Fisker Taking Away Heated Rear Seats and More Unless Customers Cough Up Some Extra Cash

Fisker Ocean 8 photos
Photo: Fisker / autoevolution edit
Fisker EmailFisker Ocean Ultra Window StickerFisker Ocean has a limited launch control functionFisker Ocean has a limited launch control functionFisker Ocean has a limited launch control functionFisker Ocean has a limited launch control functionFisker Ocean has a limited launch control function
Fisker informed many of its customers that their all-electric SUVs would lose several features at the end of 2024. Although these useful options appeared on the Monroney Label (window sticker) when they took delivery and worked from the get-go, the buyers must now spend more money to prevent the struggling company from remotely disabling things such as the 360-degree camera system. But there's a twist.
We might be witnessing the first cursed automotive brand. All kidding aside, Henrik Fisker's dream of establishing a company that can materialize his unaltered vision seems to be crumbling—for the second time. Reborn from the ashes of the Karma like the Phoenix bird, Fisker Inc. is struggling to remain afloat.

It recently received approximately $3.5 million from an investor, but that's not enough to end all the financial worries. Moreover, former employees are criticizing the leadership team for fostering a climate of fear, and existing customers don't know if they will have a place to fix their cars or someone to call when software goes haywire.

Instead of assuring Ocean owners that their EVs would continue to have access to all the support they might need and focus on keeping buyers somewhat happy in the face of what seems to be an imminent disaster, Fisker chose to remind some of their customers that it would take away features from their rides unless they pay the company some more money.

Last year, the brand announced out of the blue that it would unbundle two important option packages—Intelligent Pilot and Ultimate. But it wasn't going to offer them a la carte.

Instead, buyers learned they would have to subscribe for things like adaptive cruise control with lane change assist or the revolving function for the 17.1-inch center screen. They were facing an extra monthly payment to use stuff that was already installed on their vehicles.

At that point in time, few believed that the young brand was dealing with huge financial troubles, and that made the whole thing even weirder.

Naturally, that announcement outraged many, and Fisker backed off shortly afterward, admitting it was a mistake to follow the Netflix route.

Now, there's another software-related issue: Ocean Ultra and Ocean Sport buyers learned via email that their vehicles would soon lose the following features:
  • heated steering wheel;
  • heated rear seats;
  • heated washer nozzles;
  • wiper defrost;
  • boost mode;
  • 360-degree surround view with 3D mapping;
  • hollywood mode;
  • premium connectivity (mobile internet connection).

The first four features used to be part of the Winter package, which some customers paid for before taking delivery and realized afterward that they didn't work. The other ones are gimmicks most new cars have, except for a free internet connection.

UPDATE. A couple of Fisker Ocean Ultra owners got in touch with us and said that they received the same email, even though they already paid for features such as a heated steering wheel or heated rear seats, which are part of the Winter Package. It seems like the automaker sent everyone the same notice, and included customers who had nothing to do with the incoming remote disabling of features.

The original story continues below.

Fisker Ocean has a limited launch control function
Photo: Fisker
Fisker activated these features for Ultra and Sport customers as a "thank you" for being early customers and even included some of them on the Monroney Label without specifying that they are available on a trial-based period. Now, they're letting these buyers know that the upgrades will be hidden behind a paywall starting January 1, 2025.

The marque also didn't specify how buyers willing to keep some or all of these extras would get to keep them. It just told customers that they would get help to "choose the best Fisker package upgrade" without even a hint of what it could cost them.

While Ocean Ultra and Ocean Sport buyers might have known that they didn't pay for all those "extra" features, it's weird that Fisker is focusing on telling some of their earliest supporters that their rides will lose functions they might have already gotten used to.

This move is also unwise (to say the least) because Fisker Ocean EVs have dropped in value tremendously in 2024. The massive price cuts applied to existing inventory hurt the resale prices of used Oceans.

The company should have let customers enjoy these perks as a thank you for sticking with the brand through this tough period instead of telling them that they must get ready to spend some more money on a car that doesn't look like it's going to be worth something in a couple of years.
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Editor's note: This article has been updated to include some autoevolution readers' statements.

About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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