The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid luxury sports sedan revealed on 14 January 2008
at the North American International Auto Show. It is the first car from Fisker Automotive,
a joint venture of Quantum Technologies and Fisker Coachbuild, LLC, announced on
5 September 2007. Fisker Automotive plans to have Valmet Automotive manufacture 75-100
cars for testing in 2010 with mass production in February 2011. The car is anticipated
to have a PHEV-50, 50-mile (80 km) all-electric range, and sell for US $87,900.
The Karma is powered by Quantum Technologies’ Q-Drive technology, an innovative petrol
engine/electric motor combination; Q-Drive is a series hybrid system meaning that
the engine is mated with a generator to provide an electrical connection to the motors
and also recharge the batteries and as such the electric motors are the only mechanical
driving force connected to the wheels.
As a factory option the Karma can be fitted with a solar paneled roof not only to
aid in the recharging of its Lithium-Ion batteries but also to aid the cabin climate
control system. The solar roof is capable of generating a half kilowatt-hour a day
and is estimated to provide up to 4 to 5 miles (6.4–8.0 km) of additional range a
week assuming continuously sunny days. Additionally, the car will offer a set of
solar panels for the garage/house which may charge the Karma entirely ‘off the grid’.
Although Fisker Automotive has yet to release solid statistics regarding Karma’s
fuel economy, the company estimates the average driver will only have to refill the
fuel tank annually provided they do not drive more than 50 miles (80 km) a day. Fisker
Automotive has also suggested that when in ’sport-hybrid’ mode the Karma will be
capable of 100 miles per US gallon (2.4 l/100 km) of fuel consumed for a range of
300 miles (480 km). Despite its eco-friendly background the Karma features a 125
mph (201 km/h) top speed and is capable of reaching 60 mph (97 km/h) from a standstill
in 5.8 seconds.
The Karma’s two 201 brake horsepower (204 PS) motors produce 1,300 newton metres
(960 ft·lbf) of torque, more than the Bugatti Veyron at 1,250 N·m (920 ft·lbf).