NEW YORK –reveals a prototype of the all-new Atlantic here on the eve of the media opening of the New York International Auto show, the struggling start-up’s second model earmarked for series production.
The midsize 4-door sedan is aimed at young families who want a practical high-end vehicle with an electric powertrain, but don’t want the range anxiety of an all-electric car.
Roughly the size of the Audi A5 Sportback – though with increased interior space and a conventional trunk – the prototype features two prominent lines defining its profile, with a sleek roof and hidden rear door handles lending a coupe-like aesthetic.
The intricate headlamps feature a new technologylikens to ice crystals, while thin light-emitting-diode taillamps shaped like boomerangs contour the rear fender.
A long wheelbase and short overhangs are credited with improving cabin space, while a spider-web-like cross-brace beneath the car’s glass roof is claimed to offer enhanced headroom. Inside, the Atlantic is swathed in leather and technical materials, such as aluminum.
Like the Karma before it, the design will remain unchanged for production.
“We don’t do concept cars,” says Henrik Fisker, co-founder, executive chairman and design director. “We don’t show cars without delivering.”
Judging from the side markers, door mirrors and low-mounted rear brake lamps, the prototype appears production-ready.
“At this point, the car is 90% complete,” Henrik Fisker confirms. “We are testing prototypes in California and we will begin tooling the Wilmington (DE) plant.”
However, Fisker CEO Tom LaSorda tells The Wall Street Journal in an April 3 story the Atlantic might not be built in the formerplant. Fisker had been counting on a now-frozen loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to finance the tooling for the car at Wilmington.
LaSorda told the Journal Fisker now is actively looking for new strategic partners, and if a foreign investor emerges to replace the U.S. financing, the car could be built overseas.
Though Henrik Fisker remains tightlipped about the exact specifications of the Atlantic, he does say the vehicle will be offered in both rear- and 4-wheel-drive configurations.
It will be propelled by the auto maker’s second-generation ‘EVER’ (Electric Vehicle Extended Range) powertrain, which mates a battery pack with a small gasoline engine – in this case a 2.0L turbocharged unit sourced from.
The new model will be priced to compete with the Audi A5 and upper-end3-Series models.
"We plan to be competitive in the segment while offering a unique product. Performance and fuel economy will be better than any other car at this price point,” Henrik Fisker says.
The Atlantic platform also will spawn new vehicles on the same architecture. According to Vice President Joe Biden – who spilled the beans at the inauguration of the Wilmington plant in 2009 – a coupe and cross/utility will be built alongside the Atlantic.
Henrik Fisker declines to comment on the Atlantic’s launch date and does not elaborate on projected sales targets, but he does say he is planning full series production of “many” vehicles.
“We don't want to remain a small-volume, niche car maker,” he says. “Our goal is to become a large-scale manufacturer and sell cars worldwide.”
To that end, Fisker already has set up 46 dealerships in North America (43 in the U.S. and three in Canada) and 38 in Europe.
Dealerships also will be opened in the Middle East in the year’s third quarter and the company is in talks with China Grand Auto, a China-based distributor, to sell cars in 25 of its 380 dealerships across that country by the end of the year.
Fisker's plans still include the Sunset convertible, revealed at the 2009 auto show here and expected in 2013, and the Surf wagon unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt show. Both will be built on the Karma platform.