It's a shame that Fisker went bankrupt. The Fisker Karma is so beautiful that has such a magnificent presence. I'm not sure what the concept version looked like, but the car looks like it went straight from concept to production without any changes.
Maybe part of my fascination with the car is that I basically never see this car.
Henrik Fisker co-founded the company and almost immediately faced a number of problems. The worst part was when Hurricane Sandy took place and destroyed a shipment of hundreds of Fisker Karmas. This was the last straw that drove the company into bankruptcy.
The Wanxiang Group ended up buying Fisker, so the cars will be coming back in 2015. Lu Guanqiu, its founder said that he will spend as much of his fortune as needed to make this succeed. That's a quite a bold statement so we'll see what happens.
There are two 201 hp electric motors going to the rear wheels that are powered by batteries. The batteries can also be charged by a generator hooked up to a gas engine that you find in a Chevy Cruze. The end result is that they complement each other and the gas engine can charge the batteries if they run out of juice.
Up to 1000 lb-ft of torque can be generated by the electric motors driving the wheels! That's a lot of torque but the car is also really heavy.
There are lots of little things about the Karma that I found fascinating. For example, the batteries run through the center console which is kind of cool. the downside is that it cuts down on interior space.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the interior - everything seemed to be well put together without any noticeable rattling.
This car has 2 modes – sport mode and stealth mode. During "stealth" mode, there is a finely tuned noise (carefully developed by Fisker engineers) emanating from the speakers outside the car making it sound like a spacecraft. Apparently, European regulations required that a vehicle must create some kind of noise to alert pedestrians.
In "stealth mode", the car only uses the battery to power the electric motor to turn the rear wheels. In "sport mode", the internal combustion engine kicks on to add to the power driving the electric motors. If I owned this car that's the mode that I'd drive in…must have my 1000 lb-ft of torque at all times.
Now, these are enormous 22 inch wheels. Typically, you would expect the ride to be harsh on these humongous wheels. But the Fisker suspension is perfect - the ride was great and luxurious inspite of these gigantic rims and low profile tires.
People have actually thought that the diamond-shaped fixtures on the rear bumper are exhaust pipes! Of course they're not, but I'm glad they're there - adds to the look of the car.
I think the solar panel on the roof is pretty cool. It charges the battery and also powers a fan that runs when the car is shut off and parked. Something like this very useful in a place like Austin, Texas where it gets really hot in the summer.
It's unfortunate that Fisker had to go bankrupt. This was a tremendously risky bet. Although Tesla came out ahead, Elon Musk has mentioned in repeated interviews that he was one step away from having to close up shop. In Fisker's case, unfortunately there was no other option.
I guess we'll see what the future of Fisker holds with its upcoming revival. I'm really hoping that Wanxiang is able to keep Fisker moving forward with future models. I always want to see more cars out there that look as good as the Fisker Karma.
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