The US$80K Fisker Karma luxury plug-in hybrid sports car
By Mike Hanlon
January 15, 2008
January 16, 2008 We’ve written before about the coming of Fisker Automotive and its highly credentialed designer/CEO Henrik Fisker, though we weren’t exactly expecting a hybrid when the premium sports car company announced its first production car at NAIAS. The Fisker Karma is a four-door plug-in hybrid with a solar panel roof, regenerative braking, a light weight body, does 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds and will have a top speed beyond 125 mph when it goes on sale late in 2009 for a projected US$80,000. The drive train is entirely electric though the car has a small gasoline engine that runs the generator, which charges the lithium ion battery pack. This allows the car to be driven for up to 50 miles a day provided the car is charged every evening.
The Karma plug-in hybrid sports sedan will begin initial deliveries in Q4, 2009 and an annual production of 15,000 cars is projected. The first 99 cars off the assembly line will be individually numbered and signed by Henrik Fisker and will be produced in the color and trim of the show car seen at NAIAS.
In Buddhism/Hinduism, Karma is defined as the force generated by a person's good or evil actions which determines the nature of the person's next existence. The Fisker Karma allows consumers to practice good Karma – driving a car that is environmentally friendly – without sacrificing the extreme comfort and style of the luxury automobile category.
"In creating Fisker Automotive, Inc. we sought to develop a range of beautiful, environmentally friendly cars that make environmental sense without compromise," said Fisker Automotive, Inc. CEO Henrik Fisker. "Our hope is that the Fisker Karma will be the start of a new trend in the automotive business – less concession with more efficiency."
The car features cutting-edge plug-in hybrid technology, penned as Q DRIVE, developed by Quantum Technologies exclusively for Fisker Automotive. The Karma's Q DRIVE configuration consists of a small gasoline engine that turns the generator, which charges the lithium ion battery pack, powering the electric motor and turning the rear wheels. This proprietary design allows consumers to drive the car emission free for up to 50 miles a day provided the car is charged every evening. It's conceivable that if consumers follow this daily routine, they will only need to fuel the car but once a year. This Q DRIVE technology will provide a base for all future derivatives from Fisker Automotive.
"Our goal here is to deliver the advancement that Quantum Technologies has made in the area of plug-in hybrid technology. By combining our efforts with the renowned design talent of Henrik Fisker, we can produce cars that make a difference to the environment – without sacrificing the luxury that accompanies the finest automobiles,” stated Alan Niedzwiecki, CEO Quantum Technologies.
The sleek design of the Fisker Karma, which accentuates the long hood, is a direct result of the breakthrough all-new from the ground up chassis design with powertrain development. This unique design places the battery pack at the center of the vehicle between the two axles, providing optimal vehicle driving dynamics, maximum safety, and proportionate design. Both the interior and exterior of the car will be put to market as seen at the NAIAS.
The Karma's luxurious interior boasts four individual first class seats, a modern and sophisticated interior design and a spacious luggage capacity that can fit two golf bags and luggage in the trunk.
The driver will be able to select between two modes of driving. The first mode is "Stealth Drive", which is the quiet economy mode for optimal relaxed and efficient driving. By flipping the second paddle behind the steering wheel, the car will switch to "Sport Drive", which will access the full power of the vehicle.
The exterior design features a continual flow of sculpture and dramatic proportion. Similar in height to the Porsche 911, the length of the Mercedes Benz CLS, and the width of a BMW 7-series, the Fisker Karma's structure and body panels will make extensive use of aluminum to keep the overall vehicle weight as low as possible. Additionally, a new drive train configuration will provide optimal weight distribution. The vehicle's low and wide stance offers the driver a unique view of the fenders from the inside of the car.
The Fisker Karma will offer partly self-contained climate control, as consumers will have the option to purchase a full length solar roof that will help charge the car and provide cooling for the interior cabin while the car is parked. Additionally, Fisker Automotive will offer consumers an option to purchase a set of solar panels for their roofs or garages where they can generate electricity during the day to charge the car overnight…again cost and emission free.
Keeping with the company's mantra of "Simply World Class", Fisker Automotive and its retailers will offer a customer experience second to none. All retailers will be housed in eco-friendly facilities and will offer consumers a unique personal approach, including the ability to ask questions via video conference with an expert at Fisker Automotive headquarters and flexible scheduling based on consumer availability.
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