The Fisker Karma is 16.5 feet long and tips the scales at 5,300 pounds. Sounds more like a 1960s Lincoln than an extended-range green machine capable of 32 miles on electric power alone, doesn't it? Actually, if you ask the Environmental Protection Agency, the Karma is a lot more like a subcompact.
That's because the Karma features interior volume of less than 100 cubic feet, and Auto Observer reminds us that the EPA classifies vehicles based on cabin volume. This odd determinant of vehicle size means that the Aston Martin Rapide, Ford Mustang and the Bentley Continental Convertible are all subcompacts. If that makes no sense to you, you're not alone. Automakers have long used the overall exterior length to classify vehicle size.
As you can imagine, Fisker isn't all that thrilled with the EPA's subcompact label or its methodology for determining fuel economy. The automaker claims that the EPA used a worst-case scenario to come up with 32 miles on electric power, and the company maintains it is certain that the Karma can travel 50 miles without using any gasoline. Overall, the Karma received a rating of 52 mpge due to the fact that it averaged just 20 miles per gallon on gas-only power during EPA testing.