Fisker Automotive kicked-off production of its Karma plug-in hybrid sedan in Finland this week, with the company planning to sell the first cars in the United States and Europe from April. The California-based automaker assembles the Karma at Valmet Automotive's plant located in Uusikaupunki, Finland. The same factory also builds Cayman and Boxster models for Porsche.
"We're going to be ramping up very slowly, very carefully to ensure quality. This year we want to get over 7,000 deliveries," said Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher. Priced at $88,000 in the U.S. (€62,000 at current exchange rates), the Karma can run on electric power alone for about 50 miles (80 km) before the gasoline engine kicks in.
The curvy-shaped sedan features an aluminum frame and body panels with power coming a hybrid drivetrain that includes two 150kW electric motors (403HP in total) mounted at the rear, a 260HP 2.0-liter turbo gasoline engine located at the front and a 20 kW lithium-ion battery placed longitudinally below the floorpan. The system is said to work similar to the one found on the Chevy Volt with the electric motors driving the wheels and the gasoline engine turning a 175 kW generator that feeds the electric motors when the battery is out of juice.
According to Fisker, in electric-only mode the Karma reaches a top speed of 95 mph (153 km/h) and covers the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 7.9 seconds, while in hybrid Sport mode these figures improve to 5.9 seconds and 125 mph (200 km/h) respectively.
The combined driving range is estimated at 300 miles (483 km) while average consumption is rated at 100 mpg (2.4 liters/100 km). Fisker's future plans include the launch of an entry-level $39,000 (€27,500) sedan next year. The car will be built in a former GM plant in Delaware, with the help of $529 million (€373 million) loans received in 2010 from the U.S. Energy Department.
By Dan Mihalascu