Fisker‘s Orbit is out of this world – in a bad way

Thoughts on Apple Car, Part 127

Henrik Fisker was the original Tesla Killer, and Elon Musk’s arch rival in the early years of the company’s success. Pursuing a similar strategy to Tesla’s, Fisker started out with an electric sports car – the Fisker Karma.

You haven’t heard of it because it never took off.

But Fisker kept going, and added concept after concept. The latest is called Orbit. It’s the realization that maybe there’s something else than sports cars in the electric world – especially when it becomes an autonomous world.

The Orbit is designed as a taxi/bus hybrid.

Which makes some sense from the outside, because first of all it’s a use case that will become more ubiquitous in the urban future, and second because a hybrid may be a good way of combining fixed routes and individual ones. Public and private transport in one.

The concept follows that thought consequently with its display of the next stop on the route. That’s okay, but ignores reality to an extent that hailing buses or taxis is more a matter of looking at your smartphone than at what’s going on in the actual street.

Where Orbit misses the most important reality check, though, is inside.

The interior design is a futuristic wet dream of people who think what’s progressive should also look, work and feel as progressive as it can.

In reality, successful pioneers like Tesla, Toyota, Google or Apple have been wise to make the new and advanced so familiar and friendly, that people would accept it with open arms. The Prius did not feature weird exterior color lines in blue like other manufacturers highlighted their „electrified“ cars – no, it simply was a normal car that made it easy to adopt its new engine system. Same is true for Google and its first self driving cars, for iPhone, and Tesla.

Back to the Orbit, it missed all those criteria in a spectacular way.

Everything you would try to avoid as a designer keen to create mainstream acceptance has been done to the interior of the Orbit.

Weirdly shaped poles.

Blue LEDs with no apparent function.

Seats that make you wonder how to sit on them.

All those features contribute to a confusing interior that makes me forget what the whole concept is actually about. It culminates in the fact that the concept rendering above even shows the human being that’s ought to ride with the Orbit, is just a rendering of yet another string of aluminum poles.

Fisker and his Orbit took it too far with this extragalactic concept. Which is sad because they surely have enough design and engineering talent to make a significant contribution to our future mobility.

But not like that.

Also, I encourage you to revisit my first Fisker piece, quoting Henrik about the changing interior: