Fisker Karma

By the time former BMW designer Henrik Fisker took the wraps off the Fisker Karma—his low, sleek, plug-in hybrid sports sedan—in 2008, the media frenzy for more celebrated future electric drive vehicles was already in full swing. But Fisker’s company kept its head down. They kept moving forward with development, signed up dozens of luxury-car dealers (most now carrying the Jaguar Land Rover line), and showed off a two-door convertible model with a retractable hardtop at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. Despite missing previous self-imposed deadlines, the company reiterated its commitment to bring the $87,000 400-horsepower four-seater plug-in hybrid to market in 2010. That would make it the first plug-in hybrid on the market, and certainly the world’s first luxury plug-in hybrid.

Green, But Not Ugly

In a 2009 interview with founder Henrik Fisker, HybridCars.com asked who would be likely to buy the Karma. “I think our market is everybody who has a little bit of conscience,” he said, “and enough money to buy it.” Fisker says he has received more than 1,000 deposits—of $5,000 each—from owners of such brands as BMW, Merecedes-Benz, Lexus, Jaguar, and even Rolls-Royce.

But the distinguishing feature of the Fisker brand is that it signals a widening future for fast, exciting, green cars. “There’s no rule written anywhere that a green car has to be ugly,” said Fisker, “or small, or uncomfortable. We have so much power, we don’t need to make the car small.” Indeed, despite its aluminum space-frame structure, the Karma weighs roughly 5,000 pounds.

Technology Like the Volt, But Far Sleeker

Like the vaunted 2011 Chevrolet Volt, the Fisker Karma is a plug-in series hybrid using electric power to turn the wheels. The 22 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack, to be provided by A123 Systems, promises 50 miles of electric range. A 2.2-liter GM Ecotec four will power a generator that keeps enough current flowing to add 250 more miles.

Performance is claimed to be competitive with the best in the luxury sports sedan market. Two electric drive motors combine to generate 400 horsepower, giving a 0-to-60-mph time of less than 6 seconds and a top speed of 125 miles per hour. Those figures are only reachable using Sport Drive, one of two modes the driver can select. The other, Stealth Drive, cuts performance to extend electric range—and it’s the one that will let the battery deliver 50 miles.

The Karma’s “Q-Drive” system was developed from a system originally created for military applications by Quantum Technologies, which is a part owner of Fisker Automotive Inc.

‘Eco-Chic’ Interior and Solar Cells

Among the noteworthy features of the 2011 Karma is the optional ‘Eco-Chic’ interior, which uses no animal products and features reclaimed wood from sunken logs, reclaimed forest-fire timber, and renewable resources like bamboo.

Even the leather seats use 85 percent of the entire hide, retaining the scars and stretch marks that other luxury brands eliminate. “Each one is unique,” said Fisker, giving each interior individuality as well as salving the green conscience.

Another first is the standard full-length photovoltaic roof, which generates enough power to cool the cabin while parked—a task otherwise requiring precious energy for AC. In consistent sun, it can also theoretically contribute enough battery recharging to add 3 to 5 miles a week. Owners will still have to plug the Fisker into a standard 110-Volt or 220-Volt wall socket to recharge a depleted battery pack overnight.

Fisker also plans to offer buyers much larger photovoltaic solar panels to be mounted on roofs or a garage, so that owners can recharge their Karmas at least partly from solar power.

Television ad for Fisker Karma.

First Cars?

If Fisker had met its promise to build the first production models by mid-2010, it could have claimed bragging rights as the first plug-in hybrid to go on sale in the US market. With any more delays, first-mover status on a plug-in hybrid will to the Chevrolet Volt. Delays could be blamed on the need for additional funds, or on the company taking its eye off of delivering on its first promises regarding the Karma—by looking to the construction of a Delaware factory and production of a more affordable second model.

The Fisker Karma will cost $87,400 before options are added, and buyers will be eligible for a $7,500 tax credit, sneaking the price just below $80,000. The company expects annual production to reach 15,000 within two years of launch.

As of March 2010, no journalist has driven a Fisker Karma.

 


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Fisker Karma
Base MSRP: $96,000
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  • fred smilek

    Wuaauu! this car is awesome. I’ll be looking forward for my sweet dream car. Can’t wait!!!

  • fred smilek

    I forgot to ask this. Are they going to be different colors available for the public?

  • uktiger

    Fisker is friggin awesome! Thank you for showing the way Henrik…

    Please, shock the world and do a Tata moment. Announce a Tata type $10k car with the same serial hybrid layout that you will build in America.

    All hail to Fisker!

  • Hal Howell

    I wonder if the $40000 car will be as cool looking or will it be usual ugly thing that no one would be caught dead in??? If they want the masses to to make the switch to the eco cars, the manufacturers had better start producing neat looking cars that the rest of us can afford or this is all a bunch of nonsense!!!
    This is where Toyota has succeeded. My Prius cost $24000. It looks good, has good performance ( I said good, not great)and is comfortable to drive in. It has durability and is a neat car to drive.

  • Bert..

    ah-hem…check this out and all the media coverage..oh and quite a few journalists covered and drove these…

    http://www.evinnovations.com/

  • cferger

    Prius looks good? Proof that aesthetics are subjective. I would buy a Prius despite its looks. In my opinion they are ugly, fantastic cars, but butt ugly. I would buy a Fisker because of its looks.

  • vgtech

    “which uses no animal products “. The last time I looked, leather was an animal product. I wish luxury car makers, especially eco ones, would at least offer leather-free seating as an option. It doesn’t take a brilliant mind to figure out that a great many potential eco-car buyers are vegetarians.

  • fred smilek

    87,000 is not bad at all. I like the idea of having a 400 horsepower car. :)

  • SenTzu

    The reality is that our eyes are set in the front of our heads and our teeth are arranged in K9 fashion so that makes us meat eaters and Beef will never leave the restaurant market so why waste the hides. I like the Fisker Karma and I wish I had $87K to buy one, I have been promoting them ever since I saw the car show in Detroit in 2008 and with photovoltaic cells in a film on the roof of a house (i.e. century construction) and or Pacwind technology on the house there is no reason why everyone can not have one and then we can starve those damned arabs right out of their lifestyles and get rid of gas emmitting polution! ;)

  • Adam

    I wish i had the money for one of these, its such a sexy car, good hp, and also 100 mpg.
    Any who says this vehicle isnt good must be smoking something hefty.

  • Jim Robbons

    Hybrids are not sustainable. 25 years ago we had compact cars that we’re capable of 50mpg using internal combustion gasoline engines (honda CRX-HF). The fact that the car companies are passing hybrids off as the answer to our problems is a travesty and the fact that consumers are buying that BS is even worse. I’m a proponent of ever little bit helps but I believe most people can’t see the big picture here. Agree electric car technology needs to become more affordable but if we as consumers demand it they will become cheaper as with any technology. Hybrids are a tool to pacify us into thinking we’re becoming green!

  • Lee Brennan

    Jim I disagree and I think it depends on how you define sustainable. Keep in mind this is a series hybrid vehicle. A solid majority of the public don’t drive more than 50 miles in a day and as a result drivers of this vehicle will usually not burn any gas.

    If you include longer trips average yearly fuel economy for a consumer will be around 300 mpg.

    I don’t think anyone is saying that hybrids are the answer, but I think they are certainly a step in the right direction. As more and more people begin to drive series hybrids the demand for the infrastructure for electric vehicles will grow. Currently, that infrastructure does not exist and therefore purely electric vehicles are not viable. I see this as the intermediate step between the gasoline engine and the purely electric vehicle.

  • justin norton

    finally a electric car that looks good and goes good

  • supercardude

    oh my god.its really cool and has 100 mpg.i want that.

  • Michael Anthony Puntillo

    Please Build them & add my suggest place wind electric produceing
    generator in the front of vehicle when the wind hits the front
    of vehicle it will turn the generator bring power back the battery. Face the factor the wind hits all moving things so use it to keep the battery charged. Place for all lighting L.E.D. lamps in and out
    add solar chips in with them when lamps are lit will make electricity.
    Also add the brake generator system too. Solar cells placed on hood and trunk . Make these fun by building them in a convertible
    hardtop made of fiberglass with a glass rear window.
    You have heard from Michael Anthony Puntillo of Norwich,Connecticut USA. Bless them all.

  • NAVA SLAVIN

    Absolutly fantastic car, about tima a hybrid sports car. love to try it out.

  • Otis Thornton

    I am a former General Motors Dealer,I know this is a WINNER and I want to be one of your corporation Dealers in the northeast. Thanks Otis

  • dddd

    no, they just spent 24 months and countless millions on r&d developing a car from the ground up for a market where choice is everything purely in order to subsequently only manufacture in one colour.

  • Agatha Harder

    Love the car

  • Michael Puntillo

    MR. Henrik Fisker
    Hello! Please I am very interested to help you and me.
    Ship me a demo of the electric vehicle you are selling with
    order forms. I will spead the news to the public showing
    and selling your great vehicle to them. I hope to hear from you
    soon. Bless them all.
    Sincerely,
    Michael Puntillo

  • Rishi

    Fantastic Hybride !!
    That’s my dream car.Great achievement Fisker,respect !
    If only i could own one but it’s too expensive for me, just dream i own it :(

  • Scott

    I will wait until it gets into general use and bugs are out. “Groundbreaking” tech with this much hype is always suspect. Hope I am just being cautious, but have seen too many of these hyped ideas/concepts turn out not to pan out.

  • Michael Puntillo

    Hello it is Michael Anthony Puntillo of Norwich,Connenticut USA
    asking you to let me know; What’s happening ?
    Do you know that if you still are sitting on your hands
    the other auto makers will leave your company in the dust.
    Lets build a vehicle that heads will turn to. The earth saving
    electric vehicle; Yes. You have a great start already just add
    our suggestion to it. Make it sexy by doing it, build it not to use
    any fuel at all; Just battery,magnets, mirrors, magnfier lenses,
    LED lamps with solar chips. Greer the electric motor with the
    generators. This can be made so lets get going. Hope to hear
    from you soon. I will help you.
    Sincerely,
    Mike P.
    “BLESS THEM ALL”

  • Samir

    It’s here, and I’ve seen it in the flesh. Check out my pictures and writeup here:
    http://www.huntsvillecarscene.com/calendar.php?do=getinfo&e=1732&day=2010-5-10&c=1

  • amaia

    This is the car for me. Animal free and green all the way. Too bad I will never be able to contribute to saving our earth in style due to the price.

  • protein eater

    obviously you write your comments before you find out the facts. There is a vegan models…looks like eating vegetables is turning your brain into one. It’s called the Karma chic…it’s all vegan and I have one and you don’t.

  • harry brillantes

    Mr. Fisker is really a brilliant guy. Actually, he has a unique and possesess a futuristic mind. I am sure that his car, Karma Hybrid
    will go a long way for generations to come. He has a a great
    purpose: ` to promote clean air and create a good living environment as a whole`.

  • Anonymous

    Although the ‘EcoSport’ trim features all-leather surfaces, I believe the entry-level and ‘EcoChic’ versions utilize artificial leather and recycled ‘EcoSuede’, respectively.

  • elev8

    What a nice car. But every thing need the most advanced sporting equipment in this industry.

  • Roxanne

    Michael A. Puntillo;
    Love your ideas! keep pushin on. Hope they contact you for all our sakes. Love ya, Roxanne

  • jarvis pariello

    Cool! The first electric Edsel! Before putting your life savings up on this, read about consumer report’s experience!

  • Boss MC

    The Prius is the ugliest car ever don’t know what your talking about when you say it “looks good”

  • altonalvin

    The base model features an ‘eco-friendly interior’, including salvaged/reclaimed lumber. Optional leather seating is available, but it will use much more of the cow hide than would customarily be found on luxury models; hides with scratches and other marks which should not affect functionality will be used. forum francais los angeles

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  • arthurarnold

    The Karma includes as standard a solar paneled roof manufactured by Asola Advanced and Automotive Solar Systems GmbH, a Quantum Technologies affiliate, not only to aid in the recharging of its lithium-ion batteries but also to aid the cabin climate control system. iPad

  • crystal

    it’s “animal-free eco suede” according to other sources. look it up
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyXFqxoFQK8

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