Innovative California-Designed SUV
Henrik Fisker, the head of the company that bears his name, has designed some of the most beautiful cars of the last half-century, including the legendary BMW Z8 roadster, Aston Martin DB9 and Vantage, and other high-end sports cars. He was also early to the electrification game, having launched the original Fisker Karma, an electric vehicle with range-extending gasoline engine, over a decade ago. Long known for his sleek, low-slung sports cars and sedans with very high prices, Fisker is at it again – but with a reasonably-priced electric SUV, the Ocean.
Headquartered in Huntington Beach, California, Fisker is a truly international company. Henrik Fisker is Danish, and the design and engineering team comes from all over the world. The Ocean is, however, built in Graz, Austria, under contract by Magna Steyr, the same company that builds the Jaguar i-Pace, Mercedes-Benz G-wagon, and other high-end vehicles. The Ocean’s place of birth means that it’s not currently eligible for the federal $7,500 tax credit unless you lease, but even without the credit, it has a very attractive price point for the features you get.
Fisker Ocean Trim Levels
Indeed, with a starting MSRP of $38,999, the entry-level Fisker Ocean Sport is one of the most attractively priced electric SUVs on the market. Packing an 80-kWh battery under the floor of its spacious cabin, the Sport has an EPA-estimated range of 231 miles and 282 hp driving the rear wheels. While the company is currently accepting orders for the Sport, it has yet to deliver any of the cheapest Ocean models.
One step up in price is the Fisker Ocean Ultra, has a much higher starting MSRP - $52,999. A lot of extra money buys you a lot of extra performance, and a lot of extra range. With standard all-wheel drive and two electric motors, power is up to 540 hp, and the official EPA range estimate is 350 miles, thanks to a larger 113-kWh battery under the floor.
At the top of the range is the Fisker Ocean Extreme, which ups horsepower to 564 thanks to upgraded motors, and adds an extra 10 miles of EPA-estimated range, totaling $360. You also get exterior and interior upgrades that give it a sportier, more high-end look.
Fisker Ocean Interior Design
We really like the interior design of the five-passenger Ocean. It is clean, simple, easy to understand, and features innovative materials and finishes. Indeed, there’s even an available fully-vegan interior that is completely finished in textiles and surfaces that use recycled fishing nets, recycled clothing, and recycled rubber. All five seats are comfortable, and there’s more space than you’d expect from a vehicle this size, thanks to the compact drivetrain and the battery living under the floor.
A number of features make the interior of the Ocean unique and interesting. Up front, there is the expected large touch screen between the seats that operates most of the infotainment controls, but when parked, it swivels into “Hollywood mode” to allow passengers to watch streaming content on an immersive wide screen while charging, for instance. On the road, the vertical-format screen makes for clearer navigation instructions and easier access to the heating and ventilation controls.
The rear seats, typically neglected in less-expensive family vehicles, are not only spacious and luxurious, but rear passengers have their own control panel that can activate “limo mode,” allowing them to operate the front passenger seat and create even more space to stretch out.
And a cool “California mode” reflects the Ocean’s home base. One touch on the control panel opens all of the Ocean’s windows and fully retracts its sliding roof to provide an almost open-air driving experience, the better to experience drives down the Pacific Coast Highway or to the beach. It’s like driving a convertible SUV.
Fisker Ocean: Technology
With 250-kW charging capability on a suitable Level 3 fast charger, the Fisker Ocean is one of the fastest-charging electric cars currently on the market. The company claims that the all-wheel drive models with the larger battery can charge from 10 to 80 percent in about half an hour, which is not bad considering its battery capacity.
Fisker has also announced that the Ocean will adopt the Tesla NACS charging standard, giving Ocean drivers access to over 10,000 Tesla Superchargers, as well as to an extensive and ever-growing network of other fast-charging options around the country.
You can also add as an option a unique “SolarSky” roof, which can charge the vehicle while parked outside. Fisker claims the solar roof can add an additional 2,000 miles of range per year under ideal conditions – and 1,500 under typical sunny skies in regions like California.
All Ocean models also come with vehicle-to-load technology as standard. This lets the Ocean recharge other EVs, send power to the electrical grid, and even act as a back-up source of power in an emergency. On-board 120-volt outlets make it easy to power electronic or lifestyle gear.
How Does the Fisker Ocean Drive?
There is also a full suite of modern driver assistance systems, which Fisker calls “Intelligent Pilot.” A number of cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and radar units continuously senses what’s going on around the car and activates systems necessary to prevent accidents. Warning functions are backed up by automatic emergency braking in extreme situations. For more convenience while driving on long trips, adaptive cruise control and steering assistance are also standard.
All versions of the Ocean are fast, as you would expect from an electric SUV. The entry-level Sport dashes from 0 to 60 mph in under 7 seconds, while the dual-motor all-wheel drive Ultra and Extreme models accomplish the same feat in just 3.7 seconds. Thanks to the substantial weight of the vehicle, the ride quality is plush, and you of course get the silent, smooth running that makes EVs so relaxing to drive.
The Fisker Ocean can also tow. The rear-wheel drive Sport model has a towing capacity of 2,040 pounds, which isn’t much, but all-wheel drive models up that to 4,000 pounds, which adds a lot of extra versatility and capability. Just don’t expect to hit your EPA range estimates with a trailer hooked up.
If you’re interested in off-roading, a new Force E package has joined the options list for 2024. Available for all-wheel drive Ocean models, it includes:
- 33-inch off-road tires on 20-inch wheels
- More ground clearance
- Specialized, off-road tuned dampers
- A roof rack and storage basket
- Front and rear skid plates and additional underbody protection
Fisker Ocean: The Verdict
While Fisker is a new brand, the company has strong backing, and the value proposition of the Ocean models is compelling, even without that $7,500 rebate. We like the clever and unique design touches inside and out, and the performance is impressive for the price.
Fisker says it has 65,000 pre-orders globally for the Ocean, and the first deliveries have already started in the U.S. Given the impressive stats, we suspect more than a few Americans will be compelled to give this new brand a shot at being their first electric SUV. Fisker already has announced a couple of exciting new models, including the entry-level Pear (slated to have a starting MSRP under $30,000) and the Alaska pickup.