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The Future is Bright

Released 25/07/2018

He is not as famous as Elon Musk, but Henrik Fisker is another American futurist with plenty of bright ideas for 21st Century motoring.

Try to imagine an autonomous electric shuttle that matches a Rolls-Royce for luxury and personalisation instead of mirroring a public toilet with a hose-out plastic interior.

It’s easy for Henrik Fisker, an automotive futurist and disrupter since he worked at BMW in the 1970s. He is working on it. Right now.

“You could make it your private living room, going to and from work every day. You wouldn’t have to worry about how long it would take,” Fisker tells motoring.com.au, speaking from his high-tech haven in California.

“You can put a bed in it. You can put a toilet in it. You can have a desk. Ideally, in 10 years this could be something you buy instead of a Rolls-Royce.”

Fisher is using his shuttle plan to power a range of other future projects that pivot on the worldwide switch to electric power and, eventually, widespread autonomous motoring. They include everything from a solid-state battery to a luxury electric limousine.

“I think people will still like to have own private car,” Fisker says.

Into Orbit

His first project for production is the Orbit, a short-haul shuttle produced by his company, Fisker Inc. It is aimed at airports, universities and other locations with a fixed route and plenty of passengers.

“It kinda came about because I started to look at some of these shuttle ideas that people had. I felt there was not really one that I liked. I didn’t like the look of them, and they were very boring.

“I thought if we have to get into these things, why not make them cool and exciting?”

He says the Orbit is much more than just a good idea, which is why he is already promoting its in-wheel drive technology from a company called Protean Electric.

“We saw there were a lot of opportunities in this space to improve things. It will just be part of what Fisker Inc. is doing. Right now, this not a shuttle we sell to people.

“We’ll have the first test vehicle running at a corporate campus in the US next year. We could go into limited product next year. We need to figure out what the real production volume can be. Nobody knows.

“It’s designed and engineered in a very simple fashion, so it can be made in both low and high volume. In the start we will start with private campuses, city airports. So very short set routes to keep things under control.”

Volume EVs soon

But the Orbit really is just the start. Fisker is gearing up for electric vehicles with a firm forecast, as well as the likely impact on Australia.

“I think in the future, when we go fully electric, vehicles will fundamentally change. I think it is already changing.

“I would predict that serious mass-market and large-scale adoption of electric cars will come between 2022 and 2025.

“I think a country like Australia will have to follow. There are people who love nature, and we need to cut pollution. You will have less and less choice of gasoline cars and more choice of electric cars,” says Fisker.

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