Making its public driving debut over the weekend was Fisker's Karma plug-in hybrid electric vehicle or PHEV for short. The Karma, which is one of the most anticipated newcomers this year, was driven at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races.
Pushing the car to its limits was Fisker Automotive co-founder and COO Bernhard Koehler who drove the Karma up to a top speed of 100mph or 160 km/h. CEO Henrik Fisker said that the demonstration was a "significant milestone" for Fisker Automotive and PHEV technology.
He added that the future of clean cars is bright. The Karma, a 403-horsepower sports saloon, can drive up to 50 miles or 80 km on a full-charge of the lithium ion battery pack and has a total range of 300 miles or around 480 km when employing the on-board generator that is powered by a 260 hp four-cylinder gasoline engine sourced from General Motors.
The two electric motors that drive the rear wheels develop a combined output of 403-horsepower allowing the Karma to reach 60mph (96 km/h) in under 6.0 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph or 201 km/h. The Karma, which is priced at $87,900, will be on sale by the end of the year.
Designed and engineered by Quantum at its Advanced Vehicle Concepts Center in Lake Forest, California, the Karma PHEV's Q-Drive powertrain develops up to 959 foot-pounds of a peak torque. Laden with an array of advances in electric drive architecture and energy storage as well as control strategies, the Karma also features a great combo of a conventional four-cylinder gasoline engine developing up to 260hp and an on-board generator powered by a lithium-ion battery – providing a total range of around 300 miles.
Alone, a full-charged generator allows the Karma to travel up to 50 miles in all-electric mode. Alan P. Niedzwiecki, president and chief executive of Quantum, remarked that their team boasts of over a decade of experience in developing innovative technologies for high volume production.
He added that Quantum is pleased about the development and validation of the Q-Drive platform that should be able to deliver an impressive mix of performance, range and efficiency. Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. is a fully integrated alternative energy company that is considered as one of the leaders in the development and production of advanced propulsion systems and alternative fuel vehicles, as well as energy storage technologies.
The company boasts of capabilities in the areas of powertrain engineering, vehicle manufacturing and system integration, allowing it to deliver fast-to-market solutions to support production of a wide range of vehicles like: hybrid and plug-in hybrid, fuel cell, alternative fuel and hydrogen-powered hybrid as well as specialty vehicles.
Quantum also offers solutions for modular, transportable hydrogen refueling stations. It also offers a number of advanced technologies including: lithium-ion battery systems, hybrid electric drive systems, electronic controls and hydrogen storage and metering systems as well as alternative fuel technologies.
The company's customer base includes automotive OEMs, dealer networks and fleets. Its customer base also includes military and other government entities, aerospace industry, and other strategic alliance partners.