Is the Fisker Karma the Hybrid Car Answer?

By dancurranjr On February 10th, 2009

fisker-karmaCan the Fisker Karma be the answer to our plug in Hybrid car technology prayers?

The hype surrounding plug-in hybrid electric vehicles has become almost red hot over the past few years thanks to the increase in gasoline costs and a renewed sense of environmental awareness gripping a larger percentage of buyers. While current gasoline / electric technology has bridged the gap somewhat between the current world and one which does not rely on fossil fuels, many people feel that the true next step in the progression of hybrid design is a vehicle which can be plugged into a wall outlet in order to be recharged, and which uses gasoline exclusively as a backup fuel source.

Unfortunately, this particular hybrid dream has been quite difficult to realize. Even with the full might of General Motors behind it the Volt plug-in car became more of a compromise than most ecological hawks would have liked, and Tesla has had issues trying to deliver on their promise of a high-performance all-electric automobile. This has left many electric car enthusiasts with a sour taste in their mouths. Fortunately, Fisker Automotive has stepped up to the plate and provided a quick fix for wealthy green fanatics.

Imaginatively called the Fisker Karma, this unique, futuristic-looking sedan is designed to not only save the planet but also coddle occupants in the lap of luxury and provide them with excellent driving performance at the same time. The Karma is a stunner, a vehicle that looks ripped straight out of the showroom of tomorrow with a wide toothy front grille and graceful arches that lead back to swoopy body work. The Fisker Karma is a four door sedan that uses a technology the company calls Q Drive. Q Drive combines an electric motor with a gasoline motor, but not in the same fashion as most standard hybrids – in the Karma, the standard engine does not drive the wheels at all but merely functions as a generator to keep the electric motor running once the car’s battery has run out. According to Fisker, this shouldn’t happen for at least 50 miles, meaning that almost all city trips can be accomplished completely on battery power, or as they term it, ‘Stealth Mode’.

When set to sport mode, the Fisker Karma can combine both the gasoline engine and the electric motor in such a way that provides great acceleration – 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds – and a top speed of 125 miles per hour. The best part about it? The battery can be recharged either through optional roof-mounted solar panels, or by simply plugging the vehicle in at night. This rare innovation is especially noteworthy given that the Q-Drive system has not been installed in an economy-oriented compact car but in a fully-featured luxury sports vehicle.

Fisker Automotive may be small, but they are a company on the rise thanks to their commitment to actually produce the type of automobile that has stayed on other car automaker’s drawing boards for so many years. Hopefully their success will light the way for some of the industry’s bigger players to step up to the plug-in hybrid plate.


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