Electric car startup Fisker claims to have made a breakthrough in battery technology so significant, that within five years its cars will travel for 500 miles and take just one minute to recharge.
Aiming for a 2023 release date, Fisker is now filing patents related to a new type of solid-state battery. These batteries, the company claims, will offer 2.5 times the energy density of today's lithium-ion batteries, as used by all other electric car makers like Tesla and BMW.
Not only will the new batteries provide greater range and dramatically improved charging times over lithium-ion, California-based Fisker also says they have the potential to cost just a third of the projected price of lithium batteries. The company says the electrodes of its new batteries could have 25 times more surface area than those of lithium batteries used today.
Fisker claims to be addressing known problems associated with solid-state batteries, like reduced performance in cold temperatures, high manufacturing cost, and difficulty in producing them on the scale required by a car manufacturer - even one as small as Fisker.
Fisker's first new car, the Emotion, will launch at CES in January, 2018Fisker
Speaking to Green Car Congress, Dr. Fabio Albano, who is vice president of battery systems at Fisker, said: "This breakthrough marks the beginning of a new era in solid-state materials and manufacturing technologies...We are excited to build on this foundation and move the needle in energy storage."
These are bold claims, especially as they come from a car manufacturer with a troubled past. Owned by Henrik Fisker, the company produced a plug-in electric hybrid sports car called the Karma in 2011. But it sold poorly, causing the US government to freeze a $200m loan due to Fisker not reaching promised milestones. Then, several customer cars set fire and were destroyed.
Fisker's situation then went from bad to worse, as a Karma broke down just as Consumer Reports began testing it, then a shipment of 330 Karmas was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and Tesla successfully sued it for $1.1m. Fisker disappeared in 2012, having sold just 2,500 cars.
Now - and this is where it gets confusing - Henrik Fisker has a new company, called Fisker, which plans to produce an electric sports car called the Emotion, pictured above and to be launched at CES in January. It will cost from $130,000, have a claimed 400-mile range and reservations can be placed now. Meanwhile, a new company called Karma is working on a new version of the original Fisker Karma, called the Revero, but the two companies - Fisker and Karma - are not related.