Today, on the eve of the New York Auto Show, Fisker Automotive released (some) details about the company's long-awaited car, code named Project Nina. The Fisker Atlantic is the name for the car and is, like the Fisker Karma, an extended range electric luxury car. It is a four door that looks like a two-door coupe, and is described as a "family oriented vehicle," and it has a few unique and interesting design elements. Details about the power train and price are not being revealed at this time.
The Atlantic is much smaller than the Fisker Karma. It still has the long stretched out feel of the Karma, while being physically smaller. The design theme has two lines curving along the side of the car, crossing at the rear wheel to emphasize the car is a rear wheel drive.
There is an extremely small front overhang and other features that go together to create a lot of interior cabin space. This gives room for family and the cargo carrying capacity one requires in a family car. The rear doors are ingenuously designed to obscure the fact it is a four door car, giving it the feel of a two door coupe. The rear seats easily fold down giving a large cargo area.
The Atlantic sports a whole new kind of roof not seen in any other car. Fisker calls it a "spider roof" and features clear panels with an X shaped set of cross members providing a roll cage for rollover protection.
Gone are the solar panels of the Karma.
The exterior lighting has several completely new aspects. The front lights looks like "eagle eyes" and are designed to look like "ice" with light shining through the ice. The rear lights have an extremely thin line wrapping around the rear end, to give a unique "Fisker Look."
Overall the dimensions of the Atlantic are similar to the Audi A5.
While Henrik Fisker did not reveal specific details of the drive train, we know more now than before. It was described as Fisker's "next generation powertrain" that will again offer both electric only driving, and hybrid (extended range) mode driving, and the driver will be able to switch manually between the modes. The extended range driving mode is important to provide the illusion of infinite range that we are all accustomed to having from our collective history with gasoline powered vehicles, while the significant electric driving range implements Fisker Automotive's "responsible luxury" design ethic. The equation is "range = freedom" allowing the car owner to just jump in and drive on their whim of the moment.
The range extender engine is a small BMW-sourced turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The specifics of the engine aren't entirely important, as it is used solely as a generator to charge the battery pack. Fisker stated the Atlantic will have performance and fuel economy better than any other car in its class, and as we see with his hint over the price, that "class" is the Audi A5 and BMW 3 series. But that is all that will be revealed at this time with Henrik Fisker saying it is "still top secret" and there are a "lot of innovative parts to this power train." The standard drive train is a rear-wheel drive, and an all-wheel drive will be available as an option.
At this time Fisker Automotive does not want to reveal the price of the Fisker Atlantic. Henrik Fisker did hint that the target price is similar to the Audi A5 (MSRP $37,100) and the upper end of the BMW 3 series (335i xDrive Coupe is $46,800 MSRP). Add a few bit and bobs and you're perhaps talking about a $50,000 car. Maybe.
With the recent financial troubles being faced by Fisker Automotive (frozen loans from the Dept of Energy) one would expect the originally projected date production date for the Fisker Atlantic to slip. Originally production was to start in late 2012 but in the wake of the freezing of the Dept of Energy loans to Fisker Automotive, the company has laid off the staff that was rehabilitating the former GM factory that is to be used to manufacture the Atlantic. Oh, and there's the allegation, denied by Fisker, that the company was about to go bankrupt, and that the Karma was rushed into production (also later denied). The last few months have been rocky for Fisker Automotive.
Henrik Fisker did not directly address when or whether the Atlantic will go into production, nor details about the frozen loan and layoffs. He did reiterate that the Atlantic design is 90% complete and that the company is "totally ready" to kick off production. What will enable going to production is whether the company can raise the capital to do so.
The frozen Dept of Energy loans was to have supplied $300 million or so of capital (low interest loans) to do so. While that's a fairly large chunk of change, the company management has been successful at raising capital from private investors. CEO Tom LaSorda stated that in March the company had raised $130 million, and had raised over $1 billion in private capital overall. That, for a small company, started just in 2007, that's how expensive it is to launch a new automobile manufacturer. In any case Henrik Fisker went on to say the private capital raised by the company demonstrates clearly "this car will be built, and go into production."
In short we have what looks like another beautiful car from the design genius of Henrik Fisker. It features the same sort of electric drive with gasoline fueled range extension that's the company hallmark. Perhaps the most important thing is the Atlantic has a dramatically smaller price than the Karma, increasing the breadth of potential customers.