• Dec 2, 2008
Click above for high-res image gallery of the Fisker Karma

Just one short year after Fisker debuted its plug-in hybrid Karma show car at the Detroit Auto Show, the house that Henrik built will be returning to the Motor City to debut the production version of its ambitious project. Fisker says the production model, which is shown above in this just-released official pic, will only vary slightly in design from the show car, including a different upper grille that's a bit larger towards the outer edges and a larger lower air intake. The exhaust pipe from the internal combustion engine will also exit from an odd place: behind the front wheels. We'll also get our first view of the Karma's production interior in Detroit next month.

Fisker announced last month that it had chosen General Motors' turbocharged, direct-inject 2.0L four-cylinder as its ICE of choice, and after sampling that engine in the Chevy Cobalt SS Turbo, we're very eager to see what it will do in a hybrid set-up designed to make one very large luxury saloon move like the wind. Combined with the hybrid system's 22.6 kWh electric motor, the drivetrain as a whole is said to produce 408 horsepower and propel the car to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and onto to a top speed of 125 mph. What sounded like vaporware 365 days ago is starting to take form, and we'll be on hand in Detroit next month to bring you more.


[Source: Fisker]

PRESS RELEASE

Fisker Automotive's First Production Vehicle, the Fisker Karma, to Be Showcased at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 2 -- Fisker Automotive, Inc., a green American premium sports car company, today announced that its first production car, the Fisker Karma, will be showcased at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). With only minor design enhancements made to the exterior of the vehicle, the production Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid retains the extreme proportions and beautiful sculpture of the January 2008 Karma show car.

"We are very excited to be bringing the Fisker Karma back to NAIAS," said Fisker Automotive CEO Henrik Fisker. "In the year since we debuted the Karma, the reception we've received has been tremendous. I'm proud to announce at this time that we are already sold out on the car until mid-2010."

With a base price of $87,900 (USD), the Fisker Karma is scheduled to begin delivery in November 2009. Featuring the proprietary Q-Drive powertrain, the Fisker Karma will have an all-electric range of 50 miles (80km). After the all electric 50 miles, the gasoline engine turns a generator to charge the lithium ion battery. Once the 50-mile electric range has been exceeded, the Fisker Karma can be used as a normal hybrid vehicle. With this balance of electric and gas range, Fisker Automotive estimates that most Karma drivers who charge the Karma overnight and commute less than 50 miles per day will be able to achieve an average fuel economy of 100 mpg (2.4L/100km) per year.

The production model to be featured at the 2009 NAIAS will include an upper grill that is graphically enhanced, being slightly larger towards the outer corners. The lower air intake has been enlarged to allow for more airflow and underneath the rear bumper, an aerodynamic diffuser includes the integration of a cooling cover for the electric drivetrain.

To optimize cooling and aerodynamics, the exhaust pipe from the ICE engine is routed directly out behind the front wheels. A small functional side vent will release the hot air when the ICE engine is turned on. The Fisker Karma also features a complete flush B-pillar. The B-pillar is a safety feature and already fulfills the proposed 2012 rollover protection safety regulations.

Underneath the Karma is an all aluminum spaceframe made in cooperation with Norsk Hydro. The exterior body is a combination of aluminum panels and composite panels.

The Karma has a unique sustainable interior strategy. The design of the interior cabin is a luxurious tailored space for four adults. The interior will be unveiled for the first time in its final form at the 2009 NAIAS.

The vehicle's ride and handling is decisively sporty and includes very responsive steering. The Karma's long wheel base, wide track and low center of gravity provide excellent cornering and stability at highway speeds.
The innovative powertrain, Q-drive, utilizes a large, powerful lithium ion battery and a powerful 2-liter direct injected turbo-charged 4-cylinder gasoline engine developing 260 hp, which enables the Karma to achieve a continuous top speed of 125 mph and a 0-60 of 5.8 seconds. The large powerful lithium ion battery provides 22.6 kWh, which has unique control software. The two powerful electric motors deliver a combined 408 hp.

Additional features of the Karma include:

Karma Powertrain "Q-Drive"
Powertrain Overview Description
The Karma powertrain is a high performance, high efficiency, plug-in hybrid electric system comprised of three electric machines, three inverters, a turbo-charged 2.0 L high-feature DI gasoline engine and an advanced Lithium- ion technology battery pack. This hardware combination coupled with the innovative Q-Drive control system provides for a unique driving experience where energy, power, feel, and fuel economy are optimized to satisfy driver demands.

Energy Storage System
The energy storage system incorporates an advanced lithium-ion chemistry battery pack with integrated control and safety systems that ensure safe and powerful operation throughout the operating life. The system has a maximum storage capacity of 22.6 kW-hrs and is capable of delivering a peak electric power of 200 kW (500 Amps at 400 Volts) throughout the charge depleting range of operation. The Advanced Lithium Power battery pack has been designed for the rigorous requirements of the automotive environment, and is a full "plug and play unit" utilizing all advanced vehicle communications software. The battery pack uses inherently safe cell chemistry and has been designed with multiple levels of software and hardware features to ensure optimal performance while providing the highest levels of safety features.

Powertrain Electric Traction
The power dense dual motor traction drive is capable of delivering a peak output mechanical power of 300 kW (408 hp) and a peak torque of 1300 Nm (959 Ft-lb) to the input of the differential. In Sport mode this provides for a high performance luxury sport sedan acceleration time of 0 to 60 mph (0-100 km/h) in less than 6 seconds. The sustained (electronic limited) top speed is 125 mph (200 km/h).


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  • 31 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      All the best to them. I really hope companies like Fisker and Tesla rise up and succeed.


      ...and how many billions (trillions?) in subsidies have we given 'the big three' to give us the umm... Volt in 2010?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Fisker is a major supplier to GM, Ford, and the US military. They are partially owned by Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies, Worldwide, which has stakes in major solar panel plants in the US, Germany, and Japan. If you really like the company, and think that it's poised for success, they are publicly traded under the ticker "QTWW".
        • 6 Years Ago
        And my comment wasn't intended to turn the discussion into yet more Detroit bashing.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Fisker>Tesla

        Why?

        Because the Karma is a car much closer to reality for more people. It seats four, it's much cheaper and gasoline backup FTW! You don't dare get more than 100 miles from home in a Tesla because you'll end up stuck. You can't just charge up a car anywhere you feel like it and even if you can, you have to wait a long time before you can drive again.
        • 6 Years Ago
        My comment wasn't necessarily to pit the products against one another, rather to wish these companies well considering what mainstream success requires.

        To me, if companies like these that bring such products to fruition with VC$ alone, I'd much rather see government $ go to them and not to sustaining 'zombie' companies like 'the big 3.'
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh my God... i want that... that is the shiznet... being a jag fan... how about the next xk being a plug in hybrid
      • 6 Years Ago
      I really don't like the grille, but it's a gorgeous car otherwise.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It is amazing history that is. Eletric cars are such a old idea which we had ages ago near the begining of the car revoltuion. Do any of you remmber the 70's or 80's gas crisis. Turbo's for everyone or the gas turbine engine of yesteryear. During those times americans became so green. Why is it when crisis strikes we americans get green thumbs. Now that gas is dirt cheap people are starting to go back to normal. Point is there is not going to be a replacement for fossil fuels for a long time. Hybrids seem pointless to be honest, they cost more even a prius is expensive for what you get. Just so you can sqeeze out an extra couple mpg over a 1.5 liter gas power car. The only draw to any of these is the image that is sold, I'm green and helping the environment oh ya and my car cost more.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed to the max I'm just tired of americans hoping on to band wagons no one cared about c02 emmisions and fuel consumption till things got bad while most smart buyers like myself have always bought cars based on economy and performance not name and status.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Considering it's a hybrid with a GM engine, maybe Wagoner should drive this to D.C. this week.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's gorgeous. Well aside from the grill ha. The back is especially good looking.
      • 6 Years Ago
      i know people are gonna bash the grille, but this is one good looking car! sign me up!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think it looks sweet...but only 125mph!? hahaha. I've gone faster in a neon with only 132hp.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Fisker himself said that retaining the prototype design language was the whole point. He (and everyone frankly) hates being shown a beautiful concept car then getting a disgusting looking production version. I won't name names but I think we can all think of a few examples of the bait and switch.

        If he actually gets this car to market, (I would have put this around 5% chance last year this time) some smart person will have to explain how an (essentially) unknown person/company can put a beautiful, practical, luxury hybrid on the road in 3 years. I don't know a lot about the car industry, but couldn't one of the big three have done this? Why haven't they done this? I've known about this car exactly as long as everyone else here, and I assume the insiders in the industry have known longer than that. Why didn't someone say...yeah, a beautiful hybrid, there's a thought, lets do that!!?

        Anyway, they redid the back end so it looks better. I thought it looked a little disjointed before. If the interior is equally impressive they've sold me. You know except for the part where i test drive it and see if it fits.


        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, sign me up for a loan I can't get!

        I want to spend money I don't have!
        • 6 Years Ago
        lol, it's cool.. i work on Wall St. The gov't will take care of it
      • 6 Years Ago
      That car is beautiful! I love its low profile. I wish they made more 4 door cars with that height and stance.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't care what anyone says, it's gorgeous, menacing grin and all!
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Combined with the hybrid system's 22.6 kWh electric motor"

      As the press release should have clued you, motors aren't rated in kWh. That's the storage system's capacity.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Fisker will show a new front end in Detroit next month. They're just wetting your appetite with a view of the ass-end today.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am not a fan of that front grille. Looks like an awkward teenager with braces. (Ugly Betty).

      But I love the profile and it has a really nice a$$, err, uh, rear view. Too bad at the speeds this car will be capable of, not many people will ever see it's rear view.
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