It takes a keen eye to notice that the first factory-built Fisker Karma differs in any way from the concept version. Still, anyone who gazes long enough may spot the differentiates. Staying true to its concept form, the factory-built Karma plug-in hybrid that hit the stage at the Paris Motor Show retains the concept's massive 22-inch wheels, sensuous styling, 403-plus horsepower rating and the company's promise of achieving 100-plus miles per gallon in regular use. So, what's exactly different about the factory-built version? Well, the most notable exterior modification is the addition of a B pillar, which was apparently required to increase the vehicle's structural rigidity.
Aside from the added pillar, we can't really pick out any differences between the gorgeous concept that we laid eyes on many years ago and this production-ready version. Fisker still lists a base price of $88,000 and anticipates that deliveries will begin early next year, or so it says. We hope to get up close and personal with the Karma at the upcoming LA Auto Show, but for now, hit up that high-res gallery of live shots that just came in from Paris and hop the jump for more info from Fisker.
Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL
FISKER AUTOMOTIVE UNVEILS FIRST FACTORY-BUILT KARMA PLUG-IN HYBRID
PARIS, France – September 30, 2010: Anticipation and excitement has grown at Fisker Automotive and with the general public wanting to see the production Karma. Today, Fisker Automotive unveiled the first factory built luxury plug-in Karma at the Paris Motor Show.
"This vehicle represents our goal of bringing an eco-friendly vehicle founded on the principals of 'Pure Driving Passion' to consumers around the world," said CEO Henrik Fisker.
The message has always been clear - designing a beautiful vehicle utilizing innovative technology provides freedom to the driver, versus containment - fusing green technology with energy independence. It also involves an unwavering commitment to purity. When sourcing environmentally conscious and sustainable materials, if Fisker designers and engineers felt the existing technologies did not meet their exacting standards, they developed new, superior approaches that have resulted in several proprietary designs.
One of these unique technologies is the world's largest continuous solar panel roof for an automobile. This beautiful, sculptural form captures the power of the sun to help power the Karma.
The pursuit of pure design also led Fisker to create one of the most sustainable and accountable interiors in automotive history.
To process the leather for the Karma's interior a 100% sustainable manufacturing strategy is used, resulting in one of the highest yields in the industry. This process is conducted at the world's first energy self-sufficient, closed loop leather manufacturing plant where both gas and electricity are generated on-site from by-products of the leather making process.
The Karma's interior wood wings and accents are also unique and sustainable - sourced from certified fallen, sunken and rescued wood to create a luxurious sensory experience inspired by nature.
Fisker Automotive's commitment to purity throughout the Karma reflects its dedication to introducing sustainability and accountability to luxury automotive design - Responsible Luxury.
To date, Fisker Automotive has nearly 70 patents and patents pending for the Karma - a very good reason to have kept the Karma's technical detail under wraps.
From Concept to Reality, Unchanged
Designed by Fisker Automotive co-founder, CEO and executive design director Henrik Fisker, the four-door, four-passenger Karma combines world-class style with better efficiency and lower emissions than today's best hybrids to deliver an uncompromised, premium vehicle that sets the tone for the future of driving. Mr. Fisker is responsible for designing some of the most desirable and iconic luxury sports cars of the modern era, including the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Aston Martin DB9, BMW Z8 and Artega GT.
With exotic car looks, sports car performance, an achievable annual average economy of 2.4L/100 km (100 mpg) and emissions of just 83g/km, the 300 kW (403 hp/408 PS) Fisker Karma is the only truly responsible alternative to traditionally powered luxury cars.
True to Fisker's goal of bringing the Karma concept to reality in its original form, the production car retains, and even adds to, all of the original concept's elegant design, dramatic proportion and unique features.
"Too often concept cars are just that – concepts," Henrik Fisker said. "As car enthusiasts we wanted to see all that excitement and imagination make it to production. It's what keeps us in love with cars. I feel our team has succeeded in every way."
Most notable is the Karma's athletic appearance. At 4.99 meters (196.7 in) long, 1.98 meters (78.1 in) wide and just 1.33 meters (52.4 in) high, the Karma's final dimensions remain virtually the same as the concept's.
A long hood -- accentuated by a large dash-to-axle ratio -- and short deck give the Karma a timeless silhouette. Its expansive (3.16 m/124.4 in) wheelbase, short (913/923 mm - 35.9/36.3 in f/r) overhangs and wide (1.69/1.70 m - 66.6/67.0 in f/r) track reinforce the Karma's performance orientation even when standing still.
Also retained from the concept are the 22-inch aluminum-alloy 'Circuit Blade' wheels and the world's largest spherically curved, monolithic solar roof panel, which communicate the car's advanced technology and environmental purpose. The Fisker Karma is the first car to be equipped with 22-inch wheels as standard equipment.
In addition, the production Karma keeps the concept's complex parting lines around front and rear fascias, along with the industry's tightest tire-to-wheel arch relationship. These details enhance the Karma's overall design and set it further apart from its competitors.
The most significant visible exterior change is the addition of B-pillars, which increase the Karma's structural rigidity and help it meet global crash protection requirements.
Unique to the segment is the Karma's absence of external window frames between rear door-glass panes, which improves aesthetics and reduces wind noise.
While the Karma Command Center™ -- the industry's first and, at 25 cm (10.2 in), largest haptic feedback touch screen – elegantly consolidates into a single location controls for automatic dual-zone climate, audio/infotainment, phone, navigation and vehicle systems.
Like the concept, the production Karma has a four-seat cockpit with a large center console running from the dashboard to the rear seatback, which houses the rechargeable Lithium ion battery.
This console incorporates intuitive gear selector buttons in place of the original shifter, as well as electric window controls, seat heater switches, storage and four cup holders.
Advanced Technology Plug-in Hybrid Power
Under the skin, Fisker's exclusive Q-Drive® plug-in hybrid electric powertrain technology combines world class performance with industry-leading economy and the lowest emissions.
With 300 kW of power and more than 1,300 Nm (981 lb-ft) of torque at zero rpm the electrically-driven Fisker Karma can quickly reach Autobahn speeds, yet achieve better annual average fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions than nearly any other production car.
Karma drivers will not be concerned about Range Anxiety. By leveraging the world's existing gasoline infrastructure, the Fisker Karma has a total range of 480 km (300 mi).
Eighty kilometers (50 mi) are electric-only and tailpipe-emission free when powered only by its 20 kWh Lithium ion battery, which can be recharged in as little as six hours on standard 240-volt current.
When the battery is depleted, or when the driver engages Sport mode, the Karma's 2.0L, turbocharged four-cylinder Ecotec® gas engine automatically turns a 175 kW generator that sends electricity to two 150 kW (201.5 hp/204 PS) electric traction motors mounted directly to the rear differential.
This single speed gearbox ensures a smooth, constant delivery of power to the wheels without hesitation, all the way to the Karma's top speed of 200 kmh (125 mph).
World Class Manufacturing
While Fisker Automotive is globally headquartered in Southern California, the Karma will be built by Valmet Automotive at its state-of-the-art flexible assembly plant in Finland.
Fisker partnered with Valmet because the 41-year-old company was able to meet Fisker's strict requirements of cost-effectively building 15,000 high quality, advanced technology vehicles per year for international markets.
Since 1969 Valmet has built more than 1.1 million vehicles for demanding customers all over the world, and currently builds Porsche Boxster and Porsche Cayman sports cars for Porsche AG.
The Fisker Karma is the world's first premium plug in hybrid and the embodiment of the design-driven company's firm belief that environmentally conscious cars need not sacrifice passion, style or performance.
ABOUT FISKER AUTOMOTIVE, INC.
Fisker Automotive is an American premium plug-in hybrid electric vehicle manufacturer with a mission to redefine the luxury automobile with an unwavering dedication to sustainability. Global headquarters are in Irvine, California. Acclaimed auto designer Henrik Fisker and industry veteran Bernhard Koehler established the company in 2007 to address the need for environmentally conscious vehicles that deliver passion, style and performance.
Previously, Fisker was design director and a board member for Aston Martin, as well as president and CEO of DesignworksUSA, BMW's North American design arm. Koehler led operations for Ford's Global Advanced Design Studio in London and created concept cars for Aston Martin, MINI and BMW.