Have you seen the Fisker Karma?
Fisker has created a production plug-in hybrid called the Karma, a four-door luxury sedan. She's fast, she's beautiful - look at her! - and she's priced better than a Tesla at 80-some-K USD.
Maybe you saw the Karma sedan at the 2010 NAIAS in Detroit? She was a concept car then, but intended to go into production without anything more than very minor changes. Henrik Fisker, her daddy, said then, "this is the car I've been waiting for myself". What makes her so special, and why do I like her better than the Tesla Roadster?
What's Q-drive, you ask?
Well, it's a well-tested drive system (some military application or other) that employs a generator to charge the batteries, so that the car is driven only by its electric motor. As I said, a series hybrid. I wouldn't call it cutting-edge technology, it's more like ignored technology that doesn't profit the oil companies. Hybrid homebuilders like Alain St-Yves have been doing this for years.
It's what you want, and then better. For example: looking for a luxury sedan? The Karma has all the features you'd expect in that class, and it's a plug-in hybrid. Looking for a plug-in hybrid? The Karma is that, and it gets better real-world gas mileage than the Prius conversion, because it's designed differently. Looking for a green sports car? The Karma's your green sports car, and for a better price than the Tesla. See what I mean? Fisker's policy is "no compromises", and they apparently mean it, too.
Fisker Karma Convertible
Oh, in case you were wondering, the new S model is a hard-top convertible, also known as "Sunset". It will go into production by the end of 2010. It's not exactly like the original Karma; see, rather than the "Sunset" model's 2-door design, the original is actually a four-door sedan. I keep zooming in on the hi-res press pictures at Fisker Automotive's website, saying, "really?" because it's hard to remember she's got four doors. But yes, really, she does; )
Both the original Fisker Karma and their Karma Sunset have three different trim levels.
Fisker Karma Review
So. Gotta have a Fisker Karma?
Fisker has a retailer location search function on their website.
It will cost you 5,000 refundable dollars to reserve your Karma sedan, or 25k to reserve a convertible. The balance will be due within 48 hours of the time the car is delivered to your local dealership. If you don't claim your car within 48 hours, the dealership will then be free to sell it to someone else.
(Dude. They're gonna build it, and then sell it to you. How revolutionary.)
It takes the risk - to you - out of the process. If Fisker can't deliver it on time for whatever reason, they're not holding your hundred grand hostage.
Compare and contrast with Tesla's reserve policy, under which you are expected to pay $5,000 just to get in line, another $55,000 to lock in a production slot and delivery timeframe (yeah, right) and the balance of the 109,000 before they even begin production on it.
I started out researching the Fisker Karma really expecting to be skeptical and disappointed. Having gotten this far, though? All I can do is stand and applaud. Nicely played, Mr. Fisker. Can't wait to see what you come up with next.
Update: Sigh. Fisker didn't make it; Tesla did. I'm an idiot. (Not the first time.) I'd really, really love one of these cars.
Back to Electric Sports Car.
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