Volt Owners Are Giggling: Fisker Karma Gets Low EPA Rating

October 20th, 2011

Fisker Karma Hybrid

The EPA just rated the series plug-in hybrid Fisker Karma sedan, and the company immediately put out a press release saying how “delighted” it was at the results. What?!

The EPA rated the Karma at 52 mpge (mpg “equivalent” for EVs and hybrids, that is, for combined city/highway driving). The company had projected 100 mpge and still says it “firmly believes” you’ll get up to 50 miles on a charge. EPA says, no, you’re gonna get 32 miles on battery alone, and another 20 mpg when the gas-powered range extender kicks in. And probably a lot less driving in Sport mode.

The similarly powered Chevrolet Volt was rated at 94 mpge and costs $39,000. The Karma has three versions priced at $96,000-$109,000. “The top EcoChic edition is an animal-free showcase of high-end textiles, faux suede, and rescued California wildfire hardwood.” So says Car and Driver, while Volt drivers continue laughing.

Fisker Karma, rearWe have talked about the Karma, its advantages and its problems in a number of posts, but this latest EPA news could play very much to the Volt’s advantage.

In its defense, we’ll say that the Karma is clearly a low-turnout (7,000 cars projected) luxury-exclusive machine, and it’s a beautiful car. In March, we said, “Every well-heeled greenie grandstander will want one.”

The car’s real competition will come from Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, et al., and most of these buyers will care less about real-time fuel economy and more about exclusivity.

As to performance, well, the Karma has almost 5,600 pounds of weight to haul around, so it does 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds (in Sport mode, using more juice, of course). By comparison, the Benz CLS500 makes it in 5.1 seconds.

For some, there are political consequences to the EPA results. Fox News called it “a fuel economy flop” and pointed to the fact that the Karma was partially developed with a $529 million Department of Energy loan. Most of that money, as they point out, is going to develop the Nina, “a less expensive, higher volume model line.”

We can probably expect others in Congress to follow suit and make big noise about throwing money at high-end, high-tech carmakers. They have nothing else to do, right?

With EPA certification, Fisker can now begin to sell the Karma. How many do you think will be bought in 2012?

—jgoods

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  1. panayoti
    | #1

    None if people have wised up to Fed dollars thrown at green energy outfits. Look at these EVs. We can’t mass produce them, they cost an arm and a leg, and batteries are toxic and can’t hold a charge. How many teachers, cops, firemen and other jobs could have been created with the billions thrown out the window at these green jobs?? Our leader’s agenda may mean well, but he certainly hasn’t grasped economic fundamentals. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush, remember??

    He doesn’t get it. We and Canada are sitting on more coal, shale oil and gas reserves than the rest of the world combined. Why in God’s name would we want to go EV, solar or wind now?? They’re very expensive. Flash, we’ve been in a recession for 3 years now. Coal, gas, and petroleum are very cheap and produce more energy per unit than all the alternatives. Flash, we’re in a recession. These dirty fuels can provide millions, yes millions of jobs. EVs even though they don’t work well now will work as an alternative to gasoline and diesel powered vehicles in a few decades and then probably only in Megalopoli. But for now we are still hostage to the internal combustion engine. So why not encourage the development of petroleum drilling, shale oil extraction, and gas drilling?? Yeah, they’re dirty but they are dirt cheap. Oh, yeah, they produce jobs.

  2. Randy
    | #2

    The Fiskar tradgedy is that once again, our government dropped a bundle of MY cash to support a foreign company that builds cars in Finland. Even worse, this butt candy is nothing more than an expensive show off for the hollywood types, who I’m sure need a government subsidy to keep their trunks full of cash.

  1. | #1
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