LORDSTOWN, Ohio – By the close of business Feb. 16, Fisker Inc. had secured more than 1,000 reservations for a vehicle that the public has not yet seen, nor is likely to see until late 2023.
So, why did Fisker open reservations Feb. 15 for its new electric vehicle – the Pear, an EV slated for production in Lordstown – before it released a single concept image or rendering?
The California-based EV automaker is nearing deals with large global rental companies interested in the Pear and the Fisker Ocean, a sport-utility EV that is scheduled for production in November, CEO Henrik Fisker told analysts during a conference call Feb. 16.
At the same time, Fisker said the company had fielded requests for reservations last year when the Pear was first announced.
“We have quite a lot of private people who asked for reservations last year,” Fisker said of the Pear, an acronym for Personal Electric Automotive Revolution.
Global rental companies could quickly scoop up a large chunk of inventory once the Pear rolls off the line, so the company decided to open reservations early based on the demand from consumers who expressed interest last year, the CEO said.
The EV startup reported it has more than 1,000 reservations for the Pear, and 31,000 for the Ocean.
Fisker plans to manufacture the Pear at Lordstown Motors Corp.’s 6.2 million-square-foot plant – a massive assembly facility formerly owned by General Motors. Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn has entered into an agreement to purchase the plant from Lordstown Motors for $230 million, and Foxconn would act as the contract manufacturer for Fisker.
Fisker said one advantage is that both Foxconn and Fisker have a working relationship with Chinese lithium-ion battery manufacturer CATL. In November, Fisker signed an agreement for the company to supply its EV batteries, while Foxconn is using CATL for its open-source platform.
Fisker anticipates it could produce 250,000 Pears per year at Lordstown once manufacturing begins in earnest. Consumers can reserve the Fisker Pear for $250 for the first reservation and $100 for the second reservation.
“Having already received over 1,000 reservations, I think the demand of 250,000 is easily going to be achieved,” Fisker said of the vehicle. “Obviously, the Ohio factory gives us higher potential than that,” he told analysts.
Fisker announced Feb. 15 that deliveries of the Pear would begin in 2024, though no exact production timeline was given.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13, said the news is encouraging for the Mahoning Valley and its workforce.
“I’ve been fighting for the Mahoning Valley to be the nation’s hub of electric vehicle production for years,” Ryan said in a statement. “With Fisker’s announcement that the Pear will be ready for delivery in 2024, we are another step closer to making that a reality,” he said.
“With this partnership, we’re creating good-paying union jobs for Ohio workers, positioning the United States to lead the world in production of electric vehicles and batteries, and ensuring that movement happens right here in Voltage Valley,” he added.
Indeed, Fisker anticipates global demand in both the rental and consumer markets to be so strong that volume of the Pear could surpass one million units a year sometime after 2025, the CEO told analysts.
That would mean using multiple factories over multiple continents, he said.
As for keeping the vehicle under wraps, Fisker said he is hesitant to divulge any specifics about the Pear until later in 2023.
“This vehicle is so different in how it looks, how it’s going to function,” he said. “Some of the features, some of the ways how you store things – it’s never been seen before.”
“That’s not something we want to give away to the competition anytime soon, quite frankly,” Fisker said. “This is so radical, this vehicle. The Pear looks nothing like the Ocean, nothing like any vehicle in the world.”
Fisker’s strategy is to command market share in the affordable EV space, that is, electric vehicles priced below $50,000. The Pear, for example, is a five-passenger vehicle priced at $29,900 and aimed directly at consumers in that buying range. “Over the next two years, this market share will be up for grabs,” Fisker said.
The Pear’s exterior design is finished, he noted, while two other vehicles are also in the pipeline. “We are well ahead of the curve,” he said.