Fisker is running into problems with delivering its luxury hybrid Karma sedans to customers. Shipping and regulatory issues are keeping the eco-friendly cars from reaching their destinations.
Fisker must have bad karma
Finnish auto firm Fisker is running into hurdles while trying to bring its flagship creation, the Karma sedan, to market. According to USA Today, some 1,500 of the cars are currently stuck in transit, held up by regulatory issues or bad weather.
Other problems face the fledgling firm. According to Reuters, Fisker is currently awaiting mileage and emissions certifications from the Environmental Protection Agency. A complaint has already been filed against the company with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, after a driver reported his Karma completely shut off while driving.
Fisker has already had one recall, fixing a defect in 239 of its cars. The company is also a political target because Fisker has received $539 million in loans from the American government.
A classy hybrid
The Karma laudably balances luxury, performance and environmental consciousness. The car is a plug-in hybrid similar to the Chevrolet Volt. It uses a battery pack with a gas engine as generator when the battery runs out. The driver can select Stealth for all-electric mode or Sport, which engages the gas engine via paddle shifters on the steering column. The engine is a 2.0-liter turbo-charged four-cylinder from General Motors, according to the New York Times, producing about 260 horsepower. The two electric motors, according to the Wall Street Journal, bring output to 400 horsepower, getting it from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.7 seconds.
It is also made from mostly recycled parts and previous tests yielded potential mileage of up to 112 miles per gallon. In Stealth mode, it can cruise for 50 miles on a charge and the engine, according to the New York Times, extends its range to 250 miles.
On the pricey side
No other luxury hybrid sedan has as much recycled material, but other hybrid executive sedans are a bit cheaper. The base Karma starts at $103,000 and goes up to $116,000 for the highest trim level, enough to buy six brand new Hondas.
The BMW ActiveHybrid 750i costs a bit less, at $97,000, and it’s much faster, getting from 0 to 60 in 4.7 seconds. It gets26 mpg on the highway — not great for a hybrid. The Mercedes S400 HybridTec sedan is slower than the Karma, reaching 0 to 60 in 7.2 seconds, gets similar mileage to the BMW and starts at $91,850. The Lexus LS 600h L is faster than the Karma, reaching 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds. However, its combined mileage is 20 mpg, and it starts at $112,750. The all-electric Tesla S will do 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds with the 85 kwh motor, goes 300 miles on a charge and starts at $97,900. There is also the Porsche Panamera S Hybrid, which starts at $95,000, nips from 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds and gets highway mileage of 30 mpg.
Wall Street Journal: http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/2012/01/20/fisker-karma-will-luxury-buyers-go-for-eco-chic-slideshow/