Fisker KarmaEnlarge Photo
Upstart automaker Fisker doesn't grab as many headlines as the brasher, snazzier Tesla, to which it is frequently compared. But that may change with the release of efficiency stats for the 2010 Fisker Karma: an impressive 67 miles per gallon, with CO2 emissions around 83g/km (134g/mile).
That sounds great for a luxury four-door sedan, although the numbers aren't quite as clear-cut as they seem. The Karma is a hybrid -- or as people often call it, a range-extended electric vehicle. Like the Chevy Volt, the Fisker Karma is powered by an electric motor, and the batteries drive that motor get recharged in one of two ways: via plug-in when parked, or by a range-extending gas engine when on-the-go. Also like the Volt, the Karma has an electric-only range of about 40 miles. Which means that, as our own John Voelcker points out, calculating the Karma's "real" efficiency is as problematic as the Volt's. (We think we see a trend emerging.)
General Motors published a 230mpg figure for the Volt, based on certain EPA standards, while Fisker used an alternate formula developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers. In both cases the results are debatable, given that driving habits vary widely from person to person. For example, those who travel less than the Karma's 40-mile range and recharge every night may never touch gas. Those who travel further and rely more heavily on the range-extending gas engine may earn the vehicle's stated 67mpg. And those who employ the Karma's "performance mode", which draws even more power from the motor, may fare even worse.
That said, for a luxury sedan that hits 60mph in under six seconds and rings in at a respectable (for a luxury model) $87,000, even a rough 67mpgs is enough to get our hearts racing.