After a year of delays, the USA’s ground-breaking Fisker Karma range-extended hybrid sports saloon appeared in final production form at last week’s Paris motor show.
Designer Henrik Fisker gave Autocar up-to-date information on its specification, production and distribution specifics.
The car enters full production at Finland’s contract manufacturer Valmet early in 2011, its sole global factory base. After ramp-up, some 15,000 units will be built a year, split between saloon, ‘Sunset’ convertible and a third, as yet unconfirmed bodystyle.
At first the Karma will be offered as a four-door, four-seat coupe-cum-saloon powered by a series ‘range-extended’ hybrid powertrain.
Two rear-mounted electric motors, driving the rear wheels, give it a peak power output of 398bhp, and 981lb ft of torque from zero rpm.
They feed from a 20kWh lithium ion battery, providing enough power for 50 miles of zero emissions range.
And that electrical powertrain is backed up, in turn, by a 2.0-litre Ecotec turbo petrol engine ‘generator’ delivering 256bhp at its peak, but that’s unconnected to the car’s wheels.
Fisker has yet to confirm the exact kerbweight of the Karma, but despite an aluminium spaceframe structure and various aluminium and composite body panels, it’s expected to be in excess of two tonnes.
Performance in sport mode should still be good: 0-62mph in 5.9sec and 125mph flat out. The car’s full range-extended range should be 300 miles.
“We’ll be pricing the Karma to compete with BMW’s 750i in most markets,” explained Fisker, implying a sticker of about £70,000. “Our UK dealer network will be confirmed over the coming weeks. We’ll certainly be well represented, and deliveries should start in March or April of 2011.”
Once the Karma’s up and running, Fisker’s growth plan only gets more ambitious. “We’ve already aquired a factory in the USA, and we’re investing in a slightly smaller model family of plug-in hybrids roughly the size of BMW’s 3-series. We expect to be able to produce 100,000 of those cars a year before 2015."
The American company is also expected to announce details about the expansion of its dealer network and future marketing campaign imminently.