Back in 2017, Fisker was touting plans for solid-state battery technology that could enable a range of 500 miles and a charging time of just one minute for electric vehicles.
Fast forward to today and Fisker CEO and founder Henrik Fisker has revealed that his company has abandoned those plans.
“It’s the kind of technology where, when you feel like you’re 90% there, you’re almost there, until you realize the last 10% is much more difficult than the first 90,” he told The Verge in an interview published last week. “So we have completely dropped solid-state batteries at this point in time because we just don’t see it materializing.”
Henrik Fisker and the Fisker Ocean
Fisker was developing the batteries in-house and had hired people from leading battery startups such as Sakti3 and QuantumScape. The latter is the Volkswagen Group-backed battery startup that aims to commercialize solid-state batteries by 2025. It turns out Fisker and QuantumScape were involved in a lawsuit but the two companies settled out of court in 2020, according to The Verge.
In addition to VW Group, Toyota has promised to deliver EVs with solid-state batteries.
As the name suggests, solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte instead of the liquids or gels that most EV batteries use today. They are seen as the next major step in performance as they can deliver greater range and safety over current liquid-type batteries like lithium-ion units. But while they are already used in some small devices, building them on the scale that automotive production requires isn’t possible yet. The batteries also suffer from longevity and cold-weather issues with current technology.
In his interview with The Verge, Fisker said he estimated the technology still being at least seven years out from becoming viable for electric cars. That would put its release at around 2027/2028.
Fisker had planned to introduce its solid-state battery in the EMotion super sedan which was previewed as a concept in 2018. The company still plans to launch the EMotion but will focus on more affordable models first.
Fisker's first model is the Ocean SUV which is being developed with Austria's Magna Steyr and due to start production at a Magna Steyr plant in late 2022. It is expected to arrive with an 80-kilowatt-hour battery offering a range of 300 miles. Fisker last week revealed that it is also developing a vehicle with Taiwan's Foxconn, due in 2023. Fisker hasn't detailed the type or supplier of the batteries these initial models will use.