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Fisker's good Karma four-door

2008-12-04 10:15
 This is the forthcoming Fisker Karma. Odd name, b

This is the forthcoming Fisker Karma. Odd name, but its designed by the bloke on the left, Henrik Fisker, who also penned the Aston Martin DB9 before deciding to build his own range of cars…

The Detroit auto show, mirroring its domestic auto industry, might be dead in the water, but one US auto maker is sure to wow loyal show goers come January 2009.

Brainchild of Danish designer, Henrik Fisker, the Karma was designed in Southern California - currently the hub of good looking, driver orientated, enviromentally friendly cars.

Good for your Karma and your image

The styling drew gasps from show goers at the Detroit show this year when Karma was initially unveiled.

Production car prototypes now feature an aluminium and composite body surface; in aesthetic terms it easily has the measure of the Porsche Panamera and quite possibly the Aston Martin Rapide too…When the revised car is shown in January 2009, is should sport a bespoke, production ready interior too.

The Karma employs a cutting edge space frame chassis design, intended to minimise weight and provide optimal torsional rigidity. Exhaust outlets are directly behind the front wheels to optimise aerodynamic efficiency.

Other neat design touches aimed at achieving optimal efficiency include, an optional full length solar panel embedded roof and full brake regeneration system on all wheels. Somehow we doubt the concept car will retain its 22-inch wheels when finally delivered to customers.

Beneath the gorgeous styling is a drivetrain to power the Karma into an environmentally friendly future. It features a petrol/electric hybrid set-up good for 80km range on pure battery power. Fisker estimates drivers who commute about 80km per day and charge overnight should average 2.4l/100km.

Quick enough

The Karma features a Q-drive system. A 191kW - GM sourced - 2l turbomotor charges the lithium ion battery pack, powering the electric motor and turning the rear wheels. Combined dual electric power output is good for 300kW.

Performance at full power is swift enough, 0-100km/h in six seconds and a top speed of 200km/h.

Fisker’s Karma will be assembled by Finish contract producer Valmet Automotive – who produce the Porsche Boxster and Cayman with the kind of technical proficiency and labour efficiency that practically saved Porsche’s bacon in the late 1990s.

Initial deliveries to customers are expected by November 2009. Yearly volume is anticipated to reach 15 000 cars per year – priced at $87 900.

Tesla issues?

The Karma was mired in controversy recently, when fellow Californian electric performance car concern, Tesla, took Fisker to court.

Allegations revolved around Fisker’s consultancy work done for Tesla on its own, forthcoming, S electric sedan.

Tesla claimed Fisker was diverting the primary technical gains in hybrid drive technology for its Karma, delivering a substandard engineering and design solution for the S. When the initial ruling went in favour of Fisker, Tesla discontinued legal action early in November.


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