In addition to developing the solid-state batteries that will power its vehicles and building a $40,000 Fisker, the company is working on a fully autonomous electric shuttle that it believes can help provide a premium transition solution for campuses around the world.
Fisker first took the wraps off of the Orbit shuttle concept in late 2017 with the promise of delivering a fully autonomous, electric shuttle with an interior that carried Fisker’s premium design aesthetic inside. Henrik shared that, “The shuttle, when you see it en route, it’s still a pretty impactful and exciting design. It doesn’t have to look like a fridge on wheels just because it’s not a privately owned car.”
The design of the vehicle is such that it maximizes the interior space, which gives the team at Fisker more options for design. “We’ve moved the electric motors out of the interior space,” Henrik related. As a fully autonomous shuttle, there’s also no driver, which frees up even more space inside the vehicle.
On the outside, the Orbit looks like an shuttle that would be more at home in one of the Back to the Future movies. The design speaks to a much more subtle shift in the business model at Fisker, a shift from an automotive company to a technology company that builds end-to-end e-mobility solutions.
Functionally, the team at Fisker is looking at the Orbit as a single transportation unit that they are designing to be flexible enough to scale up as needed. “If you suddenly need a big bus, you just couple four of these vehicles together and suddenly you’ve got the interior space of a big bus,” Fisker shared. “You may need that during rush hour but when you don’t need it, suddenly these four vehicles depart out on different routes and they can be much more targeted to your specific need.”
Fisker believes the future of mobility will be comprised of connected, autonomous, shared electric vehicles and is looking to carve out a space on the premium end of that new transportation continuum for Fisker’s products. “I still think people would be willing to pay a little more for a higher quality experience,” and that’s what he sees as the sweet spot.