Starting an all-new car company from the ground up is hard enough, but that task becomes exponentially more difficult when your company is building the world’s first plug-in-hybrid luxury sport sedan. Fisker’s
launch of the Karma sedan hasn’t always kept on schedule, but the initial cars are now in owners’ hands and the company seems to be working hard to ensure complete customer satisfaction.
Like the Chevrolet Volt, the 2012 Fisker Karma
is designed to operate on either battery power or on generator power to increase the car’s range. On a fully-charged, 22-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, the EPA says the Karma will take you approximately 32 miles, but its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder then takes over to provide power to the Karma’s two 150-kilowatt (200-horsepower) electric motors.
The net result is that the Karma can then travel up to 200 more miles before running out of gas. Refill the tank, and you’re good for another 200 miles of range. Compared to the similar-technology Chevy Volt, however, the Karma’s fuel economy in generator mode is less than stellar, with the EPA rating the Karma at just 20 mpg when its engine is running.
Also unlike the Volt, the Karma allows users to choose interchangeably between battery power (dubbed “Stealth” mode in Karma-speak) and generator power (what Fisker calls “Sport” mode). As the name implies, Sport mode delivers maximum acceleration, even though the Karma gets no supplemental torque from its internal combustion engine. When the batteries are depleted, the Karma defaults to Sport mode, ensuring that owners enjoy seamless motoring.
The Karma is available in a variety of models, including one dubbed the “EcoChic” that uses no animal products (such as leather) and features recycled materials exclusively in its interior. On the other hand, buyers wanting the ultimate luxury experience can choose leather upholstery from Bridge of Weir, one of the world’s finest leather suppliers.
Style, technology and luxury doesn’t come cheap, and the Karma starts at a base price of $106,000. The available electric-car Federal tax credit will likely drop the price below the $100,000 mark for most buyers, but that’s still quite a bit of money to spend on a luxury sport sedan.
For a complete writeup on the 2012 Fisker Karma, see our comprehensive review on The Car Connection