Fisker announced today that it will be using General Motors' engines in its upcoming Karma plug-in hybrid vehicle, which will have a 50-mile electric-only range before the internal combustion engine kicks in to top up the batteries. The 2.0L direct injection, turbocharged four-cylinder Ecotec gasoline engine will deliver 260 horsepower, and Fisker has already confirmed the electric part of the drivetrain will be supplied by Quantum Technologies. Fisker also revealed that is considering sourcing several additional GM vehicle components to enhance the Karma.
Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker said that he was "confident that this is the beginning of an important partnership between GM and Fisker in developing the most desirable fuel efficient vehicles of the future." Apparently, GM's ongoing work with extended range electric vehicles was a large motivating factor in helping the partnership to develop.
Despite allegations of design theft from Tesla, which Fisker managed to beat comprehensively, Fisker’s plans for the Karma are gaining momentum with the announcement that independent vehicle manufacturer Valmet will start constructing the car in Finland next year.
The Karma's entry into the market will be interesting, as it will appear in a similar time frame to other hotly anticipated four-door sports cars, such as Porsche's Panamera and the Aston Martin Rapide. With less horsepower and likely slower performance, the Karma will be relying on its handsome design and low fuel consumption to entice potential customers. However, Porsche's Panamera will also be getting a hybrid variant, although this will likely be a couple of years after the Karma has come to market.
For now, initial domestic deliveries of the Karma will commence in the fourth quarter of 2009 in North America with planned delivery to Europe in 2010. Annual production is projected to reach 15,000 cars, with more than half of these sales expected to be overseas.