Tag Archives: Fisker Karma

A New Fisker Vehicle Coming in 2017

This week, Henrik Fisker announced the formation of a new company, Fisker Inc., which will feature a luxury electric vehicle with a record breaking 400-plus mile electric range.  Fisker Inc. will include a battery division called Fisker Nanotech, a partnership with California based scientists and innovators.  They intend to use graphene technology to reduce battery recharge time and costs, while extending range and lifespan.

The original Fisker Karma was unveiled in 2008 and production began in 2011.  The car certainly was beautiful and seen as a rival at the time to Tesla Motors’ Roadster.  The Karma engine was mated with a generator to make it a range extended electric hybrid, otherwise known as a serial hybrid.  Meaning, much like Cheverolet’s Volt, the Karma was propelled by an electric drivetrain, but a GM motor would kick in to extend the range.  There was also a rooftop solar panel installed that could basically  power the accessories within the car, but did not do much in the way of extending the vehicle’s driving range.

Despite winning many awards and garnering a lot of optimism about electric vehicles, the Karma fell victim to a series of unfortunate events.  On April 14, 2008, Tesla filed a lawsuit against Fisker, claiming Henrik Fisker stole Tesla’s Model S hybrid technology.

The Karma was also involved in a slew of fire incidents ala the Samsung Note 7. 16 Karmas caught on fire during Hurricane Sandy while they were completely submerged in seawater.

Two other fire incidents involving Karmas are detailed in Wikipedia:

A Fisker Karma was involved in a home fire that also burned two other cars in Fort Bend County, Texas in May 2012. The chief fire investigator said the Karma was the origin of the fire that spread to the house, but the exact cause is still unknown. The plug-in electric car was not plugged in at the time the fire started and it was reported that the Karma’s battery was intact. The carmaker released a public statement saying that there was uncertainty and conflicting reports surrounding the event. Fisker Automotive also stated that the battery pack “does not appear to have been a contributing factor in this incident.”[71] The NHTSA is conducting a field inquiry of the incident, and is working with insurance adjusters and Fisker to determine the fire’s cause.[72]

A second fire incident took place in August 2012 when a Karma caught fire while stopped at a parking lot in Woodside, California.[73][74] According to Fisker engineers, the area of origin for the fire was determined to be outside the engine compartment, as the fire was located at the driver’s side front corner of the car. The evidence suggested that the ignition source was not the lithium-ion battery pack, new technology components or unique exhaust routing.[75] The investigation conducted by Fisker engineers and an independent fire expert concluded that the cause of the fire was a low temperature cooling fan located at the left front of the Karma, forward of the wheel. An internal fault caused the fan to fail, overheat and started a slow-burning fire. Fisker announced a recall to repair the faulty cooling fan unit.[65][76]

In 2013, Fisker’s bad luck continued when guitar hero, Carlos Santana, managed to hit a tree with his Karma after he fell asleep at the wheel. The Fisker Karma’s reputation had been irrevocably tarnished and now these amazing cars can be purchased at highly discounted prices on eBay.

Here’s hoping Fisker Inc. can renew the old rivalry with Tesla and get more people excited about innovative electric cars.



The Story of Fisker

The article was contributed by servicingstop.co.uk – a car servicing company based in the UK with over 1,000 garages.

Fisker started out back in 2007 with great expectations.  They are a unique company, offering vehicles that resembled Ferraris and Lamborghinis. What is the difference? Fisker builds plug-in hybrids. Celebrities are very interested in the stylish “green” rides, with Aston Kutcher, Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber being three of the highest profile buyers.

How it started
Based in Anaheim California, the company was started by Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler. Henrik was a former designer for BMW and Aston Martin. He designed some of their most iconic cars, including the Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9. That gives reason as to why the Fisker Karma had a superb design. It won several awards and received a great deal of praise.

Government backing
The United States Government was a huge supporter of Fisker. They saw a company that was willing to reduce emissions and offer great fuel economy within sporty vehicles. Fisker managed to secure approximately £130 million in Government loans. On top of that they also received around £800 million from investors. Clearly they had all the backing they needed to become a success.

The Government originally handed £345,000,000 for a new model named the Atlantic. Further Government funding was halted as Fisker did not reach certain previous agreements. Production never started.

Too much too soon?
Why has Fisker fallen off the rails? Perhaps the Fisker Karma was before it’s time. Everyone would love a hybrid sports car. The only problem is that it could argued that the cost of purchasing one was slightly unreasonable. The amount of funding that was needed to research and develop such a vehicle was eventually passed on down to the price tag.
Fisker was one of the pioneers of plug-in electric hybrid technology. They are now seeking to sell off such technology in the form of intellectual property rights.

Although Henrik Fisker founded the company, he quit his own company after a dispute with management. That goes to show just how dysfunctional Fisker was actually run. He mentioned how proud he was to be in charge when the first ever hybrid plug-in was released.

A few positives for Fisker
In some ways Fisker has been a slight success, selling 2,000 models since the first was released into a showroom. To see such high profile celebrities driving around in Fiskers shows that company was clearly doing something right. They shot to the top as one of the world’s leading luxury car makers alongside the likes of Mercedes Benz.

Facing a crisis
After such great potential, Fisker cut down 75% of it’s workforce in 2013. They are now facing bankruptcy and are desperately seeking financial help. Their downfall could be blamed on poor initial steps. When the Karma was first released, there was a great deal of problems. 239 models were recalled back in late December 2011. They hit supplier problems later on, which meant production had to be halted.

Fisker got so bad at one point that Mitt Romney, President Obama’s rival in the elections was using the company as a punching bag. He said that President Obama had made a bad decision in helping to fund the company.

Where can Fisker go from here?
So what now for Fisker? They are seeking for investors to keep the operation going. If everything goes according to plan, they hope to release a new model in late 2014 or even 2015. This model will be a cheaper alternative to the Karma and smaller too. A vehicle like that will be suitable for a wider area of the market and will guarantee more sales.

Fisker’s operations were unconventional compared to those of major automotive companies. The structure was slightly different, given that they did not have the same type of infrastructure as the major companies. Work was outsourced and contracted out as a result. Many claim this did not help matters.

On the 2012 Fisker Karma EVer

Fisker has never recieved quite the fanfare of Tesla, but their novel approach to green transportation should be turning some heads. After years of Fisker Karma delays, satirized by the EVCast, we might finally start seeing some of these luxury plug-in hybrids rolling around eco-chic areas in the US.  Deliveries have begun in the US in late 2011, and hopefully they will pick up in 2012.

EVer stands for “electric vehicle extended range,” meaning the vehicle can drive completely electric until it runs out of juice and needs to be recharged by the on-board gasoline powered generator.  Fisker’s EVer technology uses a state-of-the-art Nanophosphate Lithium-ion Battery pack to power two electric motors at the rear wheels.  The EPA rated all-electric range for the Fisker Karma at 32 mi (51 km) under the agency’s five-cycle tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls. EPA’s estimated energy consumption is 65 kWh per 100 miles. They found that a full tank of gas and battery would get about 230 miles.  Fisker is still confident the vehicle will get 50 miles electric under optimal conditions.  An independent German association actually found the car did indeed get 50 miles in “stealth” mode, basically the energy efficient setting.

Electric Power

The battery is a 22 kWh lithium ion unit supplied by A123 Technologies.  When the battery get low, it is replenished by a 175 kW generator, turned by a 2.2 L gasoline engine. The solar roof is  actually capable of generating a half kilowatt-hour a day, although this is naturally susceptible to be inconsistent.  Some estimate the roof can provide up to 4 to 5 miles (6.4–8.0 km) of additional range a week assuming continuously sunny days.


The Fisker Karma can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds and has a top speed of 125 mph.  The dual electric motors put about 1000 lbs/ft of torque at the wheels, which is instantly available at 0 RPM.  The 260 HP 4-cylinder direct injection engine that spools the generator is a surprisingly powerful motor only used for electricity generation.

Charge Time

Charge time can be anywhere from 6-14 hours, which varies with battery’s remaining charge capacity and whether 110v, 220v or 240v current is used.

Green Extras

  • The Karma’s wood trim is 100% sustainably sourced from Fallen, Sunken and Rescued Wood to ensure that no live growth is ever used.
  • Xenon headlights are standard as well as low energy LED lights everywhere else on the vehicle.
  • Seating foam is fashioned from soy-based bio fiber and the carpet backing is created from recycled post-consumer materials.
  • Optional leather is sourced form a closed loop manufacturing plant where 85% of the hide is humanely used.
  • Water based Diamond Dust paint features a recycled glass flake mixture that utilizes 35-55% recycled glass while releasing zero volatile organic compounds into the environment. The paint also features an invisible reflective infrared layer to help cool the interior during hot weather.


As of December 2011, pricing in the U.S. starts at US$102,000 for the basic model, and US$116,000 for the high-end model.

Here is a Road&Track Review of the Fisker Karma EVer:

For more information, check out the Fisker site.

Electric Car Sound Debate

For 30 years, engineers have been working on making cars quiet, so the criticism that electric cars are, in fact, too quiet, seem foolish. And in my humble opinion, it is completely ridiculous, kind of like this article I just read about a UK politician’s idea to put cowbells on electric cars to make them more safe.

Most modern, four cylinder vehicles are virtually inaudible at low speeds. And at constant speeds of 30-60 mph, the most audible noise of a modern sedan is the tires rolling against the pavement and wind resistance.  Granted, at idle and extremely low speeds, an electric vehicle is basically silent compared to an internal combustion engine.  However, you cannot even notice the discrepancy unless you are within five feet of the car to begin with.

Anyway, take a listen to the Fisker Karma in action and tell me that the electric vehicle doesn’t make any noise:

Pretty similar to a jet engine spooling up. This is a perfectly acceptable amount of sound. The whole premise of a car being “too quiet” is ridiculous. Electric cars are inaudible because they are efficient. Less heat, friction, moving parts, and noise means less energy is wasted turning the wheels.

Fisker Karma hits 100 MPH around Leguna Seca (w/video)

Fisker Karma Leguna Seca

The Fisker Karma made its world driving debut on August 15th, 2009 during the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races. The event was held at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, California. The Karma did one, complete, twisting lap at the raceway, hitting speeds of up to 100 MPH without using a single drop of gasoline. Here is a video of the car in action at the event. Notice the aggressive, jet turbine-like acceleration note, a fair consolation for those who will miss the growl of a V8 engine.

Fisker Karma Performance Specs:

Plug-in hybrid technology Q DRIVE: 50 miles on a full charge, then a gasoline, charge-sustaining generator kicks in to replenish battery power

Two Driving Modes: The driver will be able to select between two modes of driving. The first mode is Stealth Drive, which is the quiet economy mode for optimal relaxed and efficient driving. By flipping the second paddle behind the steering wheel, the car will switch to Sport Drive, which will access the full power of the vehicle.

Stealth Mode

0-60 in 7.5 seconds (0-100 km/h 7.5 seconds) Top speed 95 mph (153 km/h)

Sport Mode

0-60 in 5.8 seconds (0-100 km/h 5.8 seconds) Top speed 125 mph (200 km/h)

Regenerative brakes featured to recapture braking energy

Low center of gravity provides optimal sport vehicle driving dynamics

Source: Fisker, Autobloggreen