EV startup Fisker sets moonshot goal of making a climate-neutral EV by 2027

Electric vehicle startup Fisker Inc. has set a moonshot goal of creating its first climate-neutral car by 2027.

Fisker has yet to bring a vehicle to market — climate neutral or not — making this an ambitious target. The all-electric Fisker Ocean SUV, which is still on track to go into production in November 2022, will not be climate neutral, according to CEO Henrik Fisker, who laid out the target as part of a broader update Tuesday to investors. Instead, this will be another yet to be announced vehicle.

Henrik Fisker, a serial entrepreneur who rose to fame as the designer behind iconic vehicles like the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, the production launch design of the Aston Martin DB9 and the BMW Z8 roadster, also provided a few other updates during the investor call. He said the Ocean will have an anticipated range of up to 350 miles, beyond the previously estimated 300 miles. The company has received more than 14,000 reservations for the Ocean as of March, according to an annual report distributed to shareholders.

Fisker, which went public via a merger with special purpose acquisition company Apollo Global Management Inc. in October at a valuation of $2.9 billion, aims to have four vehicles to market by 2025. One of those, Fisker hinted at Tuesday, could be a luxury vehicle which he called the “UFO” that will use the company’s FM29 platform architecture.

Fisker’s carbon-neutral plan

Other companies across industries have made promises to hit that carbon-neutral goal before. Henrik Fisker emphasized to investors that the company will not purchase carbon offsets to accomplish that climate-neutrality goal. Carbon offsets are credits that companies can purchase to “claim” a reduction in CO2 toward their project or product. Instead, Fisker said they will work with suppliers to develop climate-neutral materials and manufacturing processes.

The company lays out some of its proposed strategies on its website, where it splits the vehicle lifecycle into five phases: upstream sourcing, manufacturing and assembly, logistics, the use phase and end-of-life. For each phase, the company lists a few bullet points, such as localizing manufacturing. Even with these plans, achieving climate neutrality in vehicle production will be extremely difficult. Vehicles use materials and components such as steel that are notoriously hard to decarbonize, for example.

Fisker said that the company’s manufacturing partners have climate-neutral goals of their own, which is true for automotive contract manufacturer Magna Steyr. The company inked a deal with Fisker to exclusively manufacturer the Fisker Ocean in Europe. Magna set a target of climate neutrality for its European operations by 2025 and globally by 2030. Foxconn, Fisker’s other major partner for its second, lower-price vehicle dubbed Project PEAR, also has a net-zero emissions goal, but it is set for the middle of the century.

Moonshot goals such as this one could help push innovation in manufacturing processes and encourage other automakers and suppliers to reach for the same targets. Other automakers such as Polestar and Porsche have all made carbon-neutral promises with deadlines of 2030, while Mercedes has said it will hit that target in 2039.

Fisker does seem to have a plan for how it might be able to recycle or reuse some of its EV batteries once they’re no longer useful in the vehicle. The company plans to extend its leasing program across the entire estimated 15-year lifespan of the vehicle, which would theoretically ensure that Fisker will be in possession of a number of its vehicles when they reach end-of-life.

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