Fisker begins production of the Karma plug-in hybrid

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 22, 2011

It’s official! Fisker has finally begun production of the Karma plug-in hybrid and announced that the first production vehicles will roll off the production line, for customers in the United States and Europe, next month. As expected, the $88,000 Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid will be built at the $88,000 Karma plug-in hybrid. Yes, the same plant that builds vehicles for Porsche AG, so do expect a high quality vehicle from Fisker.

Moreover, $88,000 Karma plug-in hybrid said that the manufacturer wants to deliver over 7,000 vehicles to customers, says Autonews.

Still, this number will be increased very slowly, as Fisker wants to keep the quality of its cars. For those who don’t know, Fisker was founded by auto designer Henrik Fisker that worked for Bmw.

Best known among his creations are the Aston Martin DB9, Aston Martin V8 Vantage and BMW Z8. Fisker wants now to mass produce plug-in hybrids as the demand for the cars that use little or no gasoline and emit less pollution linked to climate change.

The Fisker Karma will have few opponents on the market, such as the $109,000 Tesla Roadster, the Nissan Leaf and GM’s 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

The 2009 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) held in Detroit saw the debut of a new luxury hybrid automobile – the 2010 Fisker Karma. This is to be Fisker Automotive, Inc.’s first mass produced car. Fisker is one of the USA’s new companies developing luxury cars powered by green technologies.

The Karma is a 100 mile-per-gallon premium hybrid with a price of at least $87,900 (or $80,400 after the application of government tax incentives). 1,000 units have been reserved for purchase since the 2008 NAIAS where the prototype was first exhibited. The Fisker Automotive Retail network expects to begin shipping these units in the last quarter of 2009.

The Karma is a four-door sedan with four-seat capacity. It is designed by renowned automobile designer Henrik Fisker who is also the company CEO. The classic style is cleverly combined with the Q-DRIVE plug-in hybrid powertrain from Quantum Technologies. This makes the Fisker Karma the very first premium plug-in hybrid ever.

Q-DRIVE: TECHNOLOGICAL WONDER

Available only in Fisker cars, the Q-DRIVE efficiently delivers great power while minimising emissions. Lithium-ion battery packs power a pair of 201hp motors, while a 260hp turbocharged 2.0 liter Ecotec direct injection (D1) connects to the generator. This arrangement ultimately enables very long range drives.

Quantum Technologies CEO Alan Niedzwiecki states that in every single day, greater than 60 percent of the 200 million American motorists drive below a distance of 50 miles. Furthermore, he says, “With Q-DRIVE, the Fisker Karma can do that without using a drop of gas. This proprietary powertrain will provide a base for all future model derivatives from Fisker Automotive.”

Q-DRIVE is capable of either a Stealth Mode or a Sport Mode. The Stealth Mode uses only the electric power so that when charged fully from a typical 110-, 220- or 240V socket, the car can travel a maximum of 50 miles with zero emissions. On the other hand, Sport Mode uses the Ecotec gasoline engine that enables the connected generator to run a pair of electric motors on the rear differential. Range in this mode reaches up to 300 miles. Consequently, the Fisker Karma should potentially post an annual average in excess of 100 miles per gallon.

Performance-wise, the Fisker Karma is capable of up to 125 mph and it goes from 0-60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. This makes it the first true luxury plug-in hybrid sports sedan in the whole world. The low centre of gravity with the impressive A-arm suspension system makes driving the Karma a superb experience. The big, wide tires provide more than sufficient lateral road grip and the electrohydraulic disc brakes stopping power ensures safety.

ELEGANCE AND GRACE

The Fisker Karma’s shape is like a fluid combination of dramatic classic sculptured shapes that represents Fisker’s identity. The stably low bearing and elevated front fenders give the driver a one of a kind impression of its design. Larger front grills and air intakes for better airflow represent the minor design tweaks from the Karma prototype. There is now also a sleek diffuser beneath the rear bumper to help keep the electric drivetrain protected from heating issues. Another Fisker trademark featured here is the huge solar panel glass roof – the biggest one for cars ever made – and recognised as a first in the industry.

Fisker Automotive CEO Henrik Fisker said that from the conceptualization until the final production, the brand seeks to keep a “singular design language” as well as sustain the solidity of the original design, both for the exterior and interior. He also stated that what makes the Fisker Karma stand out are its “extreme proportions, beautiful sculpture and earth-friendly materials.” He is hopeful that as the Karma is capable of offering an “inspiring drive,” it will lead to the creation of a new line of environment-friendly mobility and that it will soon be known as the most highly sought plug-in hybrid sports sedan currently offered in the market.

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