2009 Detroit auto show
Fisker Karma concept
2010 Fisker Karma
2010 Fisker Karma
Fisker Automotive will show its Karma Plug-In Hybrid sedan driving under its own power for the first time—on a racetrack.
The powertrain debut will be more than a ceremonial run for the press and a handful of enthusiasts. The Karma will run right amidst the vintage racing action at the Monterey Historics just a few weeks from now.
When it laps the eleven-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca course at 11:10 a.m. on August 15, it will be the first time a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle (PHEV) appears at the Historics event, according to Fisker.
The Karma's powertrain that will debut at the event has been developed with assistance from Quantum Technologies; the so-called Q-Drive setup—at least in prototype versions—employs a dual-electric-motor drive system that includes three inverters, an advanced lithium-ion battery pack, and a range-extending 2.0-liter, direct-injection Ecotec turbocharged four-cylinder engine supplied by General Motors.
Fisker has said that the Karma will have a range of about 50 miles on battery power alone—enough to cover the distance for most commuters—then the gasoline engine kick on to extend range by another 250 miles; on the performance side, the Karma will accelerate to 60 mph in less than six seconds and reach a top speed of 125 mph.
While rival high-end automaker Tesla and its high-profile CEO Elon Musk have been making headlines nearly every week, Fisker Automotive has kept a relatively low profile, with very little drama. We hope to be pleasantly surprised.
So far, the automaker shows signs of making significant progress toward production. Whereas the Karma first shown at the 2008 Detroit auto show was a true concept car, with details that looked straight out of design studio, the prototype Karma shown at Detroit earlier this year had a lavish new interior, looking production ready and showcasing a host of exclusive but ecologically-sound materials. Fisker has already released video of the Karma moving under its own power on a closed course.
Fisker has maintained its timeline and plans to begin production of the 2010 Karma in Finland later this year, with yearly volume eventually expected to reach 15,000 and a Karma S roadster slated to follow the Karma by about a year. This spring the company gained $85 million in additional venture-capital funding.