Cars Fisker Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

2011 Fisker Karma

2011 Fisker Karma
- image 281123
  • Fisker Karma
  • Year:
    2011
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    GM-sourced gas engine with a lithium-ion battery pack
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    400+ electric, then 260hp from the gas engine
  • Displacement:
    2.0L L
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:

With gas prices heading well above $3.00 per gallon in most states, economical cars and trucks have made a resurgence in the American automotive consumer’s mind. One can hardly drive down a road without seeing one of the first and most popular hybrid cars, the Toyota Prius. Most major manufacturers have since produced these types of vehicles and there are more new models in the works, even from upstart luxury manufacturers.

One of the premier automotive designers in the industry felt hybrid cars were lacking in both excitement and luxury, and decided to take it upon himself to create a new segment. Henrik Fisker previously designed such memorable cars as the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9. His company originally made several re-bodied versions of the Mercedes SL and the BMW 6-series, but in very limited production and a high price tag. Fisker Automotive became a true manufacturer in 2007 with the simple idea of creating an inspired, beautiful, and exciting luxury hybrid vehicles. Shortly after, the Fisker Karma was introduced at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. It’s easy to see why it turned more than a few heads with its voluptuous flowing lines and promised 50-mile full electric range.

As if drop-dead good looks were not enough to distinguish this car from other eco-friendly vehicles, the performance numbers help the Karma truly pull away from the crowd. Its 0-60 mph performance is said to be in the neighborhood of 5.8 seconds with a top speed of 125 mph. The Karma may not be able to keep up with your neighbor’s Porsche Panamera, but while you’re getting 67 miles per gallon, he will be sitting at a gas station.

UPDATE 03/23/2011: Three years after the Karman first debuted at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, the first unit has finally rolled out of the Valmet Automotive’s plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland. US and European customers will receive their first units by next month.

UPDATE 07/13/11: Finally, the Fisker Karma is set to be delivered to its first customers. It took a long time, but the wait is now over. The luxury plug-in hybrid sedan is scheduled to be delivered later this month with the first person expected to get his hands on it being no other than Hollywood A-lister and eco-guy Leonardo di Caprio. According to Fisker, there are already 3,000 pre-orders for the car with the wait list expected to hit until early 2012.

Hit the jump for more details on the 2011 Fisker Karma.

39 photos / 1 videos

Latest Fisker Karma news and reviews:

Karma Automotive Set To Make Return With Renamed Model

Karma Automotive Set To Make Return With Renamed Model

Karma Revero is being tapped as better in every way than the Fisker Karma

Karma Automotive, the company once known as Fisker Automotive, is prepared to re-enter the automotive market with a new luxury electric car that it hopes to formally unveil in July or August 2016. The model has been dubbed the Revero and while it will look exactly the same as the car it is succeeding – the Fisker Karma – everything else about will be completely different. For instance, the Revero will make use of electric vehicle control and charging systems from BMW AG as part of an agreement to the sides reached in 2015.

Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Karma’s chief marketing officer, Jim Taylor commented on the upcoming return of the company, which will now be under the ownership of Chinese auto parts company Wanxiang Group. The company decided to rename itself in part because it wanted to avoid any kind of association with its previous incarnation, which was forced to file for bankruptcy back in 2012 because of a flawed business model.

Other than the name of the company and the model itself, pretty much everything about Karma Automotive is different. For instance, production has been moved to California from Finland. The automaker currently has 500 employees, most of whom are located in Costa Mesa, California. It also has a new 556,000-square foot factory in Moreno Valley, also in California. Even the Rivero is being overhauled to become a more rounded model than the Fisker Karma ever was. According to Taylor, the Rivero will have “serious, major upgrades throughout the electronics systems, wiring, charging, battery.”

No mention of price was mentioned but Taylor did say that Karma plans to start taking orders for the Rivero shortly after its scheduled unveiling in July or August 2016. In the meantime, the automaker has put its attention on holding events for owners of the Fisker Karma and its engineers are providing service and system upgrades for the old models.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Read more
Karma Automotive Signs Supply Agreement With BMW

Karma Automotive Signs Supply Agreement With BMW

Back in October, we reported that auto manufacturer Fisker had been acquired by the Wanxian Group out of China and that the Fisker name had been officially changed to Karma. At the time, there was no timetable for the release of a new model under the Karma brand name. We now know that Karma should launch its flagship, plug-in hybrid sometime in 2016, but there is even bigger news surrounding Karma and its launch of a new vehicle. I’ll give you a hint – it involves one of Germany’s best: BMW.

Just today, Karma dropped a press release announcing that BMW has agreed to supply the reborn auto manufacturer with its latest and greatest powertrain components. This includes BMW’s high voltage battery charging systems and a number of hybrid and EV systems. Karma’s CEO, Tom Corcoran said, “The Wanxiang Group is giving Karma Automotive the opportunity to bring a stunning car back to the market, and the partnership with BMW and their outstanding track record is a great fit for the future. We will continue to develop beautiful cars with the latest cutting edge hybrid and EV technology.”

Karma has said that the next generation of vehicles that is already being developed will use more of BMW’s powertrain technology, but at this time, we don’t know how much will go into the plug-in hybrid that is slated for release in 2016. Will using parts supplied by BMW help Karma be more successful than Fisker was in its day? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, throwing in some German engineering sure won’t hurt anything.

Continue reading for the full story.

Read more
Fisker Changes Its Name To Karma Automotive

Fisker Changes Its Name To Karma Automotive

Fisker was a small automotive manufacturer that debuted its first and only model at the 2008 North American International Auto Show. That model, known as the Fisker Karma, was one of the first plug-in hybrid vehicles that actually made it into production. The company eventually fell into financial struggles, and after filing for bankruptcy, was purchased by the Wanxian Group – a massive auto-parts supplier out of China. Under new ownership, Frisker is now slated for revival, but its name has officially been changed to Karma Automotive – clearly in tribute to its original production model.

Karma’s Chief Marketing Office, James Taylor, says that the new name is relevant to the old and new brand, plus it exhibits the companies focus and purpose. “Karma is based on the principle of cause and effect, where your actions create your future. This awareness of what we are doing and why we are doing it—which we characterize as acting with intention—is what we stand for, it’s authentic.” According to the recent press release, Karma’s new management team has attracted world-class expertise and talent.

Continue reading for the full story.

Read more
Fisker Announces New Customer Support Program

Fisker Announces New Customer Support Program

Fisker is still probably a long way off from building new cars anytime soon (if ever), but to avoid hanging Karma owners out to dry with no warranties, the company announced a new customer service program that will provide OEM parts and continued maintenance services. Current owners are covered for repairs costing up to $2,000, while original owners get another $2,000 for parts and $1,000 for labor. Service centers have been established at existing Fisker dealers in most major cities across the country.

Between the two most well known American-based electric car start-up companies, Fisker definitely came out on the losing end. The company founded by former Aston Martin designer Henrik Fisker declared bankruptcy in 2013 as a result of supply chain problems and recalls. China’s Wanxiang Group purchased the Fisker brand and its assets in 2014, and aside from a possible name change to Elux, that’s pretty much the last we’ve heard of the company.

Continue reading to learn more about Fisker’s latest customer support program.

Read more
Fisker To "Elux"; Karma Will Be Relaunched In 2016

Fisker To "Elux"; Karma Will Be Relaunched In 2016

Tesla is making headlines left and right these days, but a few years ago, when Tesla was first born, there was a second budding American car company that also wanted to make its mark on the electric car market, Fisker.

Born from the brain of the legendary automotive designer Henrik Fisker, the man that helped bring us the Aston Martin DB9, Fisker Automotive was created to meld the sex and excitement of the automobile with building materials and drivetrains that were far more ecologically conscious. The result was a stunning machine named the Karma, which used an EV drivetrain with a gasoline range extender, similar to the Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3. Sadly in 2013, just two years after production started, the company filed for bankruptcy.

Since the bankruptcy, a Chinese parts company called the Wanxiang Group snapped up Fisker, and now Reuters is reporting that the automaker will be reborn under the name Elux.

Continue reading to learn more about Fisker’s future plans.

Read more
Fisker Could Restart Production in 2015 Under a New Name

Fisker Could Restart Production in 2015 Under a New Name

Fisker Automotive had a pretty bad 2013 and saying that feels like a massive understatement. But from the ashes of bankruptcy, the company has been brought back to life by the deep pockets of Chinese auto-parts company Wanxiang. Things are definitely looking much better now for Fisker, or whatever it’s new name is going to be if, as is being reported, the new bosses at the company decide to completely build under a new company name.

Speaking to the OC Register, newly appointed Fisker interim president Roger Brown, a managing partner at Nashville-based Summit Strategic Investments who has worked with Wanxiang for years, has been coy on whether the company will be rebranded under a different name. Brown points out that whatever name it goes by moving forward, the cars have been and will always be the "rock stars."

On that end, Brown expressed confidence that the Karma luxury hybrid will be relaunched in 2015 without the multitude of problems that plagued its previous incarnation and ultimately led to the company’s bankruptcy. In addition to the Karma, Wanxiang is also looking at jump-starting the development of two other cars - the Surf wagon and the entry-level Atlantic - in the future with an eye towards launching the former in 2016 and the latter in 2017.

All this is tremendous news for people who actually had some good things to say about the Karma. That includes us. It’s just unfortunate the old regime didn’t have the right financial structure to address all the problems that came with developing its cars. None of us knew it at that time, but Fisker was a sinking ship and it was already too late to call for help.

But now that the brand is under new management and is owned by a Chinese company that apparently paid cash to buy Fisker, things are finally looking up for the once proud Fisker brand. It’s also comforting to know that, according to Brown, Wanxiang brought Fisker because it wants "to build a great car company."

But the biggest difference, and the most important one, is that Wanxiang has money. Lots of it. And from the looks of it, the company is not afraid to spend to realize its vision of turning Fisker into that great car company.

Click past the jump to read more about the Fisker Karma.

Read more

VL Automotive and Wanxiang put in a Low Bid for Fisker

Stick a fork in `em, because Fisker’s about as cooked as it can get. As much as it saddens us, we have to admit that the once promising brand is set to be sold or head into bankruptcy. So far, Fisker has two interested parties, per a report from Reuters, that are looking to buy it out.

The most aggressive team is headed up by Bob Lutz’s VL Automotive and China’s Wanxiang Group, as they reportedly put in a bid of $20 million for the spiraling company. $20 million may sound like a big number for a nearly bankrupt company, but it is a far cry from the $2.2 billion valuation given to Fisker in the spring of 2012.

Of course, no one involved in the process is confirming the report of this super-low bid, but folks close to the situation are claiming that it is true and that Fisker is considering the offer.

There is one other team that is interested in purchasing the company outright, but there aren’t any reports of them bidding. However, there are reports that a third investment group is interested in buying out DOE’s $171 million interest in the company, which came as a result of the loan Fisker received in its infancy that was later frozen.

This is all we have for now, but we’ll keep an eye out for more reports as time goes on.

Click past the jump to read more about VL Automotive’s interest in Fisker

Read more
Fisker Karmas Hitting Ebay for as Low as $40K

Fisker Karmas Hitting Ebay for as Low as $40K

It’s no surprise to anyone that Fisker is on life support and is nearing its final breath, as it has had way too many issues over the years. Even with the company likely organizing its affairs for bankruptcy, no one could have ever anticipated seeing a Karma for sale at less than half of the sticker price.

Well, we can now see that the unexpected is a reality, as Karmas are starting to trickle onto Ebay at massive discounts. When we drove the Karma, we found that it drive like a far more expensive car than its $100K price tag and later found that it actually costs more to develop and advertise than Fisker was actually selling the model for.

As of May 17th, we found four Karmas for auction on Ebay with current bids that run from $50,000 to $79,995 with less than 10,000 miles on their odometers. In fact, the $50,000 model only has 550 miles and it is 1 of 100 Signature Editions. Business Insider actually managed to dig one up for $40,200, which adds up to 60 percent off of the MSRP.

From the looks of it, Karma owners are getting spooked by Fisker’s financial trouble and the fact that if the company goes under, there is no large backer to cover warranty and service issues. Unlike when Pontiac and Saturn closed up shop, Fisker doesn’t have GM behind it to provide post-mortem support.

<Click past the jump to read more about the Fisker Karma

Read more

Fisker Website Down as Congressional Hearings Take Place

In the past few months, things have gone from bad to worse for Fisker.It all started to come to a boil when its lithium-ion battery supplier, A123 Systems announced its bankruptcy and came to a head with Henrik Fisker’s decision to step down.

But things are continuing to spiral out of control for the company. Back in 2009, Fisker received a $529 million loan – only $193 million of it was actually given to Fisker – and the lack of sales mixed with abundance of troubles with the Karma have drained the company’s coffers, making the possibility of it paying that loan very slim. In fact, it was found that for each Karma sold, the company lost a total of $560k.

Today, the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform committee are meeting to examine that huge loan received by Fisker, and Henrik Fisker will be there to testify for the failing company. That is not the real news here, as what’s really odd is that Fisker has taken its commercial and press sites off line in anticipation of the hearing. We are wondering what the site has to do with the hearings, but this is definitely not a positive sign. So, stay tuned for more details.

Hit the jump fore more details on Fisker Karma.

Read more

Fisker Lost as Much as $560K With Each Karma it Sold

When we went out for a test drive in the Fisker Karma last year, we thought that it felt a little more high-tech than the $100,000 price tag led us to believe. Everything operated smoothly, the interior was plush, the performance was admirable and its look was downright stunning. With all of this technology and design comes a hefty price, and boy did Fisker feel its belt tightening with each and every Karma it produced.

With its bankruptcy proceedings pretty mu inevitable, PrivCo dug up all the public record s it could to have a look at Fisker’s financial goings on, and it found that the each Karma produced cost a total of $660,000 but sold for only about $100k – that’s just bad business, folks. Now, we’re not saying that each car it built literally cost $660k, what this means is that when you take all of the research and development cost, advertising costs and the other costs associated with the car and divided it by the number of Karma’s sold, you get roughly $660k.

At that rate, there was no way Fisker could have survived anyways, but the fact that it was the victim of management that would likely make Lotus’ former management look good just accelerated things. In fact, PrivCo has released a detailed review of Fisker $1.3 billion debacle, which really opens our eyes to just how promising the model was and outlines exactly where things completely fell apart. You can see this study here.

The fortunate thing is that Fisker’s advanced EVer system will likely be bought out during the bankruptcy process, so even though we will not see another Karma on the road, it may live on in spirit through future models using this awesome drive system.

Click past the jump to read more about the Karma

Read more

The Stage is Set For Bankruptcy, As Fisker Lays Off its Press Team and Others

Okay, we’ve held off on publishing this news for the majority of the day, as we awaited some form of confirmation from our contact at Fisker, but that confirmation didn’t come before a source reported it to Bloomberg.

Well, if you haven’t heard already, Fisker has laid off nearly 75 percent of its workforce, including its PR and communications team. This leaves only a skeleton crew of roughly 50 employees left over, most of whom are likely assemblers and upper-level executives.

This report comes on the heels of rumors that Fisker had secured attorneys to start the bankruptcy process. We cannot say that this shocks us at all, given the downward spiral that the EV builder has been in for the last year, or so. However, the fact that it all happened so quickly really makes us wonder if the company was in a lot worse shape than we were informed of when we gave Fisker the opportunity to clear the air and reintroduce themselves to prospective buyers.

We’ll keep an eye out for more details.

<Click past the jump to read more about Fisker

Read more

Geely Pulls Out of Fisker Bidding, Leaving Only One Suitor

Fisker is in some serious trouble, as disagreements between management and its founder resulted in Henrik Fisker to step down from his position. Fiskers only real hope at this point is to find a buyer or a strategic partner to help alleviate its financial issues. For a long time, Geely – Volvo’s owner – would end up being the high bidder, mostly due to their interest in Fisker’s Delaware assembly plant. According to a report from Reuters, Geely has pulled out of the bidding process because of the DOE loan conditions.

This leaves only one bidder in the running for Fisker and that bidder is China-owned Dongfeng Motor Group Co. It is unclear at this time whether Fisker will automatically accept Dongfeng’s offer, but at this point, that look like the only real option. Depending on the terms of a potential deal, this could result in Fisker becoming partially owned by China – creepy…

Regardless of how things pan out, we really want to see Fisker survive all of this. We’ll continue to keep you updated.

Read more

Fisker’s Lawsuit Against XL Insurance Settled; May be a Sign of Pending Deal

Following the damaged caused to a slew of Fisker Karmas by Hurricane Sandy, Fisker’s insurer denied the claim and the EV builder almost immediately filed a $33 million lawsuit against the insurer. According to a report, the two companies have settled the lawsuit and all legal action was dropped.

There is no mention of who started the settlement process, but this does seem like strange timing. See, only weeks ago Fisker hired a consultant to help the struggling manufacturer save a little money and to search for a potential partner or buyer. It’s common knowledge that a pending legal battle makes it much harder to talk a potential partner into joining forces and even tougher to find a buyer.

This leads us to believe that Fisker may have a partner or buyer that is interested, but wanted the legal battle settled before moving forward. This is all multiplied by the recent report from Reuters that Geeley, the Chinese automaker and owner of Volvo, was more than just a little interested in purchasing majority stake in Fisker.

All of this is coming together all too well for us to ignore the possibility of Fisker selling sooner rather than later.

We’ll keep an eye on this situation and update you.

Read more

Fisker Hoping to Begin Karma Production Soon

Oh boy, Fisker has been run through the ringer in the past year, or so, but Henrik Fisker remains optimistic that everything’s going to be all right. During the Chicago Auto Show, Mr. Fisker was heard saying that he anticipates the Karma’s production to restart “fairly soon” after its recent halt.

To recap the recent struggles: Fisker first had tons of cars destroyed by Hurricane Sandy; their insurance company denied the claim for said damaged vehicles; A123 – their battery supplier – went belly up; and the aforementioned temporary cessation of the Karma’s production. We’re not even going to get into the fire issues that marred the company’s image for a period of time.

With the approval of the sale of A123 to Wanxiang Group – a Chinese firm – one step in the restart process for the Karma is nearly complete. Fisker is still relying on an outside consultant to straighten out its business practices to save it a little cash and for an investor or strategic partner to bring in a little extra operating capital.

We are thoroughly convinced that the Karma is a quality luxury sedan, despite its earlier issues, so we are hoping that its production will restart without a hitch and that it will ultimately succeed. We’ll continue following the Karma saga and update you as more details emerge.

Read more

Fisker Hires a Consultant to Help Save Cash and Find Bidders

When we reviewed the Fisker Karma back in November 2012, we were pretty sure that this was a model with a promising future in the U.S. market. Apparently, we were wrong. It looks like Fisker hasn’t produced any vehicles in more than six months, and the problems do not stop here.

Apparently the company is still having big problems with cash, which really took off when the U.S. Department of Energy decided to freeze about $300 million of the $529 million loan Fisker was supposed to receive. Our contact at Fisker confirmed through several news outlets that the electric vehicle manufacturer has hired a consultant to oversee day-to-day operations in an attempt to conserve cash. The other detail to emerge is that sources close to the company are reporting that Fisker is seeking bidders to enter a partnership with or a possible acquisition.

Fisker officials confirmed that the company already attracted interest from companies like the Swedish vendor Valmet and a few others companies in China that may be interested in either being strategic partners or in the technology developed by Fisker. However, problems for Fisker do not stop here: recently battery supplier A123 Systems Inc. filed for bankruptcy and Fisker remains without the most important part of Karma model. Wanxiang – the likely buyer of A123’s assets – has interest in providing Fisker the batteries it so badly needs, so that part may work itself out.

We’re just hoping they will find a solution pretty soon; it will be a shame not to see them on the market in the future!

If you remember the Bobs from Office Space, then you know what it means when a company hires an outside consultant.

Read more
2013 VL Automotive Destino

2013 VL Automotive Destino

Imagine the confusion when we discovered that a Fisker Karma was making its way to the Detroit Auto Show. Mind all of you, that’s not what really confused us; what did the trick was that this car isn’t actually a Karma, but it surelooked like one.

On top of that, it isn’t an electric car like the mustachioed Fisker; it’s a gasoline-powered sports car that comes with a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 powertrain. This, dear friends, is the Destino four-door performance sedan that’s being built as a collaboration between industrialist Gilbert Villereal and former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz. Yep, that Bob Lutz.

Not a whole lot is being made out of the Destino, presumably because it’s still in its relative infancy, although it is based on the electric Karma and will be built in Detroit under the auspices of VL Automotive with a retail date scheduled for the latter part of the year.

Find out more about the VL Automotive Destino after the jump

Read more

Fisker Suing Over Denied Insurance Claim for Sandy-Damaged Vehicles

Few car companies can’t wait for 2012 to end more than Fisker, as it combated quality issues, loan freezing and supplier bankruptcy throughout the year. Well, it looks like drama is going to follow the electric-car company into the New Year, unfortunately. As we already know, 338 Karmas were damaged during hurricane Sandy and some 16 units actually caught fire – not related to any faults by Fisker – and an insurance claim was submitted.

Apparently, the insurance company decided to void the claim after reviewing the claim. According to the report from Reuters, the issue becomes whether the damaged Karmas were “in transit” when they were damaged. In the case of “in transit” vehicles, sublimits beyond the $100 million limit on the insurance policy would apply.

In response to the denial, Fisker has filed a lawsuit against the company in an effort to get a court order for the insurance company – XL Insurance America – to pay the claim and for damages caused by the breach of contract. Hopefully Fisker can sort this out and get itself on track, as we were extremely impressed by the Karma on our test drive and we would hate to see any more hiccups in the vehicle’s production.

view all
Read more

Fisker Suspends Karma Production After Battery Supplier Files for Bankruptcy

The biggest appeal Fisker has over its competitors in the market is the fact that it runs on electricity. But what good is it if your cars don’t have batteries in them?

Fisker found that out first-hand after the company in charge of manufacturing its batteries recently filed for bankruptcy, thus leading to the company suspending production the Karma, its $100,000 luxury plug-in hybrid.

There should come a point in time when Fisker’s sole battery supplier, A123 Systems, gets its books straightened out, but the concern for Fisker is the time being wasted waiting for manna to drop from the heavens in the form of either getting some financial assistance from the feds or a buyer stepping into the picture and purchasing the battery manufacturer outright.

Either scenario could take long time, especially considering that A123 has already gotten some federal support in the past, thus giving the latter the provision to give the green light on any potential buyer in the future.

Whatever the case may be, this new development came at the worst possible time for Fisker, particularly because the Karma’s debut in China could be delayed. We all know how big the Chinese market is and how many eager Chinese people are to plunk down money to get behind the wheel of an electric sports car.

With A123 Systems currently in bankruptcy, Fisker apparently has no other choice than to temporarily suspend production of the Karma.

Here’s to hoping that everything gets straightened out and everyone involved can return to regular business.

view all
Read more
Fisker Karma: TopSpeed Test Drive

Fisker Karma: TopSpeed Test Drive

Ah, the Fisker Karma. It is likely one of the most well designed and heavily debated cars available today. Some people love it and cannot get enough of it and others can’t stand it. It’s truly one of the most polarizing cars on the market and a lot of that is because of some of the issues it has run into and the massive DOE loan that Fisker took out to help produce it.

We pretty much sit right in the middle. We’ve loved its looks from the day we saw the concept model that no one believed would ever be produced. Its issues and some of the sub-par reviews, on the other hand, pushed us back toward the middle..

Well, the only way we can really find out if we truly love it or hate it is to test drive it. And that is exactly what we did, as we took a road trip to Fisker of Tampa Bay at 320 East Fletcher Ave. in Tampa, and met up with Fisker brand manager Jackie Daly and general manager Bryan Mobley for an exclusive viewing and test drive.

So, did we walk away impressed or did the Karma underwhelm?

Click past the jump to find out.

Read more
TopSpeed Exclusive: Fisker Clears the Air About the Karma Issues, Atlantic Delay, Combusting Fan, Future Plans and Financial Status

TopSpeed Exclusive: Fisker Clears the Air About the Karma Issues, Atlantic Delay, Combusting Fan, Future Plans and Financial Status

Fisker began development of a revolutionary car, the Karma, roughly four years ago. At that time, folks were optimistic, excited, and had almost only good things to say about this upstart company. It’s crazy how fast things can change.

As time moved on, Fisker started running into some real issues that would likely destroy many startup companies. The downward trend started with the DOE freezing its loan to Fisker after it had only used about half of the available funds. The next issue was a pair or recalls – one in December 2011 and another in May 2012 – because of incorrectly positioned hose clamps that could cause a coolant leak. And you likely know, electricity and water do not mix.. Then came the fires…

The first fire came about in April 2012, when a man’s house and other two cars were damaged after his Karma caught fire in the garage. The cause of that fire was not known, but it is likely related to the following fire that came just months later. This second fire occurred in August and was easily contained to just the front end of the $100K luxury car. The one good thing to come out of this fire is that Fisker was quick to the aid of the owner and quick to mobilize a group of outside investigators to figure out that it was a failed low-temperature fan that caused the flame.

This final fire brought about the final recall of the Karma, to date. In this recall, Fisker asked 1,377 Karma customers to bring cars in to have the cooling fan replaced. Between all of these issues were complaints from customers about a Command Center that didn’t operate effectively and a “Stealth” mode that wasn’t too stealthy. Adding to those complaints was a very poor review of the Karma by Consumer Reports.

With these issues came a shellacking from the press – automotive and general – and all Fisker could do was try and get its own version of the story out. Well, we just gave Fisker an avenue to air its side of the story in our exclusive interview with Fisker’s Senior Director of Global Corporate Communications & PR, Roger Fisker.

To read what Fisker has to say about these issues and more about its future, click past the jump.

view all
view all
Read more
Does Obama's Re-Election Spell the End of the Gasoline-Powered Sports Car?

Does Obama’s Re-Election Spell the End of the Gasoline-Powered Sports Car?

After nearly a year of seeing Mitt Romney and Barack Obama fling mud – maybe even a little poo – back and forth at each other, the election is finally over. Love him or hate him, Obama is in office for another four years and he has already shown that he likes to dwell in the automotive realm (see: automotive bailout, Chrysler bankruptcy, and DOE loans for EV technology).

A big one on our radar these days is the renewal of the CAFÉ standards – yes, it was a renewal; the CAFÉ standards are nothing new – and their direct impact on the sport car realm. By the year 2025, all automakers must have a corporate average fuel economy rating of at least 54.5 mpg, a number that sports cars often drag down.

There is a good possibility that one of three things will happen due to these standards. First, is the chance that automakers install more advance turbocharging technologies on vehicles in order to keep their power output high and fuel economy high too. With those technologies come rising price tags – something we are already experiencing today. The second – most unlikely – scenario is the complete elimination of all powerful sports cars, leaving behind just the likes of the underpowered-for-a-true-sports-car Scion FR-S-like vehicles. The third scenario is one that would satisfy our itch for fast cars and the EPA’s itch for eco-friendly cars, and that is the widespread development of super powerful electric, hydrogen fuel cell or natural gas sports cars.

The latter situation is one that we already know is possible. Have a look as the Tesla Model S and you’ll see a car that can travel 300 miles on a charge and still zip to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. And that is a rather large sedan, so imagine it as a sports car. Same goes for the mid-5-second sprint to 60 mph that the 5,000-pound Fisker Karma completes. The final example is the Maxximus LNG 2000 and its 1,600-horsepower natural-gas-powered engine.

We think that this renewal of Obama’s stay at the White House won’t necessarily bring about the conversion to alternative fuel sports cars in the next four years, but it will certainly accelerate the process significantly. We honestly think it is a thing to look forward too, not be afraid of. Just think, no more gas station trips!!

view all
view all
view all
Read more

Fisker Determines the Cause of its Hurricane Sandy Fires

Yesterday, we let you know that 16 Fisker Karmas went up in flames after they were submerged at a New Jersey port following Hurricane Sandy. We now have Fisker’s official announcement regarding these fires, and it’s actually a little better a situation than we had initially assumed.

According to the report from Fisker, a single Karma caught fire after saltwater left corrosive residue on the vehicle control unit. This component then shorted out and caused a fire. The heavy winds from the Hurricane then spread the flames to the other 16 Karmas parked near it. This means that the other 15 burned Karmas actually survived submersion without catching fire. To us, that’s actually pretty incredible.

Also being reported is that the Karma was not the only vehicle that burned after Sandy beat the hell out of the northeast, as several Toyota Priuses and even a few gasoline-powered cars joined in on the automotive BBQ. Fisker has also debunked the myth that there was an explosion from the burning Karmas and that the lithium ion batteries – one of the more scary parts of electric vehicles – were not a contributing factor in the fire.

Just like we said before, when you add water to electronics, bad things are bound to happen. It’s actually pretty incredible that just one Karma went up in flames as a direct result of being submerged. In case you are thinking Fisker may have “cooked the books” on this investigation, keep in mind that the NHTSA was involved in the investigation.

UPDATE 11/08/2012: After a crazy week at Fisker, our contact was finally able to get back to us and let us know that the Karmas damaged totaled 338 and Fisker is putting through an insurance claim for them. Also, the cars destroyed were simply dealership stock and were not pre-sold vehicles, so no customers will be out of a car. Additionally, the damaged Karmas will not affect Fisker’s normal business operations moving forward.

Fisker also provided us with their full press release regarding the situation.

Click past the jump to read the full presser.

view all
Read more
Report: 16 Fisker Karmas Burn Following Hurricane Sandy

Report: 16 Fisker Karmas Burn Following Hurricane Sandy

Fisker had some issues with Karmas and spontaneous combustion, as of late, and even mentioning the word “Fire” in Fisker’s home office is likely an offense likely worthy of firing. Wait, but you can’t say “Firing” either, so how about “Termination.” Reports out of New Jersey of Karmas catching fire following Hurricane Sandy couldn’t have possibly come at a worse time.

According to the reports, a group of Fisker Karmas were sitting at port in New Jersey when seawater submerged them. A short time after their submersion, 16 of the stored Karmas burst into flames. From the images we are seeing, they are total losses and we will likely never know the precise cause, but Fisker is diligently investigating the situation.

One thing is for sure here, this will likely not have anything to do with a flaw in the Karma’s design. It’s likely no more Fisker’s fault than a blow dryer’s fault for you getting electrocuted while drying your hair in the bathtub. It’s simple: deep water + electronics = “zap” and “boom.” This is multiplied when you add in the corrosive salt in the ocean and the fact that these cars were likely submerged for a long time.

We are more concerned with whether these cars were already sold to customers or if they were just dealership stock. Plus, with the financial eggshells that all startups walk on, we are concerned with how losing this large of a percentage of Karmas produced will affect Fisker’s 2012 and 2013 outlook.

We’ve reached out to Fisker to try to get a better grasp on the situation. We’ll pass any information we get along to you.

view all
Read more
2012 Fisker Karma by 3M

2012 Fisker Karma by 3M

We’re used to seeing tuning projects that provide a nice little exterior upgrade and a killer engine upgrade to satisfy our need for speed. With regulations getting stricter and electric and hybrid vehicles gaining momentum, we’re going to have to get used to seeing projects with zero engine upgrades and plenty of exterior mods to make up for it. Case in point, the Fisker Karma lineup headed to the 2012 SEMA Auto Show with a variety of paint finishes.

Fisker teamed up with 3M to present four different paint schemes, each introduced for every 24 hours span of the SEMA Auto Show. Four days, four cars, and four colors, all with deep meaning, according to Fisker. The first paint finish for the Karma is a combination of Gloss Burnt Orange and Brushed Black Metallic "October Sun" to commemorate Fall. Next, there’s a Karma "Riverside" painted in Matte White with Gloss Blue Metallic racing stripes - a tribute to American racing heritage.

The third Fisker to be presented will feature a "Classic" Hot Rod Red combined with a bold, brushed aluminum-trimmed Gloss Black stripe honoring the great American custom car scene, while the fourth version - "Onward" - combines a very cool Satin Black and Gloss Burnt Orange to reflect Fisker’s new brand look and feel. This version will also have 3M’s Crystalline Automotive Film applied to its windows.

More details on these painted up Fisker Karmas will be unveiled during the 2012 SEMA Auto Show, so stay tuned.

view all
Read more

Latest Detroit Auto Show:

Fisker's Battery Supplier, A123, Files Bankruptcy and Sells off Assets

Fisker’s Battery Supplier, A123, Files Bankruptcy and Sells off Assets

A123 has been put through the ringer in recent history, most notably with its massive battery recall, and now it is just about belly up. Things were starting to look up for the battery make when it announced that a $450 million deal had been reached with Wanxiang Group Corp, but that deal recently fell through.

Now the inevitable is upon A123, as news came across the board that A123 had filed for bankruptcy protection, despite having received a $249 million government grant. With this bankruptcy filing also comes the likely liquidation of its assets. It appears as if A123 has already gotten a head start on this liquidation by negotiating to sell off its automotive business to Johnson Controls – well-known for building nearly every lead-acid and gel battery sold.

The deal is not yet done, but it is reportedly for the sum of $125 million and will include the Fisker, GM, and BMW contracts that A123 has already inked. Part of the proposed deal includes Johnson Controls fronting A123 $72.5 million in “debtor possession” funds to keep the bankrupt company running while the sale is being completed. There is no timetable for the completion of the deal, but per the press release, things will continue as usual for A123 during the entire sale process.

All we can hope for is a full turnaround once this technology gets in the hands of Johnson Controls, as the fate of the EV realm rests heavily on the technologies developed by A123. This could possibly be part of the reason that Fisker wasn’t shy about announcing that the upcoming Atlantic was delayed. We’ll also keep an eye on the Chevy Spark EV project to see if that is put on hold until this situation is resolved.

We’ll keep you updated.

Click past the jump to read A123’s press release.

<galleryr127458|count=4>

Read more

Fisker Looking into "Strategic Partnerships"

Fresh from managing to nickel and dime an extra $100 million from private investors, Fisker is all but admitting that it needs more help – significantly more. In a rcent interview, Fisker let the cat out of the proverbial bag that it is currently looking to ink some partnership deals with larger manufacturers.

Though there is no mention of who Fisker may be looking to partner up with, its CEO-for-the-moment, Tony Posawatz, said that a partnership is “on our radar screen.” Chances are it will be looking for deals similar to the ones that Tesla has entered into with Daimler and Toyota. The real question is who would be interested in tying themselves to Fisker at this point in the game?

With the financial, quality, and safety issues that Fisker has endured lately, it may be more of a burden than it’s worth. This is almost the identical reason that no one is interested in Lotus to date; it’s just too risky of a venture.

Fisker may be willing to sweet the pot on a potential deal by covering more production costs or giving up partial ownership to help draw in an industry leader, like acquisition-happy Volkswagen, in order to get some much-needed cash flow. As it stands right now, Fisker needs help and a partnership may be its only way to survive.

We’ll keep an eye on this to see if Fisker can convince a fellow automaker to take a risk by inking a production deal of some sort.

view all
Read more

Fisker Falls Short of its $150 Million in Private Funds, but Raises Enough to Continue

So, Fisker has been out and about doing its corporate panhandling, err, "fundraising program" in an attempt to raise $150 million to keep its doors open and develop a red hot following to the on-fire Karma, which sold 1,500 models – all of which have been recalled at least once. Fisker plans to release this new follow-up model, the Atlantic, in December 2012.

Well, it looks like interest is starting to decrease in the Fisker line up, as it fell a full $50 million short of its fundraising goal. Fisker’s latest CEO stand-in, Tony Posawatz, seems to think that this is plenty of money to keep the heat turned on and develop its follow up model to the Karma. In a statement, Posawatz said ““We are grateful to both our investors and our initial customers who have supported our company and are quickly becoming our biggest advocates.” He also said “This is another major vote of confidence in Fisker’s pioneering technology and business model”

Last time we checked, falling short of a goal by 33 percent is far from a “vote of confidence.” Then again, Fisker did thank its initial customer base, which we are sure will add plenty to the pot as they pay to upgrade the crummy infotainment system in the Karma that Fisker said it will not upgrade for free.

Since 2007, Fisker has swindled investors out of $1.2 billion dollars and the federal government also tossed in an additional $193 million before turning off the leaking faucet that was its $529 million loan promise to Fisker. So that means they blew through about $240 million per year.

So the Fisker saga will continue for at least a short amount of time, as that $100 million likely won’t get them too far – maybe another six months. We should get to see at least a few CEO changes as it burns through the quarters and pennies that investors tossed into Fisker’s coffee can as they drove by…

We wonder how Tesla is doing…

Click past the jump to read Fisker’s press release.

view all
Read more
Fisker Sets the Record Books Ablaze by Scorching Two Electric Vehicle World Records

Fisker Sets the Record Books Ablaze by Scorching Two Electric Vehicle World Records

We know what you’re thinking... No, Fisker didn’t break the world record for number of smoldering EVs, though it may be a record. Rather Fisker is obviously burning for a little positive pub, as it set two nearly unknown records.

A total of 45 Karma owners were gathered by Fisker’s Dutch arm and simultaneously charged their Karmas. This sets the record for number of single-branded vehicles charging at the same time. Burning up a record set by John and Susan Johnson of Schenectady, NY, who at one time charged their two Nissan Leafs (or is it “Leaves”) at the same time one evening. We’re kidding, of course; we have no clue who held the record before and likely neither does the former owner.

We wonder if all of these Karma owners were there to get their flaming recall fixed, or maybe to pay Karma to upgrade their cruddy navigation system. Either way, this Fisker was on fire that day, as it also had a hand in setting a second record, which was the highest number of mixed-brand electric vehicles to be charged simultaneously, which is now set at 50. This scorches the record of 43 set back in May by DBT CEV – don’t worry, we’ve never heard of them either – a manufacturer of charging stations and equipment.

We wonder if they had a bonfire party to celebrate the event? No need to ask one of the EV owners for a match, Fisker always brings its own to these kinds of events.

Congrats on smoking the competition, Fisker!

Click past the jump to read Fisker’s press release, hot off of the press.

Read more

Leaked Fisker Documents Show That Fisker "Kinda" Cares About Customer Complaints

A life lesson that most auto buffs learned from their parents is never buy a first-release vehicle, especially if it is bearing new technology. It is bound to have tons of bugs that will drive you insane. Well, when you dump $100K on a new car, you kind of expect it to be about as bug-free as possible. In the last year, we have seen two new cars come out bearing very new technologies, the Fisker Karma and Tesla Model S.

The Model S has moved along relatively unscathed with only minor complaints here and there. The Karma, on the other hand, has had a slew of issues and complaints. Oh, and this nasty little habit of spontaneously combusting when it’s parked.

Some of these bugs are being addressed in a very lukewarm sort of way, via a Fisker-created document called the “Customer Town Hall FAQ.” Some of the highlights include Fisker admitting that its navigation system pretty much stinks and they will “investigate ways to improve system performance” and Fisker realizing that they forgot to include a mute feature for the oft-error-filled navigation system. So, not only do you have a navi system that’s incorrect, but one that constantly blurts out “Left turn ahead” in the wrong places without the ability to mute it... Hmmm.

An odd one is a complaint that the engine still comes on when the car is in “Stealth” mode — a mode where it’s supposed to be noiseless. Fisker answered this by basically saying “the engine needs lubed,” “the emissions system runs with the fuel door open,” and “the high-voltage battery may ask for a charge when it really doesn’t need one.”

The biggest FAQ is when asked about software upgrades becoming free, Fisker simply says only warranty items will be free; anything that improves the functionality of existing will always carry a fee. Nearly every other car manufacturer performs these types of upgrades free of charge, what makes Fisker think they don’t need to? If GM will update my sister’s 160,000-mile Saturn’s computer for free (done a few weeks ago), why won’t Fisker update its year-old Karma’s unsatisfactory systems?

We guess Fisker needs a few more investors before they can afford that.

Click past the jump to read the entire “Customer Town Hall FAQ.”

view all
Read more

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, Calls Fisker a "Mediocre Product at a High Price;" Henrik Fisker "Delighted"

It was just a matter of time before Tesla and Fisker had to duke it out for a second time – the first coming in a Fisker-won court battle. This time around, it was Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, that decided to drop the gloves and poke Fisker for a fight. In an interview with Automobile Magazine, Musk said “It’s a mediocre product at a high price,” when talking about the Karma. He also said that “[Fisker] thinks the most important thing in the world — or the only important thing in the world — is design, so he outsourced the engineering and manufacturing.”

Musk did, however, pay a much-deserved complement to the Karma, stating that “It looks good” and “Particularly from the side it looks good." That’s definitely a comment that we can all agree with. Even ousted Fisker CEO, Henrik Fisker, stated that he’s “delighted that Elon thinks the Karma is a good-looking car.” Fisker went on to assure us that Tesla and Fisker are not competitors and that they use two different technologies and are going after completely different customers.

We beg to differ with that statement. Yes, you are using different technologies – Tesla’s is far more advanced – but you are competing for the same customers. Any hybrid customer or extended-range EV buyer would be silly not to look into the technology that Tesla has created and anyone that thinks that they are not in competition with one another is a little bit disillusioned.

We think that Musk was a little brash with his statements and would be better off to keep his opinions out of the corporate spotlight, regardless of how true they may be. Then again, the comments are damn funny, regardless of how inappropriate they may have been. Guess we have to give Musk some credit for speaking his mind.

view all
view all
Read more

Latest Videos:

Investigation Complete: Second Flaming Fisker was Caused by a Failed Fan

The second Fisker fire fiasco has officially come to a close and the investigation turned up pretty much what we all expected: the batteries were not at fault. As we stated in our initial report, the fire was near the front of the vehicle, so failed batteries would have been a rather unlikely cause.

After a full investigation by Fisker’s engineers and an “independent fire expert” from Pacific Rim Investigative Services, it was discovered that the fire source was a faulty low-temperature cooling fan. In a fit of customer service, Fisker has decided to recall all affected Karma units.

In a press release regarding the findings, Fisker makes sure that everyone knows it’s not responsible by passing the blame torch to the fan manufacturer, calling it the “responsible supplier.” While that is technically a true statement, there is really no need to openly pass that blame. In all reality, your company installed the fan and performed the obligatory testing on it.

Surprisingly, the most directly affected person – the owner of the Fisker flambe – had the following to say: “I have been incredibly impressed with the way Fisker has handled this incident. I have personally started seven technology companies and know from direct experience that the US needs more innovative companies of this type, especially in the automobile sector. Fisker is a great company and one that I am personally planning to invest in. I look forward to getting behind the wheel of my next Fisker.”

Good for the customer for being so forgiving, but we would be hard pressed to get behind the wheel of a Fisker until there is plenty testing done without any incidents of fire.

We’re glad to see this fiasco come to an end and we truly hope that this is the last of Fisker’s issues, as we want to see this alternative fuel technology succeed and this success depends on the success or failure of both Tesla and Fisker.

Click past the jump to read Fisker’s full presser.

view all
Read more

Fisker Seeking an Additional $150 Million in Investment Money

It’s no secret that Fisker has been walking a financial tightrope without a net, ever since the Department of Energy froze the $529 million loan to the hybrid car company. Now it appears as if they are hitting the bottom of the piggy bank, as Ray Lane, one of Fisker’s directors and managing partners, has released in an interview that they need more money to finance their next car.

According to reports, Fisker has raised an impressive $400 million in the last 12 months, but still needs an additional $150 million to help fund its next model and hit the breakeven point. This is likely not even the last of the fundraising, as Lane also alluded to the possibility of Fisker having to schmooze investors for a little more money in 2013.

After the company is no longer running at an operating loss, Lane also anticipates the company releasing an initial public offering, making Fisker a publicly traded company. If recent IPOs are any indication of the future IPO market (See: Facebook, et al) Fisker may want to rethink that plan.

We are excited to see Fisker’s next model, despite its combustion issues, but it may want to slow its roll just a little bit and focus on making the Karma a profitable venture prior to branching out, much like Tesla is doing. We guess we’ll see how this all pans out in the future, but we think Fisker’s trying to run the 400-meter hurdles before it can even walk.

view all
Read more

The Fisker Fire Spreads... To its CEO

When two Fisker cars catch on fire within months of each other, what’s the first action you may expect from the car company? We would expect a thorough evaluation of the situation, a final determination, then maybe some internal rearranging, given the second fire is found to be caused by an issue with the company’s manufacturing process.

They must do things a little differently at Fisker, as it has chosen to replace its CEO – the second time that has happened this year, by the way – and replace him with Chevy Volt line director, Tony Posawatz. Interesting last name for a guy heading up a hybrid car company... Reuters is also reporting that the fired CEO will be around to offer “fatherly advice” to the new CEO, but he will not hold a formal role with the company.

We don’t know if Fisker’s latest CEO to enter the revolving door has anything to do with the Fisker-b-q that’s been going on recently, but the timing sure does seem a little strange to us. We are actually due to talk with Fisker at some point today, so we will make certain to ask their rep all about this situation while we’re on the phone with him.

We’re pretty sure we’ll get a canned response about the dismissal, but it’s well worth a try nonetheless. We’ll let you know what we hear from the rep, if he tells us anything at all.

view all
Read more
One Fisker Bar-b-q is a Mistake, Two may be an Epidemic

One Fisker Bar-b-q is a Mistake, Two may be an Epidemic

Back in May, a Fisker Karma was parked in an owner’s garage when it suddenly burst into flames. That specific case was basically written off by investigators as a battery failure, being described as looking like a golf cart fire. This latest Fisker BBQ is a little different than the previous one, as the flames are in an area away from the batteries.

Fisker has released two statements in regards to this issue and essentially says: “we know of the fire,” “fires happen in cars,” and “we are looking into it, so calm down” in so many words. The second one summarizes as "we doubt it was the battery, as the fire was in the front," "the fire source was from outside of the engine compartment," and "we’re looking into it (again)." Fisker also states that it will release another statement once the investigation is complete and the final cause of the fire is determined.

Fisker is really doing everything it can to keep people from thinking that this fire has anything to do with its battery packs. One of the more likely causes to the lack of EV sales these days is the public fear of electrical shorts in these high-voltage machines and the related fires.

We’ll keep you updated on this one and let you know all of the latest news. Check out the above video to see the flaming Fisker being put out.

Click past the jump to read Fisker’s two press releases.

view all
Read more
A123 May Have a Solved the No. 1 Problem with Lithium-Ion Car Batteries

A123 May Have a Solved the No. 1 Problem with Lithium-Ion Car Batteries

One of the largest – if not the largest – problems with electric cars becoming a complete reality is the limitation of the lithium-ion battery. One issue is the fact that they are extremely susceptible to extreme heat and cold. Both ends of the temperature spectrum result in serious energy loss, which, in turn, creates excessive battery usage to obtain the same results. This is exactly why the estimated mileage of EVs can vary greatly, depending on the environment.

To help regulate the battery temperature, EV manufacturers today are using liquid coolant to maintain an optimal temperature, just like the coolant works in an internal combustion engine. This liquid come with added expense, as it is expensive to manufacture and adds in a complex system to regulate the coolant temperature.

A123, a leading battery manufacturer for EVs, recently developed and is currently testing a battery it dubbed the Nanophosphate EXT, which can handle extreme hot and cold without requiring any coolant to maintain its temperature, per A123. In testing, this new lithium-ion battery held roughly 90 percent of its energy capacity in 113-degree heat, which shows it can take heat.

According to reports, cold testing is underway at a temperature of -22 degrees Fahrenheit and A123 claims that the batteries deliver 20 percent more power than standard coolant-regulated batteries at the same temperature.

In addition to it not needing temperature regulation, A123 also claims that Nanophosphate EXT batteries can last two to three times longer than an equivalent lithium-ion battery.

Combining more energy at extreme temperatures, deletion of the complex cooling system, and the lighter nature of these batteries, thanks to the lack of coolant, this new battery technology appears to be nothing short of a winner. With developments like this new battery and the high-tech and high-performance nature of EVs like the Tesla Model S and Fisker Karma, we just may see EVs become more of a reality to replace Dinosaur flesh-burning vehicles in the next 10 years.

We’ll keep you updated if anything new comes from A123’s research.

Click past the jump to read A123’s official presser about this new technology.

view all
view all
Read more

Fisker posts impressive sales and revenue figures

This may surprise many of you, but the simple fact is that many automotive manufacturers who take their chance in the luxury car market, or supercar market, actually lose money from the venture.

This is exactly the case with the Lexus LFA, and despite its $375,000 price tag, the company has made no money with its V10-powered supercar and it’s the same story for many other manufacturers. This also helps explain why the next LFA may cost twice as much as the original, as the Japanese firm cannot afford to lose any more money on the vehicle.

However, by some miracle, Fisker has managed to develop and produce its advanced Karma sedan without losing a penny and this is backed up by the fact that the small Californian firm has already delivered 1,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2012 and raked in $100 million in revenue.

Now these results would be all good and well if Fisker was satisfied having only one model for the coming years, but they’re not. In fact, the brand hopes to put the Atlantic concept into production as soon as possible and needs to acquire as much funding from the U.S. government as possible, as well as maintain the already impressive sales figures of the Karma.

Perhaps Justin Bieber’s chrome-wrapped Fisker Karma actually helped out the company, rather than being a complete abomination of what luxury cars are all about.

view all
view all
Read more
Justin Bieber's 2012 Fisker Karma all Chromed Out, Literally

Justin Bieber’s 2012 Fisker Karma all Chromed Out, Literally

As much as we try to resist talking about every single celebrity’s car, there are some cases where a celebrity car also happens to be 100% ridiculous. In those cases, well, we just can’t help ourselves. Enter in, Justin Bieber’s 2012 Fisker Karma.

We aren’t reporting on the fact that this teen pop idol is being environmentally friendly, nor that he was handed the keys to this beautiful black Fisker Karma free of charge. Nope, that’s not the story. The story is that this 18-year-old pop sensation turned this beautifully sculpted ECO-supercar into a rolling mirror, literally.

We are cool with a little chrome, but there is a point when it becomes excessive. Mr. Bieber, you hit that point of excess, then broke through the barrier and tossed a live grenade at the remainder of that barrier to make sure it can never be crossed again.

This young man chromed out the entire car, not just a few accents here and there, the e-n-t-i-r-e car. Top to bottom coated in shiny, sunlight-reflecting chrome. Now, if he lived somewhere that the sun wasn’t excruciatingly intense, that might be cool, but this dude lives in California. As you can see from the above video, the sunlight creates a nearly blinding reflection on the car’s surface, which we would assume is illegal.

Um, nope, according to California law, a fully chromed out car is perfectly legal, but those pretty little mood lights under the front bumper are not legal. I remember getting pulled over repeatedly in Pennsylvania for my Camaro’s exhaust being too loud, that monstrosity of a Karma is louder than my Camaro’s exhaust could have ever been.

Hit the jump to see this beautiful machine before Bieber ruined, err, customized it.

view all
Read more
A Parisian's dedication to charging his Fisker Karma

A Parisian’s dedication to charging his Fisker Karma

While the development of charging stations and wireless charging continues on a productive path, some people choose to charge their vehicles in a much more practical - and dedicated - fashion. We received a tip on an owner of a Fisker Karma in Paris that goes to great lengths - literally - to charge his hybrid sedan.

In the 16th District of Paris in "Place d’iena," where homes sell for about $3 million, a reader was able to take a picture of this Fisker Karma with its extension cord snaked out of its window. The extension cord was then stretched up to the owner’s window and undoubtedly plugged in to charge. As if that’s not ballsy enough in a neighborhood where thieves probably salivate at the opportunity of someone slipping up in their defenses, the owner left the car there overnight! This guy must really want to make sure his car is charged before going to work in the morning.

As a refresher, the Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid that uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Once the juice runs out of the batteries, a GM-sourced 2.0-liter gas engine producing 260 hp generates the electricity needed to power the sedan. Fisker says the Karma makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph.

view all
Read more

Video: Fisker Karma heads to Jay Leno’s Garage

Jay Leno may be losing his touch. The Fisker Karma made its debut a few months ago and the car has only now made it into the late night talk show host’s garage for inspection. Of course, they could have been waiting for all of their ducks to be in a row, considering the vehicle showed up with the founder of the company — and former Aston Martin designer - Henrik Fisker.

The video is 20 minutes long and in it, Fisker explains the technology behind this impressive hybrid sedan in detail, as well as talks about the story behind this $95,900 luxury sedan.

Refresher: The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid that uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Fisker says the Karma achieves the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph.

view all
Read more
Ashton Kutcher drives Fisker Karma in Two and a Half Men

Ashton Kutcher drives Fisker Karma in Two and a Half Men

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, everyone knows that Charlie Sheen has been falling into a downward spiral filled with drugs, prostitutes, and questionable cases of "winning." Fed up and insulted, CBS officials cast off the tainted star and replaced him by actor and comedian, Ashton Kutcher. Not a bad replacement if you can get it, but in watching Kutcher’s first episode, we noticed another star that was not so heavily marketed. Kutcher’s ride in the series is the hybrid Fisker Karma.

The sleek extended-range electric sedan made its debut in the show when Walden Schmidt (played by Kutcher) drove up to the house. CBS undoubtedly provided the character with an up and coming hybrid car to play up Kutcher’s good boy character and leave behind the bad boy essence of Sheen.

When discussing the choice to allow CBS to use the vehicle, Fisker spokesman, Roger Ormisher, said: "We are delighted to be have been pro-actively chosen as Ashton’s car on Two and a Half Men – it will give Fisker amazing visibility not only in the US but internationally too. The on-going partnership with Two and a Half Men is one that is both exciting and motivational for everybody here at Fisker Automotive."

view all
Read more

The Car Show: Season 1 Episode 6

Adam Carolla may be in the hot seat for some "decorated" commentary during the Adam Carolla Show podcast, but The Car Show can still forge ahead, hopefully without a loss of viewers. This week’s episode finds the hosts testing the Mercedes SLS AMG against the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, Dan Neil strolling through the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and an interview with the outstanding Jason Castriota.

Usually a nice segway into the other, more important segments of the show, this week’s mini segments were a bit on the disappointing side. There was a "prank" type video showing us the World’s Worse Valet which had its funny moments, but fell short of what we expected. Then there was the biggest waste of time to date, the Great Car Knack. This mini segment has Adam dressed to the hilt in a cheap fortune teller costume while telling the people in the audience their future. It sounds ridiculous and, well, it was.

Full details on the The Car Show: Season 1 Episode 6 after the jump.

Read more
Fisker crossover model set to be introduced at Frankfurt

Fisker crossover model set to be introduced at Frankfurt

Fisker took years to have the Karma set and ready for production and now the company is rolling out new models at the Frankfurt Motor Show?

Sounds a little ambitious in our book, but the company is reportedly looking at introducing a host of new models in the coming years. One of the first models expected to be revealed is a crossover concept that’s scheduled to be introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

We like the aggressive direction Fisker is taking after the long-awaited release of the Karma sports car, but the plethora of new models on tap in the coming years makes us think that these guys may be in over their heads. In addition to the crossover, Fisker is expected to introduce the soon-to-be released Karma saloon, a hard-top convertible version called the Karma S, a four-wheel-drive version of the Karma, and a new ’Nina’ model. We want to be wrong on this because we love what Henrik Fisker did with the Karma, but it just feels like they’re biting off more than they can chew.

Read more
Fisker Karma has been delayed yet again for July 2011

Fisker Karma has been delayed yet again for July 2011

Is the Fisker Karma the automotive equivalent of Gran Turismo 5?

Sure looks like it after the plug-in luxury sports car’s production date has been set back once again, this time until July. We’ve heard this sordid tale of run-around after run-around before and it can get pretty exhausting, especially when you consider that the Karma’s release date was supposed to happen over a year ago.

According to GreenCarReports, Roger Ormisher, director of global communications for Fisker Automotive, was quoted saying that the "first dealer [demonstration vehicles] and customer cars will arrive on these shores in July." So that pretty much rules out the earlier dates of May and June, as was previously announced by the company.

It’s disappointing, make no mistake about it. But considering that the company is still in its infancy, a little latitude should be exercised, if only to give these guys time to get their acts together. Then again, it probably isn’t a good business idea to keep delaying the product’s release date when you already raised it’s price before the car even hit the market.

This isn’t GT5, which you can just plop down 60 bucks to take home with you. $95,000 is a lot of money for people to part with and continuing to delay the release of the car could turn a lot of people off.

view all
Read more
First Fisker Karma rolls out of the production line

First Fisker Karma rolls out of the production line

The Fisker Karma made its debut as a concept car in 2008 at the Detroit Auto Show. Three years later, the first unit has finally rolled out of the Valmet Automotive’s plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland. US and European customers will receive their first units by next month. According to Roger Ormisher, a spokesman for Fisker: "We’re going to be ramping up very slowly, very carefully to ensure quality. This year we want to get over 7,000 deliveries." Very slowly, huh? And how would that be different than what they’ve been doing?

The Karma uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Once the juice runs out of the batteries, a GM-sourced 2.0-liter gas engine making 260 hp generates the electricity needed to power the sedan. Fisker says the Karma makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph. The hybrid sedan has a fuel consumption of 2.4L/100 km (100 mpg) fuel consumption and a CO2 emission of just 83g/km.

On the US market, prices started from $88,400 after an eligible $7,500 tax credit.

view all
Read more
TopSpeed's Best of 2011: Geneva Motor Show

TopSpeed’s Best of 2011: Geneva Motor Show

The Geneva Motor Show is one of the biggest shows of the year and the 2011 event certainly did not disappoint. With over 70 cars lined up and ready to take our breaths away, choosing our favorites between them all was not an easy task.

Sure, there were some easy choices, like the brand spanking new Lamborghini Aventador or the Jaguar XKR-S, or brilliant tuning projects like the ABT R8 GT S. Then there was the job of tossing out the not-so-brilliant vehicles like theMitsubishi Global Small or the rather useless Rinspeed Bamboo. The 2011 Geneva Motor Show brought out cars from one side of the spectrum to the other, and rifling through them took some time. Some may not agree with our choices and that’s okay. However, everyone can appreciate a beautiful or highly efficient car when they see one, and we’ve gathered some exceptional specimens to share.

Hit the jump to check out our choices for the Best of the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.

Read more
2011 Fisker Karma

2011 Fisker Karma

With gas prices heading well above $3.00 per gallon in most states, economical cars and trucks have made a resurgence in the American automotive consumer’s mind. One can hardly drive down a road without seeing one of the first and most popular hybrid cars, the Toyota Prius. Most major manufacturers have since produced these types of vehicles and there are more new models in the works, even from upstart luxury manufacturers.

One of the premier automotive designers in the industry felt hybrid cars were lacking in both excitement and luxury, and decided to take it upon himself to create a new segment. Henrik Fisker previously designed such memorable cars as the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9. His company originally made several re-bodied versions of the Mercedes SL and the BMW 6-series, but in very limited production and a high price tag. Fisker Automotive became a true manufacturer in 2007 with the simple idea of creating an inspired, beautiful, and exciting luxury hybrid vehicles. Shortly after, the Fisker Karma was introduced at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. It’s easy to see why it turned more than a few heads with its voluptuous flowing lines and promised 50-mile full electric range.

As if drop-dead good looks were not enough to distinguish this car from other eco-friendly vehicles, the performance numbers help the Karma truly pull away from the crowd. Its 0-60 mph performance is said to be in the neighborhood of 5.8 seconds with a top speed of 125 mph. The Karma may not be able to keep up with your neighbor’s Porsche Panamera, but while you’re getting 67 miles per gallon, he will be sitting at a gas station.

UPDATE 03/23/2011: Three years after the Karman first debuted at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, the first unit has finally rolled out of the Valmet Automotive’s plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland. US and European customers will receive their first units by next month.

UPDATE 07/13/11: Finally, the Fisker Karma is set to be delivered to its first customers. It took a long time, but the wait is now over. The luxury plug-in hybrid sedan is scheduled to be delivered later this month with the first person expected to get his hands on it being no other than Hollywood A-lister and eco-guy Leonardo di Caprio. According to Fisker, there are already 3,000 pre-orders for the car with the wait list expected to hit until early 2012.

Hit the jump for more details on the 2011 Fisker Karma.

Read more
Fisker Karma Online Configurator Up And Ready

Fisker Karma Online Configurator Up And Ready

Honestly, we thought the day would never come, as delay after delay held back the gorgeously styled plug-in hybrid sports car that is the Fisker Karma. While the car itself isn’t ready to be sold, the online configurator is ready.

We finally got our first glimpse at the production version of the Karma at the 2010 Paris Motor Show and it doesn’t look half bad. Those who say that you can’t have fun driving a hybrid will need to get a load of this. The Karma will be able to hit 60 miles per hour in under six seconds, yet still manage 100 miles per gallon.

When you log onto the configurator you will be able to see the different color options and the three trim levels. Buyers can choose from the Standard, Chic, and Sport. If you opt for the base model you will get two color options, but if you go for the top of the line model you can get five more. If you really want to go out of the ballpark, the Chic model offers a color called Earth. We assume it’s a mixture of white, blue, green, and brown.

Read more
Fisker Karma production version to be revealed in Paris

Fisker Karma production version to be revealed in Paris

We first saw the concept version of the Fisker Karma at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show with its first production version showing its environmentally friendly face at the same auto show exactly one year later. Orders were supposed to start shipping in the fourth quarter of 2009, but things aren’t always what they seem and the Fisker Karma saw delay after delay. Those excuses end now, as Fisker is finally ready to bring the Karma out into the wild at the Paris Auto Show. The four-door, four-passenger model will become the world’s first true premium plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

The Karma uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Once the juice runs out of the batteries, a GM-sourced 2.0-liter gas engine making 260 hp generates the electricity needed to power the sedan. Fisker says the Karma makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph. The hybrid sedan has a fuel consumption of 2.4L/100 km (100 mpg) fuel consumption and a CO2 emission of just 83g/km.

Prices were announced to start from a total of $87,900.

Read more
Video: Fisker Karma commercial

Video: Fisker Karma commercial

Who would have ever believed that hybrid cars could end up getting such cool commercials? We can tell you that, a few years ago, no one thought it would be possible. Yet, here we are, and we got a sweet commercial to show you from Fisker Automotive. This sexy and sultry commercial is the company’s way of saying that hybrid models can be fun to drive cars and this steamy commercial for the Karma plug-in hybrid sedan is "designed to get you hot!" At least this is what the commercial says!

The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid that uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Once the juice runs out of the batteries, a GM-sourced 2.0-liter gas engine making 260 hp generates the electricity needed to power the sedan. Fisker says the Karma makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph. The sedan is priced at $87,900.

Read more
Fisker Karma delayed, again

Fisker Karma delayed, again

In a previous statement Fisker spokesman Russell Datz announced that the "first few customers" will get Karma vehicles by the end of the year, with full production to start in the first three months of 2011. Apparently this will not happen. As you might know, Fisker is currently having some financial problems and those problems will be delaying these deliveries.

Last month,Fisker reported that it had already raised $35 million from private equity to fund and build the Karma. Part of that federal funding will also go towards building 75,000 to 100,000 vehicles at its Wilmington, Del., plant starting in 2012.

The Karma is a plug-in hybrid that uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Once the juice runs out of the batteries, a GM-sourced 2.0-liter gas engine making 260 hp generates the electricity needed to power the sedan. Fisker says the Karma makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph.

Read more
Fisker Karma shows the world what they can do at Laguna Seca

Fisker Karma shows the world what they can do at Laguna Seca

The Laguna Seca hosted a number of impressive race cars over the weekend, some of them thrilling fans with their sheer speed, while others making them cringe for crashing into tire barriers. Lost in the hoopla of the vintages and exotics that drove around Seca was a car that could very well be the future of sports cars: the Fisker Karma hybrid.

The Karma – we love the name, by the way – made its driving debut at the Seca last weekend as part of the Monterey Historic Automobile Races and by any and all indication, impressed the gathered crowd by attaining speeds in excess of 100 mph without using a drop of gasoline. The hybrid sports car is unique for its twin-electric motors – which are capable of producing as much as 403 hp and 959lb/ft of torque – are connected to a 200kW lithiuim-ion battery pack that allows the car to travel by as much as 8o kmh.

The car’s performance at the Seca re-affirmed the growing belief that ‘green’ sports cars are more than just a pipe dream now. Henrik Fisker, the CEO of the company was on-hand for the demonstration and made no bones about the Karma’s impressive showing. “This demonstration represents a significant milestone for Fisker Automotive and PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) technology,” he said.

Read more
Video: Fisker Karma on the track

Video: Fisker Karma on the track

Even if it is a hybrid, the Fisker Karma still looks like a pretty capable sports car. The environmentally friendly automaker is also preparing a convertible variant, but there is also a third model, a smaller electric version. Hopefully the future models will look as good as the current Karma, but until then we can enjoy the current Fisker in what appears to be comfortable surroundings.

Read more
Fisker Karma promotional video

Fisker Karma promotional video

Fisker revealed today the first promotional video for the Karma - world’s first luxury hybrid sedan.

Karma uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Once the juice runs out of the batteries, a GM-sourced 2.0-liter gas engine making 260 hp generates the electricity needed to power the sedan. Fisker says the Karma makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph.

Read more
2009 Fisker Karma S Convertible Concept

2009 Fisker Karma S Convertible Concept

Fisker Automotive founder Henrik Fisker is no dummy. Before he was in the hybrid car game he was supplying the world with sleek coupes and convertibles like the Tramonto and Latigo. So when his company put out the production Karma sedan at the Detroit Auto Show, Fisker also lobbed off two doors and the roof to create the Karma S concept car.

The Karma S shares its aluminum spaceframe architecture and Q-Drive powertrain with the Fisker Karma sedan. So just like the sedan, the convertible can run up to 50 miles on using its lithium-ion battery pack to power the combined 403 hp of the two electric motors. Beyond the battery-packs range a 260 hp 2.0-liter GM Ecotec engine will generate the electricity.

The design provides for a compact folding hardtop that doesn’t interfere too much with the car’s design lines. No word yet on how much added wright comes with losing the Karma’s top, but that will become clear when/if this car makes its planned 2011 production deadline.

Press release after the jump.

Read more