Transportation

The Fisker Ronin Could Be The Coolest EV Yet


Henrik Fisker is a legendary car designer, with the credit for some of the most beautiful vehicles ever including the BMW Z8, Aston Martin DB9 and Aston Martin V8 Vantage. His Karma design is stunning, although its production had difficulties and Fisker is no longer involved with the current version. But if the Karma brought concept-car looks from dreams to production reality, the recently teased Ronin is on another level. It could be the coolest EV yet.

One thing woefully lacking in the EV world so far is a good sports convertible. Sure, the original Tesla Roadster was a soft top, and the forthcoming new Roadster will be too. But there have been precious few alternatives in between. There are cabrio versions of the electric Fiat 500 and Smart EQ fortwo, but neither is a sportscar. There have also been classic convertibles that have been switched to electric. But Fisker’s Ronin is a modern electric sports convertible built from the ground up, and there’s more to it as well.

The teased design images from Fisker’s Instagram account show that the Ronin is not just a convertible, but it has four seats as well. How big those rear seats are isn’t specified, but they don’t look huge. It appears to be more like a 2+2, although the Ronin is apparently a four-door car, so accessing those rear seats won’t be as difficult as a two-door vehicle. You can see some of the DNA of the Aston Martin convertibles in the Ronin, too. These are also 2+2 designs, albeit two-door. In fact, four-door convertibles are extremely rare even in the internal combustion world. The Lincoln Continental is about the only one that springs to mind.

Although the four-door, four-seat format may make the Ronin sound like a GT cruiser, the performance specifications imply Fisker is trying to track Tesla’s new Roadster quite closely. The target range is a similar 600 miles, and target sprint to 60mph is around two seconds (Tesla is aiming for 1.9 seconds). The price of $200,000 is what is expected for the base Tesla Roadster as well. There is no word on top speed, though.

Convertibles generally have a problem with chassis rigidity compared to hard tops, which usually entails extra strengthening that increases weight. With the added difficulty of four seats and four doors, the Ronin will need some solid engineering to maintain the sporty driving dynamics of hard top electric supercars. But if it achieves the performance specification Fisker is aiming for it and solves the rigidity problem enough to provide compelling driving dynamics, this could be the EV to dream of. Henrik Fisker’s design history and the teaser images imply strong aesthetics.

Of course, the Ronin is still at the design stage, so even further from reality than the new Tesla Roadster. Fisker did say “production was planned for 2024” on Instagram, but the Roadster should beat that. Fisker also has some other vehicles on the roadmap to get out first. The Fisker Ocean SUV is just wending its way towards full production, and Fisker also has a partnership with Foxconn to produce the forthcoming PEAR vehicle. This will be the other end of the scale to the Ronin, with a target price of $29,900. That is due to start production in the Foxconn Ohio plant in 2024 with a promised output of at least 250,000 units a year.

Automotive history is littered with noble attempts to challenge the established players. Many fail, and Fisker’s Karma did due to quality issues with its sole battery supplier. The Ronin is an extremely audacious design for a manufacturer that hasn’t shipped a production vehicle yet. But Henrik Fisker has a track record of great cars, and the Foxconn tie-in should provide some confidence, given that this company is a major supplier for Apple. The Ronin could be the dream EV for road trips through California or across the French Riviera. I really hope it sees the light of day.



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