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Fisker wants to make sure Tesla’s Model Y isn’t in a class of one when it lands

Fisker wants to ensure the Tesla Model Y doesn’t enjoy a monopoly in the electric crossover segment when it enters production in 2021. The company is developing a rival model it plans to sell for under $40,000, putting the unnamed vehicle in the same price range as its Tesla-badged nemesis, which starts at $39,000. Fisker’s model will arrive during the second half of 2021 as one of three planned electric cars from the company.

Fisker has released a series of teaser images to preview the model, and it gave the world its first full look at its upcoming EV in July 2019. The design isn’t as extravagant as Fisker’s EMotion luxury sedan, which was first previewed as a concept car in 2016 and has yet to go into production. One quirk is the prominently placed radar unit that sits behind glass front and center. Automakers usually try to hide this hardware, but Fisker wanted to show it off.

Turn signals integrated into the d-pillars remind us of the semaphores found on many classic cars. Posting on his official Facebook page, designer and company founder Henrik Fisker promised this layout provides extra safety when changing lanes. We haven’t seen the interior yet, but the company promises lots of space, recycled materials, and plenty of tech, including a large head-up display.

The Fisker crossover will feature standard all-wheel drive, with one electric motor powering each axle. Fisker hinted at an 80-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack affording around 300 miles of range, but it’s keeping other details under wraps for now. Note that its engineering department is also developing solid-state batteries as an alternative to lithium-ion chemistry, but those batteries will be reserved for the costlier EMotion. Fisker has said the EMotion, which is expected to sell for over $100,000, will have a range of more than 500 miles.

Fisker Inc. is the second car company started by Henrik Fisker. A prolific automotive designer whose credits include the BMW Z8 and Aston Martin DB9, He started out with a coachbuilding operation that put new bodywork on existing cars. That morphed into Fisker Automotive, which launched the curvaceous Karma plug-in hybrid luxury sedan in 2012. But then things went sideways.

The Karma was initially touted as a rival to the Tesla Model S, but only about 2,000 were built before Fisker Automotive went bankrupt (Henrik Fisker left the company prior to that). The remains of the company were bought by Chinese auto parts conglomerate Wanxiang in 2014, and reconstituted as Karma Automotive. The Fisker Karma eventually returned to production as the Karma Revero.

Meanwhile, Henrik Fisker joined VLF, helping to market a V8-engined version of the Fisker Karma called the Destino, and designing a Dodge Viper-based sports car called the Force 1. He then circled back to more eco-friendly cars by founding Fisker, Inc.

Fisker will introduce the crossover in December 2019, and deliveries will begin about 18 months later. The company aims to build the vehicle in the United States, and is scouting factory locations in 11 states. Those states are: California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Fisker has appointed Don Jackson — a former president of manufacturing at Volkswagen of America and senior vice president of quality and production at Toyota — as its senior adviser of manufacturing.

Like Tesla, Fisker also plans to sell cars directly to customers, rather than through a dealer network. That has caused headaches for Tesla, while startups like Faraday Future and Lucid Motors have yet to even deliver any cars to customers.

The Model Y won’t be Fisker’s only competition. It will also need to fend off competition from the production version of the Q4 E-Tron concept that Audi unveiled during the 2019 Geneva Auto Show, among other electric soft-roaders priced in the $40,000 range.

Updated July 26, 2019: Added latest teaser image.

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