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Fisker Karma Aluminum Space Frame – Click above for high-res image

Fisker Automotive has finally taken the digital wraps off of the advanced aluminum space frame that the Karma plug-in hybrid (PHEV) will be built around. In lieu of enjoying a new concept vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show this week, Fisker fans will have to make due with this peek at the bones of the Karma, the part that gives the luxury car its "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." The frame is made with 5,000- and 6,000-series aluminum alloys, which the all-knowing Wiki says are "suitable for cryogenic applications and low temperature work. However is susceptible to corrosion above 60°C" (the 5,000-series) and are made with magnesium and silicon alloys, "are easy to machine, and can be precipitation hardened, but not to the high strengths that 2000, and 7000 can reach" (the 6,000-series). Now you know.

You can read the original press release announcing the aluminum space frame here.

[Source: Fisker]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't like the idea of using aluminum for the structure of cars mainly because of how soft the metal is. Stainless steel is much better.

      Older vehicles were lighter in the past without modern alloys. The original Suburban weighed only 2,675 pounds!
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Karma's space frame is joined with 79 meters of precision CMT MIG welds and 1,058 self-piercing rivets."


      To me that dosn't sound like cool tech.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If you notice the section sizes are very large, which restricts the interior size of the occupant cabin and passenger comfort. Also, corrosion is a very serious problem unless special costly coatings are applied.

      Stainless steel chassis have a much better technology using new malleable materials, which would have a comparable weight and cost, but much smaller section size.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a timely article -- a friend is building an airplane in his basement *from scratch*, and it uses 6061-T6 in 0.025" and 0.032" sheets, primarily. The whole plane has a dry weight of 620 pounds (including the 4-cylinder engine)! I'm thinking of using this building technique to build an EV.

      Typo patrol: "Know you know." I think this should be "Now you know."

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah. It's so frustrating when items in our back-end software make typos hard to see (for whatever reason) but they're so blatant on the site. Thanks for noting it, and it's been fixed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Fisker fans will have to make due"

        That should be"make do", as in "To manage to get along with the means available".

        Fisker in December indicated Valmet would begin production of Karmas in May 2010. I know their low-volume production is not like GM's Volt with years of "Integration Vehicle Engineering Release" and pre-production testing, nevertheless the clock is ticking.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Can't wait to see these on the streets...

      (disclaimer: I own shares in QTWW)
      • 4 Years Ago
      I remember some time ago a bunch of students built a F1 car using vegetables, could this be used in regular autos?

      http://cars.uk.msn.com/news/articles.aspx?cp-documentid=147864991