The Karma is a range extended electric vehicle or series hybrid driven by a pair of 120 kW (161 hp) electric motors that receive power from a 20.1 kWh lithium ion battery and/or an engine powered generator. Once the battery is depleted, or when the driver activates the "Sport" paddle on the steering wheel, the front-mounted 260-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged gasoline engine powers a generator that sends electricity directly to the drive motors. The battery can also be charged from the grid, making the vehicle a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
The Karma's engine is mated with a generator to provide an electrical connection to the motors and also recharge the batteries, and as such the electric motors are the only mechanical driving force connected to the wheels. The Karma is always electrically driven; the gasoline engine powers only the generator. Slip into the elegantly tailored driver’s seat, engage “stealth” mode, and you can motor to the future with little more than a hum from the powertrain. Tugging the “sport” paddle to the left of the steering wheel brings additional energy to bear. When the gasoline engine kicks in to supplement the battery pack’s wattage—to trim the 0-60-mph run from 7.9 seconds to 5.9, or to add 250 miles to the driving range—the extra thrust is accompanied by the whistle of a turbo spooling up, the snarl of angry exhaust gas.
The propulsion system, the Brembo brakes, the 22-inch cast aluminum wheels, and the aluminum suspension components are supported by an aluminum space frame stitched together with 260 feet of welds and a thousand or so rivets. The Karma’s aluminum skin is finished with a solar-cell roof (to aid the cabin climate control system) a composite decklid, and plastic bumpers.
Considering its low-slung and curvaceous flanks, the Karma provides surprisingly easy entry and cozy accommodations for four grown-ups. A 10.2-inch screen replaces the usual forest of tiny infotainment buttons with audible, visual, and tactile responses to touch commands. Trim is nice, thanks to fine detailing and lovely custom touches. The top EcoChic edition such as this cas is an animal-free showcase of high-end textiles, faux suede, and rescued California wildfire hardwood.
The Karma's two 204 PS motors produce 1,300 newton metres (960 lbf⋅ft) of torque, giving the Karma a quoted horsepower of 403 HP. The Karma features a 125 mph (201 km/h) top speed and is capable of reaching 60 mph (97 km/h) from a standstill in 6.3 seconds.
In terms of handling, the Karma’s steering is has real road feel and linear turn-in response. The ride is supple, and there’s minimal body roll; the low-mounted, 600-pound battery pack helps. Even though the rear wheels carry 53 percent of the Karma’s mass, it understeers. The brakes are calibrated to convert excess momentum into the maximum amount of charging energy.
The Fisker Karma was revealed at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It is the first car from Fisker Automotive, a then new auto maker based in Anaheim, California, founded on 5 September 2007.
Production began in July 2011, and the first two deliveries took place in the United States on 26 July 2011. In October 2011 the first Karma delivered in the UK was auctioned to benefit Pratham UK and raised a bid of £140,000 (around US$220,000).
Deliveries to retail customers in the U.S. began in November 2011. In the United States the first vehicles were sold for US$95,900 for the basic model, and US$109,850 for the top model. In December 2011 prices were raised to US$102,000 for the base EcoStandard model, and US$116,000 for the top model, the EcoChic.
Over 2,000 Karmas were delivered to customers in North America and Europe through December 2012, of which, around 200 were delivered in 2011 and approximately 1,800 in 2012. About 1,600 units were sold in the United States through December 2013. A total of 533 units were sold in Europe through December 2014. The Netherlands was the top selling European market for the Karma, with 166 units sold through June 2013. A total of 55 Karmas were sold in Switzerland through June 2013, 52 in Belgium through November 2012, and 44 in France through December 2014.
Following the sale to Chinese company Wanxiang of assets, designs, rights to a plug-hybrid powertrain, and a manufacturing facility in Delaware, the new owners in September 2016 commenced production under the name Karma Automotive. After several announcements by Wanxiang Group to reintroduce an upgraded version of the Fisker Karma, it has been renamed the Karma Revero and launched with booking scheduled.
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