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The Car Connection
The 2012 Fisker Karma is the first vehicle from a brand-new car company, and that's an accomplishment in and of itself. Given its six-figure base price, it has less electronic gadgetry than competing vehicles--though it offers several standard features that no competitor can match at any price, including its range-extended electric powertrain and the solar roof covered in photovoltaic cells.
The Karma offers only a single powertrain, and all models are fitted with 22-inch alloy wheels with specially developed Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar low-profile tires. Bi-xenon headlamps and LED exterior lighting are standard, and all interior lighting is by LEDs as well.
The 10.2-inch "Command Center" touch-screen display on the center console includes not only the display for the navigation system and the rear-view camera, but also controls for the sound system, climate control, and infotainment functions like the Bluetooth mobile-device connectivity and devices connected through the USB port. The standard audio is a 100-Watt six-speaker system, with a premium eight-speaker, 295-Watt system including a subwoofer offered as an option. The front seats are six-way power adjustable, and dual-zone automatic climate control is standard with heated front and rear seats (to reduce power demands and maximize electric range during cold weather).
The Fisker Karma can be ordered in eight different exterior colors, all of them using "Diamond Dust" metallic paint features up to 55 percent recycled glass flakes mixed into the color pigment, along with an invisible reflective layer that prevents transmission of the infrared rays that heat the car's interior in direct sunlight.
The main options are in the interior trim, which comes in three levels. The EcoStandard interior features simulated leather, dyed black, although Fisker believes the bulks of its buyers will opt for the EcoSport interior that upgrades the upholstery to real leather. The company uses much more of each hide--a full 85 percent--than other makers, leaving any scars and marks from the animal as part of the hide--less wasteful, but also a touch of authenticity. The low-volume EcoChic interior contains no animal products, and replaces the leather with simulated suede and various cloth fabrics, including a velvet-like surface and a woven, textured fabric that approaches the feel of brocade. The fibers for all of those EcoChic materials are, Fisker says, entirely recycled from post-industrial sources. There are seven interior color combinations.
While Fisker offers what is probably the largest-diameter wheel of any production sedan in the world, the company recognizes that some of its buyers may live in snowy climates. It offers an optional package of 21-inch wheels with winter tires, complete with snow chains for maximum traction--perhaps reflecting founder Henrik Fisker's Danish background.
A 110-Volt charging cord comes standard with the Karma, and Fisker dealers will coordinate with third-party installers for a 240-Volt Level 2 charging station for those owners who want one for overnight charging. A completely empty battery pack will take 6 to 14 hours to recharge, depending on charging voltage, through the onboard 3.3-kilowatt charger.
Recycled chic is the theme to the Karma's interior, but its features aren't anything unusual in the $100,000 luxury-car class.