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EV Buyers Guide: Fisker Ocean Vs. Rivian R1S

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The American electric vehicle (EV) market is growing as niche brands establish their foothold. Tesla was a game-changer when it became the standard for American electric power. Elon Musk’s company proved a new brand could challenge the empires of Ford and GM. Tesla opened the door for brands like Fisker and Rivian to enter the market. 

Today, we will compare and contrast the flagship vehicles of each company. The Fisker Ocean and Rivian R1S are some of the more famous niche American brands challenging Tesla as the EV of choice. 

All specifications for each car come from “Car and Driver.” 

2024 Fisker Ocean

Photo Courtesy Fisker

The flagship vehicle for California-based manufacturer Fisker Motors, the Ocean, was highly anticipated for more than three years before the official launch. Pre-orders were beginning to be fulfilled as recently as May 2023. Despite being a niche brand, Fisker has a cunning marketing strategy to attract customers: low price. The Ocean starts at $38,000 MSRP. For an electric crossover, that’s a pretty solid deal. 

The drawback is that the Ocean doesn’t qualify for the clean vehicle tax breaks. Fisker manufactures its vehicles and parts in Austria through its partner, Magna

Still, the Ocean is certainly attractive with three versions — Ultra, Force E, and Extreme. The base model gets around 360 miles of range before it needs a charge. There is 275 hp in the engine, with a 0-to-60 time of 6.9 seconds. The Ultra, Force E, and Extreme have around 564 hp and can reach 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. 

The crossover comes with two driving modes: California and Hyper. California mode drops the rear tailgate and opens the sunroof for maximum comfort riding. Hyper is the sport mode for the Ocean. 

The Ocean has a 106-kWh battery pack, compatible with most EV charging stations. It can reach 80% battery in 35 minutes.

The interior is simplistic but stylish. The 17.1-inch infotainment screen is as large as Tesla’s, with a panoramic sunroof overhead. A Harman/Kardon stereo makes for a great sound system. It can receive over-the-air updates, too. 

For driver safety, the Fisker Intelligent Pilot system includes emergency automated braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assistance. However, it hasn’t been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) yet.

2023 Rivian R1S

Photo Courtesy Rivian

Rivian has certainly attracted the attention of some of the largest companies in the country. When they became one of Amazon’s main electric van providers, it served as a sense of reliability for civilian drivers. The 2023 Rivian R1s is similar to a Land Rover Discovery: boxy, wide, rugged, and durable.

The R1S can tackle mud baths or a simple road trip to the national park. The SUV has 15 inches of ground clearance with the suspension. A Quad-Motor model puts a motor on each wheel, giving drivers maximum performance and control. 

The Standard battery edition gets around 260 miles of range. Meanwhile, the Large battery version gets 316 miles. The charge rate is commendable, as the battery can reach 90% battery in around an hour with a direct-current charger. 

The 2023 R1S has four driving modes: Camp, Pet, Soft Sand, and Snow. They are utilized for premium comfort or tough off-road conditions. The versatility of the base R1S is ideal for the adventurous type. 

This SUV is not cheap. The base model runs around $79,800, and the extended range editions will run you closer to $90,000. However, the R1s does qualify for clean vehicle tax credits thanks to its assembly plant in Illinois. Also, minerals for batteries are sourced in North America. New trade agreements over mineral sourcing and tax breaks are also benefitting Rivian. 

The R1S has a powerful motor and powertrain. Six hundred horses and all-wheel drive let the behemoth hit 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. 

Inside, the cabin is very nice, with leather seats and a wooden trim around the dashboard. The infotainment isn’t the biggest, but still quite intuitive. It doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto but does have wifi onboard, a wireless smartphone charging pad, and Amazon Alexa voice assistance.

The cargo space is ample, with 12 cubic feet of front trunk, a large rear trunk, a tailgate, and storable third-row seats. Safety features include Driver+ assistance tech, including automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlamps. The IIHS ranks it as a Top Safety Pick. 

Closing Thoughts

Each SUV is attractive in its own way. However, their differences are rather stark. Pricing-wise, the Ocean is clearly the most affordable option. It is slower and smaller than the R1S, so it’s not ideal for those who need a lot of trunk space. The R1S is better for off-roading, though the Ocean Force E may challenge that

The Ocean Force E is more expensive than the base model but less than a basic R1S, which is faster and has a more powerful engine. Both interiors are stylish and modern, yet lacking in some regards. Neither have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but still have Bluetooth connectivity. 

The R1S has the most space for passengers and cargo. The Ocean has the better range, but it’s a smaller SUV. The big difference is the R1S qualifies for EV tax credits while the Ocean does not. While the starting price for an R1S is nearly $80,000, it can drop lower thanks to the tax breaks.  


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