Fisker – Reborn as Karma

Karma was the last model when Fisker Automotive went bankrupt in 2013

With new Chinese owners and headquartered in California, the production of Fisker is due to resume under a brand named Karma. That was the name of their latest model when the company went bankrupt. Fisker, named after one of the Danish-American founders, Henrik Fisker, is now a part of the automotive history.

I never liked the name, anyway.

fisker-karma-1The outgoing model, Karma, has two electric motors, each with 161 PS, and 479 Nm, connected to the rear wheels. A 2-liter gasoline-powered Opel engine, mounted in front, charges the batteries – not connected directly to any driveline. On pure battery power, the range, according to EPA, is just over 50 kilometers (30 miles). The gasoline-powered charger engine extends the range by 320 kilometers (200 miles). The facory’s own figures, however, are 83 kilometers (52 miles) and 400 kilometers (250 miles).

The battery pack is located at the center of the car, inside something that looks like a giant drive shaft tunnel. It steals a lot of place from the cabin, so there is only room for four people inside. The designers did not focus on interior space, – but on the other hand, there are few, if any vehicles in the world, that matches the Karma when it comes to beauty.

The battery pack is located under the center console (archive picture)

The battery pack is located under the center console (archive picture)

The new holding company, Wanxiang, is already heavily involved in the production of electric vehicles. It will be interesting to see what they can bring to the future models. Fisker Automotive has previously been taken to court by Tesla Motors accused of having copied their battery technology.

But where did that advanced technology go?

While the current Tesla has a world-leading range, Karma’s results are far less impressive. In comparison, the BMW i3 REx (Range Extender) has almost the same range as the Karma: 150 kilometers on pure battery power, plus 150 kilometers with the little charger engine running. Battery technology is evolving rapidly, so the range of the new Karma has to be considerably improved from 2013.

4-seater, With a huge tunnel, like the Porsche Panamera

4-seater, like the Porsche Panamera

A quick look on today’s car marked reveals that there aren’t many Karmas for sale. I find one Karma for sale in Norway, 4 in Sweden, 23 in Germany and 4 in France – mostly 2012 models – and a very few 2013 models. Asking prices are in the range of € 45-60 000.

I took my pictures from a remote and quite hidden place rented by the former agent of Fisker Automobiles in Norway. This beautiful car is probably unsellable until production restarts.

I wonder if the new Karma can succeed in the Nordic countries like the Tesla did?

It is tempting to compare the future Karma with Tesla. In Norway, there is an import tax relief on zero emission EVs, like the Tesla. The Karma’s hybrid solution will probably not benefit from the tax relief program since it technically is more like a hybride. With 5 seats and two luggage compartments, the Tesla may work fine as a family car, and compete against Lexus and new hybrids from Mercedes-Benz. The Karma will probably compete against cars like the four-seated Porsche Panamera. Great cars, but no volume sellers.

Yet, we do not know how the future Karma will look like, and what technology it will offer when it comes on the market next year. It might be the first Tesla-killer.

A better Karma?

Take a look at the cool presentations on!


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