Hybrid-electric sports car is claimed to run with help from the sun’s energy; due next month, but it won't reach Europe until 2018

The Karma Revero is on course to arrive in Britain in late 2018, according to the company's chief revenue officer, Jim Taylor.

Speaking exclusively to Autocar, Taylor explained that the hybrid sports car was undergoing late development testing ahead of its full reveal in the US next month. It would then take more than 12 months for the business to evolve to a point where entering European and Asian markets was viable.

The hybrid-electric model is essentially a successor to the Karma of now defunct car maker Fisker, and it builds on that car’s overall design with a largely unchanged exterior. The fitment of new solar panels on the Revero’s roof is a significantly upgraded feature, however, and one that Taylor confirmed can power the four-door model’s electrified drivetrain.

"The energy collected from the solar panels is supplied directly to the car's high-voltage battery, which in turn powers the electric motors," explained Taylor. "Our solar panels are twice as powerful as the original ones."

While no charge time has been revealed, Taylor suggested that the strong Californian sunshine would enable owners to leave their car parked outside all day and return to it with more charge. "We're still a long way off from being able to charge it up significantly in a few hours, but if you left your car parked in an airport car park for a couple of days, you'd see more energy," added Taylor.

The input of the sun's energy will be displayed on the Revero's infotainment system, so drivers can see when energy is being captured, even when on the move. 

This is a previously unseen feature on a production vehicle. Most other solar panel-equipped models, such as the Nissan Leaf (which offers it as an option), use the sun’s energy to power in-car accessories.

The Revero will use an updated version of the old Karma's drivetrain and battery system, with new parts supplied by BMW.

The original Fisker Karma was built around an aluminium spaceframe and featured a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and two electric motors. The plug-in hybrid system could offer more than 30 miles of pure-electric range.

Taylor refrained from revealing what range could be expected with the new car, but hinted that both that and straight-line performance are being improved.

"The improvements are in the electrical areas, in software reliability and battery chemistry," he said. "The mechanical parts and suspension are pretty much unchanged."

Inside, the Revero will use a new infotainment system that "represents a departure from the norm", suggesting it'll be a defining feature of the car.

As a hybrid model the Karma Revero will straddle the lines between all-electric rival the Tesla Model S, and more conventional alternatives, such as the Porsche Panamera. Porsche's future Mission E production model could also be an eventual rival.

Karma will fully reveal its new Revero next month on the 8 September and will start taking orders later this year. Cars will be built at the firm’s California factory, with production limited to around 1000 units in the first year.

The newly formed Karma Automotive has been built upon the remains of Fisker Automotive, which closed for business in 2013 because of a lack of funding. With new Chinese owners Wanxiang Group providing a stronger financial backing to the renamed Karma, insiders are anticipating a more productive future for the American company.

Our Verdict

Fisker Karma

The Fisker Karma has stunning looks, backed up by impressive acceleration and has single-handedly made electric cars cool

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Comments
11

12 August 2016
Why not start with where most of the sales would be?,with a Car for the People,a Family Car,surely you would sell more to help cover the development costs?,your never going to get 30,000 buyers for a sportscar,if they could turn a Car for say £22,000 or around that,surely you'd get more sales if it doesn't need a charging infrastructure?

Peter Cavellini.

26 August 2016
Can't take something seriously when it's an unsuccessful car just relaunched and looks the same. Sorry but no.

26 August 2016
Who would be stupid enough to buy this turd again? The car is powered by smoke and mirrors and Taylor's imagination. What a sham these people should be embarassed

26 August 2016
Nice looking car but the Tesla model S technologically is like comparing a canoe to a power boat.
It stands 2 chances: Slim and none

26 August 2016
It's visually unchanged from the 5-year-old original design, which is unfortunate when there are much more elegant and modern looking cars out there.
I hope the really cheap and crude interior of the original gets an overhaul -- it's inexcusable for a car even at half its price.

26 August 2016
ahaus wrote:

It's visually unchanged from the 5-year-old original design, which is unfortunate when there are much more elegant and modern looking cars out there.
I hope the really cheap and crude interior of the original gets an overhaul -- it's inexcusable for a car even at half its price.

Well we tried. All those long Finnish nights..

26 August 2016
Jesus, you guys are a bit harsh, I m hardly a big fan of this or the original, but give it a chance, no figures have been released, nor much detail about anything other than the solar panels and some of you are saying its all "smoke and mirrors" - most of you just arent being fair.

27 August 2016
"We're still a long way off from being able to charge it up significantly in a few hours, but if you left your car parked in an airport car park for a couple of days, you'd see more energy," added Taylor.

I'm sorry but is this supposed to impress me? If thats the best they can do than clearly solar cells have not a reached a point yet where they are feasible to be used in automobiles. If the solar cells are intended to be a selling point of this car, you would have to be a moron to buy one. And typically the type of people who can afford cars like this aren't.

27 August 2016
i see from the rear 3/4 shot that the build-quality is still as shonky as the Karma. Unbelievable panelgaps on that car. Until the basic elements of a 'premium' car are sorted, I don't think this car can be taken seriously.

TBC

28 August 2016
From the description, is it my imagination, or is the fitment of solar panels on the roof, simply a silly, and I would imagine, expensive gimmick. When systems like KERS exist, why waste money on this stupidity?

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