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Fisker reveals all-electric Alaska pickup, 3 other EV prototypes on August 4, 2023 at 12:21 am

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Fisker, the automotive startup-turned publicly traded company founded by famed automotive designer Henrik Fisker, revealed Thursday night a dizzying array of EV prototypes from a beefy pickup truck with an expandable bed, and grand tourer sports car with up to 600 miles of range to a souped-up, off-road version of its Ocean SUV and the mysterious PEAR vehicle that it plans to build with Foxconn.

The showcase, which was part of an event in Huntington Beach, California for investors and media, was the first time that Fisker has shown off all of its future vehicles in prototype form and laid out its expansive and ambitious future product plan. And Fisker is taking reservations for all of them.

“I think the traditional car industry really liked this idea about coming up with a new car every year or every second year, but I think we’re in a completely different time right now. You know, coming out of the COVID hangover,” Henrik Fisker told TechCrunch. “My strategy is, I kind of want to seize the moment. And rather than looking at COVID as something that’s gonna stop us or slow us down. I kind of want to accelerate. And the reason is that I believe that the entire pie of the market is up for grabs, probably in the next three years.”

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While the EVs shown Thursday are only prototypes and the specifics are scarce, the company did share some new details that provide a clearer picture of what road — or roads — Fisker is taking.

Luxury pickup truck: Fisker Alaska

Image Credits: Abigail Bassett

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CEO Henrik Fisker has called the pickup the “Ferrari of pickups,” targeting other successful all-electric luxury pickups in the space, including Rivian’s highly popular Rivian R1T, the still-vaporware Tesla Cybertruck and the Ford F-150 Lightning.

The Alaska is built on a similar platform as the Ocean, but it’s been stretched slightly. Fisker calls the platform under the Alaska, the FT31. The company said the EV pickup will be built by automotive contract manufacturer Magna Steyr in Europe at the same plant as the Ocean.

Fisker said Thursday that the Alaska will get up to 340 miles of all-electric range along with some unique features, including a “big gulp” cupholder and water bottle, an extendable bed that goes from a 4.5 feet to 7.5 feet with the push of a button, and various cubbies and storage bins, including one for a cowboy hat.

The extendable bed has an interesting feature that might be attractive to campers. The back window of the cab and rear wall can be dropped, allowing the cabin to open up to the truck bed and lengthening the entire area (when the tailgate is down) to 9 feet, 6 inches. This feature, which Fisker calls the Houdini Trunk, would offer a sort of sleeping platform for owners or could be used to carry longer items.

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Image Credits: Abigail Bassett

Henrik Fisker noted in an interview with TechCrunch that the company is considering adding “all kinds of fun stuff” for the Alaska truck to go head-to-head with the Rivian R1T, a pickup known for its thoughtful accessories like the hidden flashlight, Bluetooth speaker and since discontinued camp kitchen.

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Fisker said that the Alaska will come to market in 2024 and have a starting price of $45,400 before incentives. With incentives, Fisker says that the Alaska will cost $37,900. Reservations for the Fisker Alaska opened this evening with deliveries taking place sometime in 2025, according to the company.

The PEAR

Image Credits: Abigail Bassett

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Alongside the Alaska, Fisker showed off the PEAR for the first time.

The PEAR, which stands for Personal Electric Automotive Revolution, was going to be built in conjunction with Foxconn at the Lordstown Motors plant in Ohio. Lordstown Motors has since filed for bankruptcy and sued against Foxconn. It’s unclear if the PEAR will still be built at that location.

Fisker says that the $29,900 (before incentives) PEAR gets up to 300 miles of range in its dual motor, all-wheel drive form and calls the vehicle a “fully connected mobility device” complete with on-board supercomputers that reportedly handle as much as 6.2 teraflops of data. The supercomputers have been built in-house by Fisker and are called Fiskerblades.

The range for the Pear is roughly 50 miles less than other high-volume EVs like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and 6, both of which are priced in the $40,000 range, but no automaker has yet been able to build and offer an EV for under $30,000.

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To keep the price of the PEAR low, Fisker is going for the volume play, noting that once the Lordstown plant ramps up production, the company plans to build 250,000 PEARs per year at that location. At tonight’s event, Henrik Fisker said that he eventually hopes to build 1 million Pears per year at factories around the world, including those in the U.S., China, Europe and India.

The Pear is built on what Fisker calls the SLV1, or Simple Light Volume platform, and will have an all-steel body and frame. The company said it has used an internal development process to make manufacturing more efficient and lower costs. For instance, many of the parts inside the smaller EV crossover are interchangeable and the armrests on the doors are exactly the same.

Fisker said it was able to take out 35% of the parts in order to lower cost and make it easier and faster to assemble.

Henrik Fisker confirmed that the Pear is done in terms of design and the company is currently going out to suppliers to get it built. Fisker said that the Pear will be coming in mid-2025.

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One unique feature of the Pear is the rear tailgate which neither opens up or down like traditional tailgates. Instead, it slides down into the rear bumper and disappears. The company also refers to this as the “Houdini Trunk,” the same name it uses for a somewhat similar disappearing act in the pickup.

The Pear also comes with an option for a bench seat in the front, offering optional seating for three people, rather than two, increasing the compact passenger car capacity to as many as six people. The Pear also gets a lounge seating option, where the front seats can lay back and people can watch a movie on the center screen (the 5-passenger version gets the same 17-inch screen as the Ocean) from the rear when charging.

Reservations for the “urban EV,” which is about the size of a Subaru Crosstrek, opened in February of last year, The company says that they have more than 70,000 reservations for the Ocean and the PEAR, combined.

A sports convertible: Fisker Ronin

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Image Credits: Abigail Bassett

The all-electric Ronin, which was also shown in prototype form, marks Henrik Fisker’s return to the high-end luxury sports car market.

The vehicle — named after the movie Ronin that is famous for its multiple car chase scenes — is meant to showcase Fisker’s vision of the future supercar and serves as the technology “carrier” for all the other vehicles in the lineup.

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To the CEO, that means a four-door, grand tourer with butterfly-winged doors, a coupe-like sloping roofline and tri-motor powertrain that produces more than 1,000 horsepower and can travel 0 to 60 miles per hour in around two seconds. The vehicle will be equipped with a retractable carbon fiber roof that can fit in its trunk.

If that’s not wild enough, Fisker says it will still be spacious enough to fit up to five people and their luggage.

The Ronin will be equipped with a new type of battery pack integrated into the body of the grand tourer with a targeted 600-mile range, Fisker said Thursday. If successful, that would put the Ronin’s range far ahead of any other EV on the market.

Production starts in the second half of 2024, according to the company.

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Luxury off roader: Force E

 

The big surprise Thursday was the Force E, an off-roader version of the Ocean SUV — its only EV currently on the market.

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Image Credits: Abigail Bassett

Fisker widened the Ocean SUV with fenders, added a skid plate and eye-catching 33-inch wheels. The company, which called the Force E a “hardcore off-road package,” will be available in the first quarter of 2024.

​ Fisker, the automotive startup-turned publicly traded company founded by famed automotive designer Henrik Fisker, revealed Thursday night a dizzying array of EV prototypes from a beefy pickup truck with an expandable bed, and grand tourer sports car with up to 600 miles of range to a souped-up, off-road version of its Ocean SUV and the 

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Humans Need Not Apply: The AI Candidate Promising to Disrupt Democracy

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The rise of AI Steve, the artificial intelligence candidate running for a seat in the UK Parliament, has sparked a heated debate about the role of AI in governance and the potential disruption it could bring to traditional democratic processes.

Steven Endacott, the human force behind AI Steve, envisions his AI co-pilot as a conduit for direct democracy, enabling constituents to engage with the AI, share concerns, and shape its policy platform through a voting system of “validators.” Endacott has pledged to vote in Parliament according to the AI’s constituent-driven platform, even if it conflicts with his personal views.

Proponents argue that AI Steve can revolutionize politics by bringing more voices into the process and ensuring that policies truly reflect the will of the people. They claim that an AI candidate can engage in up to 10,000 conversations simultaneously, allowing for unprecedented levels of public participation and input.

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However, critics raise valid concerns about transparency, accountability, and the potential for AI systems to be manipulated or influenced by their creators, data limitations, or external actors. There are also questions about whether an AI can fully grasp the nuances and human elements involved in complex political issues.

Some argue that AI Steve is merely a clever marketing ploy to garner attention and votes, rather than a genuine effort to “humanize” politics. There are fears that the use of AI in elections could undermine faith in electoral outcomes and democratic processes if voters become aware of potential scams or manipulation.

 

Beyond the specific case of AI Steve, the rise of AI candidates and the increasing use of AI in political campaigns and elections raise broader questions about the integrity of democratic systems and the need for effective regulations and guidelines.

Anti-democratic actors and authoritarian regimes may seek to exploit AI technologies for censorship, surveillance, and suppressing dissent under the guise of enhancing governance. There are also concerns about the potential for an “AI arms race” between political parties to develop and deploy the most sophisticated AI technologies, further eroding public trust.

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As AI tools become more advanced and accessible, upholding electoral integrity will require proactive efforts to establish guardrails, transparency measures, and accountability frameworks around their use in politics. Policymakers, advocates, and citizens must work together to ensure that AI is leveraged as a force for a better and more inclusive democracy, rather than a tool for manipulation or consolidation of power.

The rise of AI candidates like AI Steve serves as a wake-up call for democratic societies to grapple with the implications of artificial intelligence in governance and to strike the right balance between harnessing its potential benefits and mitigating its risks to the democratic process.

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Saudi Arabia Says ‘Thank You, Next’ to the US Dollar

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Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering abandoning the US dollar for oil trade settlements, a move that could shake the foundations of the global financial system. For decades, the petrodollar system has propped up the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency, with Saudi Arabia insisting on dollar payments for its vast oil exports.

However, recent comments from Saudi officials hint at exploring alternatives to the dollar amid growing tensions with the US over various geopolitical issues and the rise of economic powerhouses like China.

Implications of a Petrodollar Shift

If Saudi Arabia abandons the petrodollar, the implications could be significant:

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1. Dollar Dominance Eroded: The dollar’s reserve currency status could weaken, potentially leading to a decline in its value.
2. Global Financial Instability: A sudden shift could trigger volatility in global markets as investors adjust portfolios.
3. Geopolitical Realignment: The move could signal Saudi alignment with China and challenge US economic hegemony.

Challenges and Uncertainties

While the prospect is significant, challenges remain:

1. Finding a suitable alternative currency with the dollar’s liquidity and stability.
2. Potential economic disruption for Saudi Arabia and trading partners.
3. Political backlash and strained relations with the US and allies.

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As the world watches, it remains uncertain whether Saudi Arabia’s comments signal a negotiating tactic or a profound shift in the global financial order.

 

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X Opens the Door to Adult Content With New Policy

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X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, has made a significant policy shift by officially permitting adult content on its platform with some restrictions and guidelines.

In an update to its rules, X stated that users can now share “consensually produced and distributed adult nudity or sexual behavior” as long as it is properly labeled and not prominently displayed in areas like profile pictures or header images.

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“We recognize that many of our users are adults who want to freely express themselves by sharing legal adult content,” said an X spokesperson. “At the same time, we have a responsibility to protect minors and prevent exposure to explicit material without proper labeling.”

Under the new guidelines, users who “regularly post” adult content must adjust their settings to automatically mark images and videos as sensitive content, which blurs or hides the media by default. By default, users under 18 or who haven’t entered their birth date cannot view this sensitive adult content.

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The policy prohibits content “promoting exploitation, nonconsent, objectification, sexualization or harm to minors, and obscene behaviors.” It applies to all adult content, whether photographic, animated, or AI-generated.

X has stated that it will monitor user-generated content and adjust account settings for those who fail to properly mark pornographic posts. Similar rules and enforcement will apply to violent content as well.

The move aligns X with Apple’s app store guidelines, which allow apps with adult content as long as it is hidden by default and behind proper age gates and content warnings.

While adult content was already present on X, this policy update officially permits and regulates it, aiming to balance freedom of expression for consenting adults with protecting minors from exposure to explicit material.

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However, enforcing these rules consistently may prove challenging for X’s reduced content moderation teams following recent layoffs and cost-cutting measures.

The policy shift has drawn mixed reactions, with some praising X for embracing adult expression while others raise concerns about the potential for the platform to become inundated with pornographic content despite the restrictions.

As X navigates this new territory, the effectiveness of its labeling requirements, age verification measures, and content moderation efforts will be closely watched by users, regulators, and advocacy groups alike.

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If you want to create awesome branded experiences that truly captivate your audience, look no further than Bolanle Media. Our team of experts specializes in crafting immersive, unforgettable events that seamlessly blend creativity and strategy. From product launches to experiential marketing activations, we’ll ensure your brand makes a lasting impression. With our finger on the pulse of the latest trends and technologies, we’ll help you engage customers in innovative ways they’ll be buzzing about. Don’t settle for ordinary – let Bolanle Media elevate your brand with extraordinary experiences tailored to your unique vision. Click this link to learn more and take your marketing to new heights.

 

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