2009 fisker karma plug in hybrid live 13

2009 fisker karma plug in hybrid live 13

This week the 2012 Fisker Karma cleared its last hurdle for sale in the U.S., having finally received emission certification and fuel economy ratings from the EPA and thus allowing dealers to begin selling the car.

However, the story is not all good.

The Karma appears to have fallen short of several of Fisker’s original performance claims for the car, according to the EPA at least.    

The 2012 Fisker Karma in electric only mode is rated at a combined 52 MPGe, the EPA’s newly formulated methodology for rating electric cars. Essentially, this unit reflects how far an electric car will run on the same amount of battery energy as is contained in one gallon of gasoline.

Firstly, you’ll note that the Karma’s 52 MPGe rating is well short of the Nissan Leaf’s 99 MPGe rating and the Chevrolet Volt’s 93 MPGe figure. Secondly, in electric only mode, the Karma will only take you 32 miles according to the EPA, well short of the Leaf’s 73 miles and the Volt’s 35 miles. Fisker, however, still stands by its claims that you’ll get at least 50 miles of electric only running.

Once its batteries are depleted, the Karma, like the Volt, kicks into range-extender mode where a small internal combustion engine acts as a generator and is used to top up the batteries. The real shocker is that in this mode, the Karma will only return 20 miles to the gallon. That’s right, the same as one of its V-8 powered rivals.

That little tidbit was revealed by Fisker's director of global communications, Roger Ormisher, in an interview with GreenCarReports.

To be fair, the 2012 Fisker Karma is the first product from a startup yet is still a very capable and fully fledged luxury sedan with decent performance and zero emissions when driven for short distances. We just hope that Fisker’s next model, the U.S. built Project Nina, will improve substantially on these numbers.