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Is a Fisker Alaska electric pickup on the way? All signs point to yes

Henrik Fisker, the CEO of Fisker, accidentally tweeted a picture of Ann electric pickup truck, or did he?

Photo courtesy of Henrik Fisker, Twitter

Henrik Fisker may rue the day he "accidentally" tweeted, then quickly deleted, a teaser for what AutomotiveMap can only assume is a forthcoming electric truck. Or, he may not. The CEO of Fisker Inc. is known for his showmanship and the company is facing stiff competition for its new Ocean SUV in an electric vehicle market that is heating up.

What better way to stir up some publicity than "accidentally" tweeting an image of a possible forthcoming product?!

2021 Fisker Ocean SUV EV 2022 Fisker Ocean The Fisker Ocean SUV was recently revealed during CES in Las Vegas.Photo courtesy of Fisker Inc.

Fisker's tweet included a image of what appears to be a slightly different take on the design of the Fisker Ocean SUV with the word "Alaska" across the backside, and the words "Electric pickup truck!"

What the image didn't look like was a pickup truck. Well, at first glance.

Turn up the brightness on your screen and take a closer look to see the differentiation between the cab and bed, as well as beefy tires. Still, it doesn't have traditional pickup styling, if the rendering is to be believed.

It looks like the Fisker Alaska pickup truck would have dimensions more similar to the forthcoming Hyundai Santa Cruz, which the company considers to be more of utility truck than a typical pickup.

As a startup, it's likely that Fisker would be looking for ways to keep costs down while delivering a good product. Because of this, it's probable that any Fisker truck would be built on the same platform as the Fisker Ocean. That could mean that any pickup would be midsize rather than full-size.

In the next three years, the electric pickup truck market is looking to explode with promise. Ford has promised an electric F-150. General Motors is reviving the Hummer brand for an all-electric pickup truck under the GMC nameplate. Rivian, Tesla, and Nikola have all recently thrown their hats in the ring as well.

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The Nissan Ariya has wind glide over it in the testing tunnel.

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

Nissan is targeting a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.297 for the Ariya all-electric crossover. If it can make that number, it will be the company's most aerodynamic crossover to date. What does that mean? Let's take a closer look.

What is drag?

Simply put, drag is an aerodynamic force. It's mechanical in nature, so it is the result of the interaction of a solid body and a liquid. In the case of a car, this liquid is air. (Yes, air is a liquid.) It only occurs when one part of the equation (the solid body or the liquid) is in motion. If there is no motion, there is no drag.

Drag only occurs in the opposite direction of the object's movement. Think of a car cutting through the air as it drives down a north-south road. As the car heads north, the air it passes through is pushed south. The car is in motion; there is drag.

2022 Nissan Ariya

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

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What is coefficient of drag?

The coefficient of drag, also called a drag coefficient, is a number that aerodynamics professions (aerodynamicists) use to determine the shape, inclination, and flow conditions on a vehicle's drag. The shape of an object (bullet vs. square vs prism, etc.) has a large impact on the amount of drag created by airflow surrounding a vehicle. Objects with narrower front ends tend to have a lower coefficient.

Scientists and vehicle designers want to keep air moving around the car for maximum efficiency. The inclination of the airflow to either move in a smooth, connected pattern, or to be broken up with air sitting, stalling in one particular part of the vehicle, lessening airflow and making the vehicle less aerodynamic.

A vehicle's Cd is determined by plugging various measurements into an equation. Cd is equal to drag (D) divided by the quantity of density (r) multiplied by half the velocity (V) squared multiple by the reference area (A). As an equation, it looks like this: Cd = D / (A * .5 * r * V^2).

The smaller the Cd, the more aerodynamic a vehicle is.

2022 Nissan Ariya

The Nissan Ariya employs aerodynamic wheel design, made to help it cut though the air with greater ease.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

What is the coefficient of drag of the Nissan Ariya?

"With the growing shift towards electric mobility, aerodynamic testing is becoming increasingly important. The aerodynamics of electric vehicles are directly linked to how efficiently the vehicle moves – less drag and better stability allows the customer to drive longer distances before having to recharge," said Sarwar Ahmed, Aerodynamics and Aeroacoustics Engineer at Nissan Technical Centre Europe.

Nissan is targeting a 0.297 coefficient of drag for the Ariya. How will it achieve that number? By utilizing precisely shaped body lines and strategically placed air ducts, among other components. There's a bonus to better aerodynamics when it comes to EVs.

"Following official homologation of the Nissan Ariya later this year, we anticipate the range to improve compared to the 310 mile figure shared in 2020 during the World Premiere. This will give drivers more efficiency and confidence to go even further on a single charge," said Marco Fioravanti, VP Product Planning, Nissan Europe.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to other Nissans?

The newest Nissans, the Kicks, Pathfinder, and Frontier, don't have their Cd publicly available yet, but other models have their results. The targeted 0.297 Cd in the Ariya is less than that in the 2021 Armada, Murano, and Rogue. But, it's higher than the Nissan Leaf.

The fact that it's higher than the Leaf is not surprising. Shorter cars tend to be more aerodynamic because they sit lower to the ground and have a smaller profile. That also explains why Nissan's largest and boxiest SUV, the Armada, has the highest number on the list.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to numbers from other EVs?

The Nissan Ariya's coefficient of drag is higher than that of most other electric cars, crossovers, and SUVs sold in the U.S. Here's where the others measure up:

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Rivian vehicles are currently undergoing winter weather testing.

Photo composite by AutomotiveMap, screen image courtesy of Twitter/@RJScaringe

On Sunday night, while you were on the couch missing football and pretending not to watch HGTV reruns of "House Hunters", Rivian's RJ Scaringe was out working with the engineering team that's developing the company's R1T and R1S all-electric vehicles. He posted about it on Twitter.

Scaringe, who is pretty open about the product development process on Twitter, described what they were doing saying that he was working on "developing traction control for some of our more fun driving modes". The one in particular that was shown in the video is Drift mode.

No internal combustion truck or SUV features a specific Drift mode straight off the line from the company. A combination of button switches and screen selections can get you something similar in many vehicles, namely the ones that let you disengage traction control.

Tesla's Track Mode V2 allows owners to adjust their vehicle's drive dynamics in a similar way.

While driving, Scaringe shows off the truck's fully-digital driver information display, which shows that the truck is traveling around 30 mph as it makes its way across the snow-covered track. The navigation screen is also on display showcasing a vivid picture of what the area looks like in more hospital temperatures.

The footage is shown as one of Rivian's electric utility vehicle rivals, the GMC Hummer EV has begun promoting its testing regimen in the snow.

Earlier in the day, Rivian's corporate Twitter account showed footage of the snow testing alongside other captured moments of the R1T and R1S including an intriguing water fording test and mountain climbing.

The company has been continuously giving updates regarding its development progress, even teasing the fact that its truck will be capable of a tank turn.

Rivian has released the footage as the company takes aim at its June 2021 scheduled deliveries start date. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated factors, the comany was unable to keep its original targeted delivery date for the first Rivian vehciles - late 2020.

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