Tesla Model Y Vs Fisker Ocean: Which Is The Better Electric SUV?

With crossovers and SUVs being the U.S.'s favorite and third favorite vehicles for 2022, according to Statista, it's safe to say that the Fisker Ocean and Tesla Model Y are important releases, especially with the rise in popularity of all-electric vehicles. The Tesla Model Y and Fisker Ocean are poised to be two very similar vehicles — both feature spacious, luxurious interiors with up to seven seats, sunroofs, and powerful electric drivetrains. 

The Fisker Ocean is as-yet unreleased, which could be a double-edged sword. Being late to the party means you already know exactly who the other players are and what you need to beat. On the other hand, your competition is already established — in the case of Tesla, very well established as the most popular automaker in the U.S. (via CNN). 

The Fisker Ocean is already causing a stir in the all-electric SUV market, but it remains to be seen how well it actually performs, especially since its unreleased status means that pricing and specifications are likely to change before the actual release and production. Some aspects are always going to be subjective — aesthetics, design, and material choices — but we can look at the specifications and get a pretty good idea of how things will stack up.

What is the Tesla Model Y?

Coming in at a starting price of $65,990, the Tesla Model Y falls squarely in the luxury crossover SUV segment. The model features ample storage and seating space, as well as all-wheel drive and a functional, minimalist interior. Receiving praise from the likes of TopGear for its solid all-around experience, the Tesla Model Y builds on the foundation and reputation of the Model 3 by basically making it a little bigger and more practical, for better or worse. Additionally, the Model Y features Tesla's impressive — if imperfect — Autopilot technology, which takes over some of the driving, even if it still doesn't offer fully autonomous driving. 

As one of the most recommended electric crossovers on the market, the Tesla Model Y is the incumbent that any newcomer to the space needs to compete with in order to be successful. The success of the Model Y is further exemplified by its market share, occupying the top spot as the most-sold electric vehicle for the first half of 2022, as reported by Electrek. In typical electric vehicle fashion, the Model Y utilizes the extra space under the hood to expand storage with a 4.1-cubic-foot front trunk, and it has a 26.6-cubic-foot trunk to bring the total storage capacity to 30.7 cubic feet if all the seats are filled with people instead of bags. 

What is the Fisker Ocean?

If you've never heard of Fisker, don't worry, the company has only released one vehicle prior to the Ocean — the much embattled but endearing Fisker Karma hybrid. Fisker states that its mission is to put the environment and people first, and it focuses heavily on its vehicles being zero-emission and sustainably built. 

Currently, the Ocean is Fisker's only offering, starting with the Sport model at $37,499 and topping out at the Ultra for $68,999. The Sport is the only one in Fisker's lineup that isn't all-wheel-drive and has under 300 miles range — 250 miles, to be exact — making it a good choice for buyers who mostly need to run errands and only occasionally do longer trips. The Ocean One (a special launch version of the Extreme) and Ultra are the top-end models that offer AWD, increased range, and a smorgasbord of other luxury and functional upgrades. Almost none of the specifications matter at this point, because the Fisker Ocean isn't yet in production — Fisker even has a disclaimer on its online vehicle builder about equipment and model features being subject to change. 

While you can't order an Ocean just yet, you can pay $250 to make a reservation. Perhaps expected from a new-kid-on-the-block, Fisker touts a few interesting technologies in the Ocean to make it stand out — the most interesting one on the features list being the SolarSky included in the more expensive models. Notably, the Fisker Ocean lacks a frunk, something that's come to be expected from electric vehicles. 

Performance and range

Things get a little muddy when it comes to performance since Tesla measures the 0 to 60 miles per hour time of the performance Model Y with a rolling start. Tesla's spec sheet puts the Long Range AWD model of the Model Y at 4.8 seconds for 0 to 60 miles per hour, while the Performance variant of the Model Y achieves that in 3.5 seconds. While Fisker doesn't rely on performance numbers with the Ocean, press releases [PDF] claim the Ocean Sport is expected to deliver a 0 to 60 time of 6.9 seconds, and the all-wheel-drive Ocean variants will do 0 to 60 in 3.6 seconds. It's important to note that the base Fisker Ocean Sport is a 2WD affair. In the U.S., the Model Y is only available in AWD, but there is a rear-wheel-driven 2WD Model Y available in other regions. That could make the base Model Y feel sportier than the Ocean.

At first glance, the Tesla Model Y's 303- or 330-mile range handily loses to all but the base model Ocean Sport. According to Fisker, the Ocean Sport can supposedly go 250 miles between charging, while the Ocean Ultra and Extreme can go 350 miles. The difference is close enough, but the gap widens further if you consider the Ocean's secret weapon. The Ocean Extreme, Ultra, and One models feature a solar roof, called SolarSky, to charge the vehicle while driving. Fisker claims SolarSky can generate up to 1,500 miles per year, in sunny areas, and over 2,000 miles in favorable conditions. SolarSky might save you a charge or two, but the cost of the spec bump brings you to a total of $68,999 — far from the $37,499 starting price.

Interior, self driving, and extras

Despite being an inch shorter than the Ocean, the Tesla Model Y manages to include a third row of seats, while the Fisker doesn't offer extended seating options in any of its variants. Where the Ocean does beat out the Model Y in terms of storage and practicality is California Mode. Activating California Mode opens almost every glass surface in the Ocean, including the sunroof or SolarSky and rear windshield, making it possible to load long cargo that otherwise wouldn't fit into the vehicle — Fisker exemplifies this feature with a surfboard jutting out of the back windscreen. 

In terms of interior comfort, the Tesla Model Y and Fisker Ocean offer similarly premium designs and materials, but the Fisker focuses more on sustainability, using recycled and sustainably-sourced materials in the cabin. Both vehicles feature a large central touchscreen display for interacting with the ride and using things like climate control. The key differences between the central displays are the size and versatility — the Ocean's display is bigger at 17.1 inches compared to the 15-inch display in the Tesla, and it can be orientated vertically or horizontally, while the Tesla's display is fixed in the horizontal position.

While the Model Y comes standard with Tesla's Basic Autopilot, the only versions of the Ocean that offer similar features are the $68,999 Ocean Extreme and One. As a last note on interior design, the Fisker Ocean features some well-placed physical buttons for climate control, if the thought of stabbing around on the Tesla's touch screen while you drive doesn't seem like a good time. 

The result is close, so wait for reviews if you can

To address a bit of an elephant in the room — Fisker's newcomer status and sordid history. As reported by CNN, Fisker is the CEO's second attempt at an automotive company, after the dismal first stab at it failed rather spectacularly. In contrast, Tesla has earned itself a reputation as a successful manufacturer, despite its CEO's controversial public image

Aside from being a known entity and having established infrastructure, Tesla's age and success mean there are loads of aftermarket accessories available from both Tesla and third parties. The Fisker Ocean and Tesla Model Y are very similar vehicles, although the Model Y's third row of seats, Supercharger network, and ample storage space make it a more practical vehicle than the Ocean. The only place the Fisker seems to have the upper hand is value. You can snag a Fisker Ocean Ultra — the first model with AWD and dual motors — for $49,999, while the lowest-end Model Y is a whopping $65,999.

For now, the Tesla Model Y seems to be the better buy if you have the money — especially since there are no comprehensive, independent reviews of the unreleased Fisker Ocean, while the Model Y has proven itself as an excellent option if you're in the market for an electric crossover. If a Model Y is a little out of your price range, you can snag the Ocean Ultra and get a very similar vehicle with its own special touches.