Fisker Karma – keeping hope alive

Categories Fisker, Torque Affair

It’s a shame that Fisker went bankrupt.  The car is so beautiful with perfect proportions.  It looks basically like a concept car that turned into reality.  Maybe part of my fascination with the car is that few people actually have seen or know what they are.  I think the last time I saw one was several years ago.

Fisker open hood

Henrik Fisker co-founded the company and right away encountered an incredible number of problems, most of which seemed to be just pure bad luck.  There were numerous operational problems, a bad battery supplier and host of other problems.  As if things weren’t terrible enough, Hurricane Sandy wiped out a shipment of hundreds of Fisker Karmas and insurance didn’t even cover the loss!  Needless to say, the company was forced into bankruptcy.

The Wanxiang Group ended up buying Fisker, so there will be more Fiskers produced in 2015.  Lu Guanqiu, its founder and a billionaire mentions here that he will spend as much of his fortune as needed to make this succeed.  That’s quite a bold statement so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Alain is really looking forward to the company being revived and understandably so.  He is a huge fan of his Fisker Karma and the company coming back would mean that he would get much needed software updates for his car.

Alain's Fisker

How the car works

There are two 201 hp electric motors going to the rear wheels that are powered by batteries.  This is a series hybrid so that the batteries can be charged by a generator hooked up to a gas engine that you will find in a Chevy Cruze.  The end result is that they complement each other and the gas engine can charge the batteries if they run out of juice which means you won’t really be stranded.

Up to 1000 lb-ft of torque can be generated by the electric motors driving the wheels!  It’s a pretty large car so it needs all that torque to get it moving.

Fisker Features

There are lots of little things about the Fisker Karma that I found fascinating.

Fisker interior

I love the fact that you can see the batteries running through the center.  However, the downside is that it cuts down on interior space.  The quality and design of the interior was excellent.

Fisker driving modes

This car has 2 modes – sport mode and stealth mode.  I love that there is a “stealth” mode because during this mode a finely tuned noise (carefully developed by Fisker engineers) comes out of the speakers of the car making it sound like a spaceship (very fitting for “stealth” mode).  Apparently, European regulations required that a vehicle must create some kind of noise to alert pedestrians.

In “stealth mode”, the car only uses the battery to power the electric motor to turn the rear wheels.  In “sport mode”, the internal combustion engine kicks on to add to the power driving the electric motors.  If I owned this car that’s the mode that I’d drive in…must have my 1000 lb-ft of torque at all times.

 Fisker 22 inch wheel

The wheels are 22 inches in diameter.  On any other car it would look ridiculous.  But on the Fisker Karma?  Absolutely perfect.

And the other thing is that with wheels this large and just the right amount of the wheel-fender gap, the ride quality is still amazing.  I don’t know what they did with the suspension but it’s designed flawlessly.  It’s a comfortable yet sporty ride.

Fisker fake exhaust

People have thought that two diamond shaped structures in the rear bumper are exhaust pipes.  But it’s all part of the design – “fake” exhaust pipes.  For hardcore auto enthusiasts like me, the shape and position of exhaust pipes are a key factor in the overall design of normal gas-powered cars.  I guess we’ll have to find something else to fixate on with electric/hybrid cars.

Fisker solar roof

Now, the solar panel on the roof is a cool feature.  It charges the battery and also powers a fan that runs when the car is shut off and parked.  Something like this very useful in a place like Austin, Texas where it gets really hot in the summer.  Instead of heating up the interior of the car, might as well use the sun for something useful.

It’s unfortunate that Fisker had to go bankrupt.  This was a tremendously risky bet.  Although Tesla came out ahead, Elon Musk has mentioned in repeated interviews that he was one step away from having to close up shop.  In Fisker’s case, unfortunately there was no other option.

I guess we’ll see what the future of Fisker holds with its upcoming revival.  I’m really hoping that Wanxiang is able to keep Fisker moving forward with future models.  I always want to see more cars out there that look as good as the Fisker Karma.

Fisker rear angle

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