future of a luxury sedan", Fisker told AFP on the CES show floor.

READ: Aston Martin announces electric car for 2019

Fisker said features such as the extended driving range "will make even people sitting on the fence (about electric cars) look at it."

The new effort nonetheless faces an uphill battle in an industry where Tesla is showing rapid growth and other rivals from major automakers to startups -- including one other making a debut at the tech show -- are producing new electric cars.

Fisker is also working on its own battery technology aimed at improving range and speeding the charging time.

He said he hopes to have a charging system that can enable an extra 400km in nine minutes.

The company is also working on a solid-state battery that Fisker said could achieve a full charge in one minute.

Like Tesla, Fisker is also working on a more affordable vehicle that would be priced around $40,000 after the Emotion. And it has designed a self-driving shuttle bus called the Orbit that could also launch in the next few years.

Partnering with Fisker is California-based technology firm Quanergy, which is developing the LIDAR used for autonomous driving.

The Emotion uses five LIDAR sensors integrated into the body and "it's the only LIDAR with no moving parts," said Quanergy CEO Louay Eldada.

The launch by Fisker's new company comes after a high-profile bankruptcy by Fisker Automotive.

Before launching his own venture and the ill-fated Fisker Karma, Fisker designed vehicles including the BMW Z8 and Aston Martin DB89.



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