Legendary car designer Henrik Fisker wants to build a self-driving car


Fisker Force 1 SideThe Force 1. VLF Automotive

Legendary car designer Henrik Fisker launched his comeback with the Force 1 in January — a $230,000 luxury sports car.

But Fisker isn’t planning on stopping with the Force 1. He’s already designing the next car to sell under his new company, VLF Automotive, based in Detroit. And the car designer is interested in pursuing electric cars again and ones with autonomous features down the road.

„What is the next vehicle out there in terms of electric cars and autonomous driving?“ Fisker told Tech Insider. „I’m spending a lot of time in that area and what that means in the future.“

Fisker said he’s interested in designing electric cars, as well as vehicles with autonomous features, but he declined to comment on whether or not he would ever actually pursue either one.

Before the Force 1, Fisker got his name in the car industry as a designer for BMW, Ford, and Aston Martin. He did initial design work for the Tesla Model S sedan. But when he broke off to design a hybrid dubbed the Fisker Karma, Tesla filed a suit alleging he copied some of Tesla’s technological innovations for the Karma.

An arbitrator eventually ruled in favor of Fisker. But Fisker Automotive went bankrupt in 2011, making the Karma a distant memory. Although Fisker Automotive went bankrupt, the Karma is a big reason Fisker is interested in entering the electric car market.

A new kind of electric car 

„I’m passionate about it because when I brought out the Fisker Karma, it was clear people thought, ‚Well, an electric car, even with a range extender, can be sexy and amazing,'“ he said. „Obviously, we had a major battery problem and that’s what brought Fisker Automotive down. But today we have the battery technology that has gone a lot further.“

Fisker said he wants to design a car that isn’t a traditional electric, four-door sedan. Fisker said he would want to „make a completely new car, with new proportions and a different design.“

„We still haven’t seen any cars take advantage of the electric powertrain in terms of how you proportion an electric vehicle versus traditional vehicles,“ he said. „Yes there’s electric cars, but they haven’t really done it in a beautiful way.“

Fisker would also want the electric car to „truly move the needle,“ he added.

That sounds similar to what secretive, electric car start-up Faraday Future is going for. Faraday Future teamed up with Aston Martin to make „a range of next-generation connected electric vehicles.“

Faraday Thumb21Faraday Future’s concept car. Rob Ludacer

The start-up is also using a Variable Platform Architecture (VPA) — a modular platform designed specifically for electric vehicles. The technology allows the chassis to be easily adjusted by changing the lengths of the rails and other structures:


Using a VPA allows Faraday Future more flexibility in designing a variety of cars.

Autonomous cars will completely change car design

Electric powertrains, though, aren’t the only technology reshaping car design.

Fisker said that autonomous cars excite him because they open up all kinds of new opportunities for new ways to design a car.

For example, self-driving vehicles allow car makers to totally rethink the interior design of a vehicle. Fisker didn’t give specifics, but we’ve seen automakers experiment with building sofasand TVs into the interiors of autonomous cars.

„No one right now has any particular advantage in this space because no one has done it before. No one truly understands what the consumer wants,“ he said. „I just generally think the technology is enabling new ventures to take a new shot of what a car is.“

So when could we see a car from Fisker with autonomous features? Fisker is remaining hush on the subject.

„I’m definitely thinking about it,“ he said. „And it’ll probably be in the next two to three years that we’ll see the biggest changes in the car industry, maybe ever.“



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