Los Angeles - Fisker, the electric car brand that was an early rival to Tesla before going bankrupt in 2013, appears to be back on track and the start-up is planning to launch a new SUV to rival the Model Y.

What you see above is the first official teaser for the upcoming crossover, which is set to go on sale in the US next year with a price tag of below $40 000 (R577 000).

The brand, which was known for attracting celebrity buyers, is led by former BMW designer Henrik Fisker. Like Tesla, Fisker will sell directly to consumers without dealers. 

The new SUV, with an expected range of some 500 kilometers between charges, comes from a new corporate entity called Fisker Inc.

A year ago, Henrik Fisker unveiled plans for a $129 000 (R1.85m) electric luxury car, but the group said that vehicle launch will be pushed back until after the lower-priced SUV.

The company hopes to eventually have three different vehicles on the market.

"Our team set out on a mission to create an affordable EV that's more exciting and emotion-stirring than what the market has been offering," Henrik Fisker said in the statement.

"We're now excited to be introducing a vehicle that truly reinvents the SUV."

The company said it is "currently finalising the selection of a facility, located in the United States, to produce the all-electric SUV."

The relaunch comes after a high-profile bankruptcy by Fisker Automotive, which received $192 million in US government loans and left $139 million of that unpaid.

The $100 000 (R1.44m) Fisker Karma, released in 2012, attracted buyers including Justin Bieber, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher.

But that company filed for bankruptcy in 2013 and a year later its assets were sold to Chinese car parts maker Wanxiang.

Fisker is among several startups in the US and elsewhere moving into the electric vehicle market which is expected to see strong growth.

The move by Fisker comes as Tesla ramps up efforts for more affordable electric cars including a Model 3 priced at $35 000 (R504 000) and a Model Y SUV starting at $39 000 (R561 600).

IOL & Agence France-Presse