• Mar 28, 2011
2012 Fisker Karma – Click above for high-res image gallery

A very recent conversation with people who would know of such things revealed that Fisker Automotive firmly intends to use a lighter weight dedicated three- or four-cylinder inline engine in the next generation of Fisker cars after the range of Karma variants and Delaware-built Project Nina models have all been launched.

So, rather than the 255-horsepower four-cylinder "LNF" 2.0-liter turbocharged GM Ecotec engine in the current Karma that weighs around 360 pounds, next-gen Fiskers will carry instead 200- to 250-pound turbocharged three-cylinder engines to create more than adequate energy to feed the lithium-ion battery pack.

One clear candidate drawing a lot of client attention is the Lotus Engineering 1.2-liter three-cylinder range-extending engine to be produced in Spain with Fagor Ederlan Group. The chief advantage to a dedicated extender engine is the lower weight versus a normal series four-cylinder pulled from the parts bin. This lightening will automatically add range to any electric vehicle.




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  • 18 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Makes sense. Less weight allows for better dynamics, range and performance. I wonder if they need 260hp to keep the car performing. If not, can think of several "off the shelf" small 4 cyl engines that would have be lighter than the turbo 2.0.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm pretty surprised that none of the automakers have partnered with a company like Yamaha, Briggs & Stratton or Caterpillar to produce an engine dedicated to serve as a generator. The basics of the engine being an ICE is still the same companies like there have more experience building an ICE that operates at a constant RPM and is more finely tuned to operate at the speed. I especially would have thought Honda would be at the forefront of this kind of hybrid technology. Then again, Honda seems to have lost the plot somewhere back in the 90s.
        • 3 Years Ago
        And Honda had such a nice plot too, oh well...
      • 3 Years Ago
      If the current and the past are any indication, the only certainty about the "Future" of any Fisker is that it will be delayed and requires more funding.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Where are the miniature jet-turbine engines? A very small compact, light weight motor that turns extremely high RPM's. It also has many fewer parts than a piston engine and can easily run many types of fuel. I remember reading an article about someone who used one in an extended range EV, and made it so quiet, you couldn't even hear it run.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Car companies looked at gas turbines for 30 years.

        Axial turbines just aren't efficient at low power outputs and at high power outputs they are loud.

        I can't see a jet-turbine ending up in a car soon.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Micro turbines is exactly what Jaguar is proposing for it's "electric" supercar concept C-X75.

        http://www.autoblog.com/2010/09/29/jaguar-c-x75-concept/
        • 3 Years Ago
        sorry, I need to clarify.

        I meant that an on-board fuel-to-electrical generation system of any kind, not solely turbine-driven, would be the only way for an electric-drive car to match the range and re-fuel characteristics of an ICE-mechanical driven car.

        On-board generation solves some of battery capacity's biggest problems.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @spin-cycle,

        That was old tech, and they were trying to drive the vehicle mechanically from the turbine engine's output shaft.

        A steady-state turboshaft driving an APU-like generator, solely for electrical generation is completely disassociated with the wheel-speed.

        It doesn't swill fuel at high rates when idle, because it wouldn't idle. It would either be generating electricity, or off.

        It doesn't cause problems with throttle response for ground speed, because the turbine throttle would not be related to ground speed at all.

        It may be somewhat loud, but acoustics and materials for making air diffusers have come a long way that could muffle that sound to an acceptable level. Meanwhile electric-only cars are having to make their own noise artificially, which is a waste of electricity.

        A turbine engine that can burn gas, diesel, kerosene, propane, or almost anything, and used as a power-plant only makes some sense, and is likely the only way for a car with electric drive to exhibit the same fuel range and re-fueling considerations that a normal car would.

        That is about the only way for an electric-motor driven car to have a 200-400 mile range, and an empty to full refuel time under 15 minutes, to be ready for another few hundred miles.

        I have long been suspect about the theory of putting only a little fuel, through a small engine, to generate electricity at a high enough rate, to supply an electric driveline that outputs more kinetic energy than the fuel-burning engine that is connected to the generator.

        Less in = more out over the same range, doesn't seem to be a very logical equation. The range would still have to be significantly short,

        The range-extender engine would still have to be supplanted with direct electrical charging from an external source, which takes hours, rather than minutes.

        Batteries are still about 10x heavier compared to most liquid fuels, in terms of fuel tank weight compared to battery weight to produce the same driving results in terms of distance under the same driving conditions.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Looks like a z8
        • 3 Years Ago
        Of course it does. Fisker designed the Z8 (the Z07 concept) when he was at BMW.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not to be a hater...but doesn't this sound like just another monthly newsbite to keep their deposit holders (and financiers) engaged, from the company that's delayed launch more than 4 times? Don't get me wrong - I love the car and everything (on paper at least) that it brings but I'm growing tired of the constant riff-raff and projections from Mr. Fisker.

      Is this the Elon effect?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Since when is keeping potential customers updated a bad thing? You sound spoiled, like some baby boomer asking "where's my flying car?" You haven't even stop to absorb what this small upstart company has done in 3 years, what took a bigger billion dollar company 4+ years to do. Of course they'll have snags along the way, but Fisker has produced far more than vaporware since the concepts inception more so than Tesla's Concept S. Production has already started. what else are you looking to bit*ch about?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Fisker like Tesla is all PR and zero actual car production/sales at this point. To me, this story indicates that they have not left the prototype stage yet.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am very interested to see how Fisker is going to do the same job with a ~100HP engine that they currently do with a 200+HP engine. This just seems like being overly hopeful to me.

      If I were Fisker and about to release my car getting about 25mpg (in range-extended mode) I'd be taking up how I planned on making it more efficient later too.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm just waiting to see Fiskers on the road in Corvette-like volumes, to say nothing of 3-series volumes.
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