Opinion: Fisker Ocean could shine by being genuinely different

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Fisker doesn’t view Tesla as a direct rival, but its new SUV could give the Model Y a seriously hard time

It might be rather cliché to say, but the UK doesn’t see much sun. That, however, hasn’t deterred Fisker from including a California mode on its new Ocean electric SUV.

This opens all windows of the car, including the rear screen and sunroof, somewhat simulating a convertible to give a breeze all through the car. 

It’s a niche feature perhaps, given that one puddle will have the whole family splashed with dusty water, but it’s an interesting one nonetheless. 

Fisker has several of these unique features up its sleeve. There’s a ‘doggie window’ mode to keep your pets comfortable and safe in the summer, a rotating central infotainment screen and trick torque-vectoring for improved stability.

The company even claims that you will feel like a Formula 1 driver if you push the Ocean hard in the corners.

It’s these features that will help the Ocean stand out in an increasingly congested segment. Perhaps even to the extend that the model will stack up favourably to the technology-laden Tesla Model Y

While choosing a portrait or landscape orientation for your touchscreen is indeed a useful feature, the most significant seems to be the Solarsky roof, which could be a bit of a game-changer as well as a moneysaver. It’s a feature that has largely been ignored in a world flooded with semi-autonomous driving tech and touchpad-infested interiors.  

The Ocean features photovoltaic solar panels integrated into its panoramic glass roof, which Fisker claims can “generate free energy” – in ideal conditions, up to 1500 miles’ worth per year. 

“Ideal conditions” in Fisker’s eyes assumes a level of solar irradiation equal to 5.4 kWh/m2 a day, with steady commuter driving. Not quite what we get in the UK, then.

The firm has high expectations for the Ocean. It’s targeting 60,000 units in Europe within the next two or three years, for around 50% of the model’s overall sales volume.

Tesla’s success is already evident, with the Model Y ending up as the second best-selling car in the UK last year. In fact, when I spoke to some of the first Model Y buyers, a few noted its unique tech as one of its key selling points.

Despite Fisker founder and boss Henrik Fisker telling Autocar at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that he doesn’t see Tesla as a direct rival, there will be comparisons made. 

Performance is close: the top-rung Ocean is equipped with four-wheel drive and can complete a 0-62mph sprint as quickly as 3.9sec, while the Model Y is just a tad slower (until the Performance variant arrives on our shores, that is). 

The battle for the title of most innovative proposition is fast-paced, but it remains to be seen whether buyers will be swayed by solar roof panels or custom-effect horns. Whatever it is, we’re all here for it. 

Source: Autocar

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