Karma wants the world to know it means business with a sleek and potent electric hypercar concept

Karma is entertaining us with quite the stand at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which is also home for the SC2 Concept. The Karma SC2 previews the startup’s future design direction - those are Karma’s words, by the way - which means we’re not necessarily going to see a road-going car inspired by the prototype. Instead, this is Karma showing us what its design and engineering departments are capable of churning out.

We’re sorry to trash your expectations this early, but there’s more to the SC2 Concept than the probability of it spawning a road-ready car. For example, Karma says that the all-electric powertrain is powerful enough to propel the rig from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 1.9 seconds. Is this a poke at the Tesla Roadster, which “coincidentally” (and theoretically) can dispatch the same interval in 1.9 seconds, too?

Karma SC2 Drivetrain and Performance

  • twin electric motors, one on each axle
  • system power: 800 kW (1,072 hp)
  • 0-60 in 1.9 seconds
  • wheel torque: 10,500 lb-ft (14,000 Nm)
  • 120-kWh battery
  • 350-mile range
  • regen braking
  • launch control
  • torque vectoring
2019 Karma SC2 Concept
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Ever since Tesla taught the car world that EVs can and should offer bucketloads of performance that’s usually condensed in the 0-60 sprint time, carmakers have been going crazy about making their electric cars as quick as possible. It looks like Karma’s doing the same thing with the SC2’s drivetrain, because on paper, it sure is impressive:

0-60 miles per hour takes 1.9 seconds and maximum range is estimated at 350 miles; not bad for a car’s that’s supposed to hold performance on the highest pedestal.
Twin electric motors mounted on the rear and front axle offer as much as 800 kilowatts of power (that’s 1,072 horsepower) and 10,500 pound-feet (14,000 Newton-meters) of instant wheel torque.

They are fed by an I-shaped Li-ion battery pack with a capacity of 120 kilowatt-hours, mounted right in the central tunnel beneath the dashboard and the seats. That’s a solution less adopted these days, when most carmakers place their battery packs in the vehicle’s floor, for better balance and a lower center of gravity that in turn aid with handling and stability on the road.

If we are to look at the Tesla Roadster - just to paint a bigger picture here, then it’s worth adding into the equation that fact that while the Roadster has a 0-60 sprint time estimated at 1.9 seconds, it should offer a max range of 620 miles - that’s double than what the SC2 promises - and wheel torque rated at 10,000 Newton-meters (7,376 pound-feet), 4,000 Newton-meters (2,950 pound-feet) less than the SC2.

2019 Karma SC2 Concept
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Given the location of the battery pack, Karma’s solution for top-notch handling and braking “expected in an electric hypercar” includes “an ultrasonic dynamic regenerative panel” as well as carbon ceramic brakes, a push-rod-style race suspension setup, and a transmission capable of torque vectoring. Karma also tells us that the setup was tuned to provide corner-carving adrenaline while navigating the tight curves of California’s mountain, canyon, and coastal regions. The SC2 concept also offers a launch control feature as well as regenerative braking.

Karma SC2 Exterior Design

  • elongated hood
  • hinge-winged doors
  • Vapor Gray body paint
  • hypercar proportions
  • fluid shapes
  • aerodynamic components
  • 22-inch wheels
2019 Karma SC2 Concept
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Karma says the SC2’s platform can be integrated into a plethora of “future” vehicles yet for the concept, the California-based company went for extreme design with street-ready hypercar proportions. The color covering the sleek body is called Vapor Gray and was applied by hand. What’s more, the SC2’s outer shell is said to be aero-optimized, but that’s not something out of the ordinary or unexpected.

There is, indeed, a unique sleekness provided by the generous length between the front axle and the windscreen, reminding of the current GT cars from Aston Martin.

Another neat feature is the articulating hinge-winged door design, that allows them to rise upward and forward, each taking a section of the roof with it in the process. Elsewhere, the concept sports a pointy nose and a forward-sloping hood that reminds us of the current F-Type. Overall, the body is sculpted in such a manner that it doesn’t flaunt too many creases or sharp angles, while the prototype’s sides flow to the almost-perky rear end adding to the fluidness of the whole car. The rear end is dominated by the interconnected thin taillights and a massive diffuser.

2019 Karma SC2 Concept
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Less visible at first sight, right on top of the rear window, sits a two-piece spoiler of sorts with two triangular wings positioned to the sides instead of centrally.

The said diffuser, the side skirts, and the front splitter are made of a material that looks more like a composite of sorts and not carbon fiber, but Karma doesn’t offer any hints in this regard. Rounding up the package is a set of 22-inch wheels with an aero-optimized, turbine-style design pattern.

Karma SC2 Interior Design

  • minimalistic approach
  • biometric seats
  • brown leather upholstery
  • composite trim elements
  • rectangular steering wheel w/ rounded corners
  • fiber optic headliner
  • 3D audio setup
  • suite of cameras, radar, and lidar
  • electro-chromatic windows
2019 Karma SC2 Concept
- image 872881

Open the spectacular doors and you’ll be greeted at first by a fiber optic headliner. Mind you though, to entry the car you’ll first have to go past the fingerprint and facial recognition sensors. Once they confirm your identity, you’re free to sit in each one of the two futuristic-y biometric seats that are lusciously profiled and wrapped in brown leather, right in front of a rectangular steering wheel (albeit with rounded corners) that also features the KARMA lettering in the middle and what looks like haptic controls on both sides, right near the place where your thumbs would rest while driving.

The steering wheel is wrapped in the same brown leather as the seats.

What’s more, the same material is found on the instrument cluster visor, seat headrests, and median tunnel.

The rest of the cabin itself is spectacular through simplicity or better said, minimalism. The same composite-like material used for the aero bits on the outside is tastefully decorating the central tunnel and the door insides.

2019 Karma SC2 Concept
- image 872883

Besides the neat cabin topography, Karma’s SC2 concept is also a technological tour the force. Or at least it aims at being one. The cockpit is packed with long-range radars, cameras, and FMCW (Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave) lidar sensors that hint at Karma’s plans of adopting autonomous tech for its future models. What’s more, the cabin is blessed with a 3D audio setup that creates well-distinguished sound zones for the driver and passenger, as well as electro-chromatic glassed surfaces that can shift their appearance from crystal clear to fully opaque, depending on the desired level of privacy.

Final Thoughts

2019 Karma SC2 Concept
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Yes, the Karma SC2 concept is a stunner. We’ve seen, however, similar prototypes from other carmakers as well, but the important aspect to be considered here is that Karma is a rather young company that’s only now finding its feet after a short yet troubled history. Given that Karma plans what it calls a “period of rapid product introduction” led by the U.S. launch of the 2020 Revero GT, it’s only natural for the company to flaunt its skill in front of potential future customers with such a spectacular concept car. The real challenge for Karma, however, is to keep its promise and come up with the new cars it trumpets. For that, it will have to ready its global platform by 2021, so we’ll have to wait and see how things pan out eventually. But overall, nice work Karma, we like what we’re seeing.

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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