Our special correspondent Nicole Wakelin had the opportunity to take a prototype version of the Ocean out for a drive in Austria, to see if it has what it takes to make the revived Fisker brand a success. According to Henrik, the cars we drove were about 85% production ready, so hopefully our first taste is close to what you can expect if you choose to buy one later this year.
Fisker Ocean styling
The Ocean is an electric SUV built on a purpose made platform developed by Fisker, sizing up at around 4.7 metres - roughly the same size as the Volkswagen ID.4 or Skoda Enyaq iV.
Outside, it’s sleek and attractive with plenty of curves that give it a bit of sporty appeal. It has a wide low stance that should make it it adept at handling corners and downright fun on twisty roads. Given that boss Fisker has been personally responsible for the looks of the BMW Z8 and Aston Martin DB9, it comes as no surprise that the Ocean is a looker - at least in our eyes.
While clearly recognisable as a family-sized SUV, a host of clever details, such as the illuminated OCEAN badge on the front grille, ultra-shallow lights and chunky three-spoke alloy wheels give the car a unique look in a sea of increasingly homogeneous premium electric SUVs. Sadly, the glowing badge at the front is unlikely to be a feature on UK cars thanks to legislation that forbids it. Killjoys.
Fisker Ocean tech and features
The Ocean isn't a car short on party pieces, and certainly takes a few tips from Tesla's handbook when it comes to eye-catching features.
There’s an optional full-length solar panel roof, called SolarSky roof. This can deliver up to 1,500 miles of additional driving range per year and as much as 2,000 miles if you live in a sunnier climate. You’ll literally be driving on sunshine if the weather cooperates, and you’ll save money by not having to charge quite so often.
And If sunshine is really your thing, there’s the car's California Mode. This simultaneously opens all the windows - even the rear one as well as the three-quarter 'doggie' windows at the rear. The idea is on warm days, you can have the whole cabin open to the pleasant weather, or hang a surfboard out of the rear boot safely.
Fisker's had a go at revolutionising infotainment too - no pun intended. The central infotainment display measures up at 17.1-inches, and can rotate from portrait (useful for maps while driving) to a landscape orientation called 'Hollywood Mode', on which you can watch films and TV while the car recharges. The system doesn't feature Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration yet though.
Fisker Ocean Interior and practicality
The Ocean has been designed with a focus on sustainability, so it uses plenty of recycled materials, including panels made from plastic water bottles, throughout the interior. You won’t find any leather in the Ocean, but that doesn’t detract from its premium look and feel. It's a clean, uncluttered environment that’s open and airy. Rather than being overdone with an unnecessary number of flashy trims, it a minimalist and reserved interior.
The speakers are concealed behind fabric rather than using traditional speaker covers. The air vents are controlled from within the infotainment system rather requiring buttons or dials on the dashboard - something not everyone's a fan of.
Storage has been carefully considered. There’s no glovebox, but there are small storage bins tucked beneath the front seat. The space where the glovebox is usually found instead holds what Fisker calls the Taco Tray. This little tray deploys from the dashboard and serves as a spot to hold ideally tacos, or whatever kind of food you decide to stop and have during your lunch break. There’s even a second 'taco tray' that folds out from within the centre console, so the driver has one too.
In the back there’s plenty of leg and headroom and rear passengers have their own touchscreens to control the climate and infotainment. Disappointingly though, there’s no frunk, so you’ll need to store your grubby charging cables in the boot. Boss Henrik Fisker told electrifying.com that the firm’s research showed that very few electric car owners actually use a frunk, so they saved the cost of development and testing for hinges and seals by not bothering with one.
A Fisker Ocean seven-seater is, according boss Henrik Fisker, in the pipeline, but not imminent. While the floor is capable of accommodating a third row of chairs, a seven-seater is unlikely to be offered until 2024 at the earliest. Standard boot space in the five-seat version of 566 litres is impressive.
Fisker Ocean battery, range and charging
Fisker has yet to confirmed the exact capacities of the two battery packs the Ocean will be offered with, but Electrifying.com expects the entry-level pack to be around 70kWh in size with the larger battery to be around 100kWh.
To reduce costs, Fisker will equip the front-wheel drive model with a pack that uses lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) cell chemistry supplied by CATL. According to Fisker, the entry level model will have a range of around 275 miles. LFP batteries are cheaper to produce and contain no cobalt, but have less energy density. That means the range of LFP batteries is usually less than a traditional Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) battery packs. Tesla has been using LFP batteries in its lower-spec Model 3 variants for more than a year, so the technology is tried and tested.
Buyers wanting more range will be able to opt for a larger NMC pack. This will deliver power to the road via dual motors and all-wheel drive, and Fisker says the European spec cars will have an official combined range of up to 440 miles on a single charge. That's impressive, making it second only to the slippery saloon-shaped Mercedes EQS in the UK currently.
Although the Ocean will have a 400 volt electrical system rather than 800 volt system as fitted to the Kia EV6, Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Porsche Taycan, Fisker claims that both battery options will be able to DC fast charge at speeds of up to 250kW. This will put it on a par with Tesla, which offers a similar speed from a 400 volt system. Should this be the case, the Ocean will be able to add around 100 miles range in under eight minutes and an 80% charge in under 30 minutes.
The Fisker Ocean Sport will have an expected 0-62 mph time of 7.1 seconds with a single motor producing 275bhp. The Ocean Ultra will have an estimated 0-62 mph time of 4.1 seconds, with an estimated output of 533bhp from a dual motor setup. The range-topping Ocean Extreme and Fisker Ocean One will have an estimated 0-62 mph time of 3.8 seconds, an estimated output of 543bhp.
Drive modes include 'Earth', which is all about maximising driving range, as well as a 'Fun' mode for a balance of performance, range and comfort, and and a 'Hyper' mode which unlocks everything the electric motors have got.
Fisker Ocean performance and driving
The launch edition Ocean One we drove, boasting a 543bhp dual-motor electric drivetrain, delivered good control with smooth power delivery that ramped up quickly. If you choose to sink the accelerator into the firewall, get ready for impressive acceleration and typical, instant electric torque with the feeling of being squished back in your seat.
This is a responsive SUV that blends its strong power with a smooth, well-mannered ride. Whether driving around town or heading out for a longer adventure, it’s quiet and comfortable for driver and passengers alike. And with a range of up to 391 miles, you get where you’re going quickly without the need for an overabundance of stops to charge, too. It combines really solid real world range with great performance.
Fisker Ocean pricing and availability
The Fisker Ocean will be built by Magna-Steyr at a carbon-neutral factory in Graz, Austria and will be priced from £34,990 for the front-wheel-drive 275bhp car with the smallest battery. That would put the Ocean in direct price competition with other SUVs such as the smaller battery versions of the Volkswagen ID.4, ŠKODA Enyaq and the Hyundai IONIQ 5.
The higher capacity, all-wheel drive Ocean models will be priced from £48,800 in the UK, with the range-topping Extreme model set to be £59,900 on the road.
“The U.K. is one of our first nine launch markets, so we are prioritising development of right-hand drive, with deliveries planned for the summer,” Henrik told Electrifying.com. That should hopefully remove some uncertainty over delivery times.
Fisker has yet to announce plans for its UK presence, but it is likely to follow the Tesla model of having online sales and a small number of sales and service ‘Fisker Experience’ centres around the UK. The car will also be available through subscription service Onto.
In what has become a saturated marketplace full of choice, the Fisker Ocean does make a great case for itself as an alternative choice. The starting price is competitive, the design is appealing with plenty of unique and quirky details along with a comfortable, roomy interior. The materials are sustainable, so you can feel good about your purchase and it's a great performer, too, with solid range and performance. It could be one of the best surprises of 2023.