- Feb 17, 2010
Geneva Preview: Fisker Karma's "advanced aluminum space frame"
Fisker Karma – Click above for high-res image gallery
At the Chicago Auto Show last week, Fisker Automotive brought along the Karma Sunset with a new black exterior we hadn't seen before. For the Geneva Motor Show that starts in a few weeks, the automaker is going in the other direction and will be showing off the "advanced aluminum space frame" that underpins the Karma and gives the plug-in hybrid car "new levels of rigidity and strength" for "world-class ride and handling characteristics." Here's how Fisker describes the frames, which will be made by Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki, Finland, in a statement:
Maybe at the New York Auto Show in March we'll get to see the Karma's raw materials. Nah, only joking. There's more information after the jump.Though it forms the foundation of a large sedan, the Karma space frame's rigidity is exceptional even when compared to today's sports cars. By utilizing 5,000- and 6,000-series aluminum alloys and a unique extrusion-intensive architecture, the Fisker engineering team achieved the best balance between weight and size.
FISKER AUTOMOTIVE TO DEBUT KARMA ADVANCED ALUMINUM SPACE FRAME AT GENEVA MOTOR SHOW
IRVINE, CA – February 17, 2010: The advanced aluminum space frame underpinning the Fisker Karma incorporates new levels of rigidity and strength that will give the world's first premium plug-in hybrid electric vehicle world-class ride and handling characteristics. It will debut at the Geneva Motor Show March 2-14, 2010.
Fisker Automotive's talented and experienced engineering team designed the Karma's space frame around the car's unique Q-DRIVE® series-hybrid powertrain, filing for multiple patents in the process. Q-DRIVE® consists of a 2.0-liter turbocharged ECOTEC® engine/generator set, a lithium-ion battery pack from A123 Systems, and a rear-mounted 403hp traction motor assembly.
Though it forms the foundation of a large sedan the Karma space frame's rigidity is exceptional even when compared to today's sports cars. By utilizing 5,000- and 6,000- series aluminum alloys and a unique extrusion-intensive architecture, the Fisker engineering team achieved the best balance between weight and size.
"Our top priorities when we designed the Karma's aluminum space frame were that it have extremely high torsional rigidity and could be easily modified to accept Karma model variants," explained Henrik Fisker, CEO, Fisker Automotive. "We benchmarked some of the world's best cars to create an all-new space frame that will deliver an exhilarating experience behind the wheel.
A super-structural tunnel running down the car's centerline acts as the Karma's backbone. It not only houses the battery pack but acts as a torque tube connecting front and rear sections. For optimal strength the Karma's space frame is joined with 79 meters of precision CMT MIG welds and 1,058 self-piercing rivets. Each technique is used independently only where necessary to ensure top quality and durability.
The result is an industry-leading space frame that provides a solid foundation for the Karma. Few cars match its statistics: Static torsional rigidity – the amount the space frame resists twisting forces when entering a ramp at an angle, for example – measures more than 33,000 Newton-meters per degree (Nm/deg). Static bending rigidity – the amount the space frame resists flexing forces as the car enters a ramp straight on, for example – measures more than 23,000 N/mm. Dynamic stiffness – the space frame's resistance to resonant vibrations like those felt when driving over a sharp bump or rough road surfaces -- is also world class.
Thanks to intelligent engineering solutions the Karma's space frame also provides the utmost in occupant safety and exceeds global crash protection standards.
Front impact protection starts with a patent-pending, multi-cell tempered aluminum crush box that displaces high-impact energy away from passengers. Its unique design allows it to be easily replaced, reducing repair costs that could lower insurance premiums. Dual Phase 600-Series steel reinforced components in the doors and B- pillars provide substantial side impact protection. And the lithium-ion battery's location in the center of the car puts it farthest from impact areas.
Valmet Automotive will assemble the space frames at its state-of-the-art facility in Uusikaupunki, Finland.
ABOUT FISKER AUTOMOTIVE, INC.
Fisker Automotive is a privately owned, premium American car company with a vision to lead the automotive industry into the next-generation of automobiles with high-end design expertise and eco-friendly powertrain technology. Global headquarters are in Irvine, California, USA.
The company was created in 2007 to leverage the design capabilities of Fisker Coachbuild, LLC, founded by auto design veterans Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler, and the PHEV powertrain capabilities of Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. (NASDAQ-QTWW), a major Tier 1 supplier of clean vehicle technologies to the automotive OEMs. Previously, Fisker, CEO, was design director for Aston Martin and president and CEO of BMW's DesignworksUSA. Koehler, COO, led operations for Ford's Global Advanced Design Studio and created concept cars for Aston Martin, MINI and BMW.
Fisker Automotive's first car is the Fisker Karma, the world's first premium Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). The four-door Karma will be followed by two variants and a second line of lower cost, high volume premium green automobiles by 2012.