Sick of the boxy Prius? Tired of waiting for the Chevrolet Volt to finally make it to the market? Want an eco-friendly vehicle that would make Ferrari’s designers wish they had thought up such sleek and elegant styling? Well, the Fisker Karma is for you. When industry analysts started saying that electric vehicles were the wave of the future, many people were looking for the new, sci-fi-inspired vehicles to hit the road. Well, that time is now, because the 2010 Fisker Karma looks like a rocket ship, drives like a supercar, and it just might save the planet.
The Karma, which is set to go on sale towards the end of this year, only costs $87,900. That may seem like a lot compared to your average car, but if you realize that the vehicle incorporates technology rarely seen outside of NASA and wraps it into a gorgeous package, it seems like a bargain. Here’s the numbers: 408 horsepower, a 300 mile range, and 959 lb-ft of torque. You read that right, close to 1,000 lb-ft of torque. This thing can accelerate with the best of them. It weighs 4,650 pounds, about twice the weight of the average supercar, but it can still hit 0-to-60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Top speed is 125 in the Sport mode, but it is limited to only 95 mph in standard mode in order to conserve energy. That’s right, the Karma’s idea of conservative is just shy of the the 100 mph mark.
The drivetrain of the Karma is all-electric. It does have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine on board (the same Ecotec engine found in many smaller GM vehicles), but it is used solely for charging the batteries. Also, the car features regenerative braking, which uses the friction from stopping to generate electricity, to help the batteries stay at full charge. Also generating electricity is a solar panel on the roof, and this isn’t your average roof. A tinted glass ceiling stretches from the top of the windshield all the way to the trunk and provides a great sense of space in the already roomy interior, while also powering some of the cabin’s gadgets.
Fisker is planning to roll out 15,000 Karmas each year, starting in November 2009. While the recent drop in gas prices from their highs in the past year has put a damper on hybrid and electric vehicle sales, the Karma probably won’t experience any of the effect. The superlative styling, the ample power, and the car’s eco-friendly design makes it a triple threat. While the 2010 Karma deserves plenty of attention, one can’t help but wonder what will happen with Fisker’s cars in the future. If the Karma represents the vanguard, then the next generation will surely be even more spectacular, especially once production and materials cost start to level out with a refined manufacturing process.