Henrik Fisker is not a guy to sell short. Many have been skeptical about his efforts to produce the Karma, a beautiful, high-performance hybrid, but he’s doing it. The first cars are coming off the line at Valmet Automotive in Finland, which also builds cars for Porsche.
The idea is to sell 7,000 units this year but to ramp up production very slowly to keep quality high.
You know about the Karma, right? Three trims, priced from $95,900 to $108,900, put the car squarely in Mercedes territory, but it will be the most exclusive, extended-range luxury EV on the planet. Every well-heeled greenie grandstander will want one.
Mechanically, it’s a kind of super-Volt, with two very high-torque electric motors producing 403 hp and a 2.4-liter turbocharged four (from GM), charging a special 20kWh battery, which is good for a 50-mile solo range. Fisker is claiming “an annual average” (whatever that means) of 100 mpg and 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds.
The Karma represents one of the most ambitious projects in the auto world. Henrik Fisker has designed cars for Aston Martin and BMW, later forming his own company to customize and re-body premium cars. He knows his business.
A $529-million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy is going to fund production in Delaware of the Nina, a $40,000 midsize car. Fisker has raised an additional $150 million to produce this car (reportedly a beauty), and is hoping to issue an IPO later this year.
We have been skeptical about Fisker in the past, wondering about his sometimes-bad karma, but the man seems to have overcome. Car entrepreneurs are not a dying breed, thank goodness, and we wish Fisker the best.
Will the Karma succeed in its small niche? Will it have an impact on the hybrid world?