First Fisker Karma Delivery Expected Later This Month

By · July 13, 2011

Fisker Karma

Fisker is reportedly set to deliver its very first production Karma to film star Leonardo DiCaprio by the end of July. According to Autocar, the startup automaker is churning out five vehicles per week at the Valmet Automotive plant in Finland, with production expected to jump to 300 vehicles per week beginning in November.

The Karma plug-in hybrid sports sedan was originally announced for a late-2009 release, but a string of setbacks have delayed delivery of the first car by about 18 months, leading some to question whether Fisker's bold concept would ever become a reality. Thankfully, those fears look like they can finally be put to rest.

Fisker says it has obtained 3,000 pre-orders for the vehicle, and counts well-known figures like DiCaprio, Colin Powell, and Al Gore among its expectant customers. The company says it expects the car to remain sold out until at least early 2012.

The Karma has dual electric motors offering 400 horsepower and an electric range of up to 50 miles thanks to its 22 kilowatt-hour battery pack, which is joined by a 2.2-liter engine powering a generator to recharge the pack. Starting at nearly $97,000, the sedan is just the first step in Fisker's plan to revolutionize the vehicle market. The carmaker plans to one day sell 100,000 units of its $50,000 Project Nina sedan per year, though that vehicle isn't expected to debut until 2013.

In the meantime, Autocar says that Fisker is readying two additional body styles for the Karma. Convertible and shooting-brake models are expected to debut soon, with the shooting-brake version reportedly headed for a September unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Last month, Fisker announced a home charging partnership with California's EV Connect, which will oversee installation of charging stations designed in-house by Fisker. The carmaker will offer the charger as part of an all-inclusive $2300 package, with EV Connect providing home evaluations, installations, and customer support.

Comments

· Henrik2 (not verified) · 3 years ago

Produced at only 1200 units per month one could argue that this car is irrelevant. However, both the Karma and Tesla’s Model S are able to be sold to the establishment and therefore these cars could play an important role in promoting plug-in cars among the limited group of people that actually shape our societies. I hope these luxury cars will be well perceived and popular among our leaders. If they don’t embrace environmentally friendly cars it will be much more difficult to move electric cars from niche to mainstream.

· Chris T. (not verified) · 3 years ago

It is, I think, more important that the Roadster and Karma be seen as "cool" right now. The Model S and Fisker Nina need also to be seen as "cool" (a la BMW or, in the US at least, Mercedes—note that Mercedes is not a "fancy" brand in much of Asia), to help plug-in electrics not to become the Dorks of the Road.

· Henrik2 (not verified) · 3 years ago

I think the coolness hurdle has been overcome at birth with Tesla and Fisker. With regard to coolness I regard Tesla’s Model S on par with BMW and Mercedes and Fisker’s Karma to be on par with Ferrari and the best of Porche’s lineup. In my opinion the Nissan Leaf is not cool but it aren’t a geekmobile either as you may blame the Prius to be. The Ford Focus EV has done a good job on the design but it misses a sizable trunk and also the ability to charge at 50k watt when compared to the Leaf. Unless it is priced considerably below the Leaf I doubt it will not be competitive. The iMiEV is a disgrace from a design point of view and I predict it will fail to sell in the US. The iMiEV with a 50k watt charger is priced at around 33k USD. For comparison the 2012 Leaf will come with a 50k watt charging port as standard in the extended version and it will cost about 35k USD.

To get EVs from niche to mainstream you need a period of possibly 10 years with large subsidies for EVs so that they can make it into volume production and thereby reduce production cost for batteries and electric drivetrains. Secondly, you need to build a nationwide network of 50k watt fast chargers so that people don’t have to worry about the limited range of EVs. Surely if the political establishment is driving EVs themselves they will be much more inclined to pursue these to agendas and cars from Tesla and Fisker are going to help with that.

· · 3 years ago

@Henrik2 "Produced at only 1200 units per month one could argue that this car is irrelevant."

Currently Volt is being produced at 600 a month. Leaf at about 1700 a month (i.e. delivered to US).

If they can really make 1200 a month they will have a substantial impact.

· Henrik2 (not verified) · 3 years ago

EVNow
1,200 per month are nothing compared to the 6,000,000 cars that are made every month on this planet. 1,200 don’t matter for reducing pollution, for reducing oil dependency or for reducing the cost of batteries and electric drivetrains. Nissan’s CEO said elsewhere that they need to produce one million EVs per year in order to reach cost parity with conventional ICE cars. The Leaf will hit 250,000 cars per year in 2014 so that is a significant one quarter of the way towards producing one million EVs per year combined for the Nissan Renault alliance.

· · 3 years ago

Henrik: I definitely agree with your thoughts on volume. If you look at the raw figure of 1,200 units per month (if they can actually build and deliver that many) it's really irrelevant. If this was a small micro compact EV that was selling at this pace for 25K then nobody would notice.
However look at the exposure and press that the Roadster has garnered. They have only sold a couple thousand of them in three years and everybody knows what it is and most everybody(that I know at least) would want one.
It's proof of concept and something that the Karma can help to further drive home. Plug-in cars can be fast, fun, luxurious, sexy and can go just as far as an ICE vehicle if equipped with a range extender.

Again, you are correct that by making expensive, high end plug-ins that are desirable to the wealthy, you are inevitably going to get them into the garages of well connected people and powerful politicians. Many of these people can influence decisions that can basically decide the fate of EV's, and chances are you won't see them driving an iMiev, a Th!nk of even a LEAF for that matter. Like the rest of us, they are more likely to be a supporter of plug-ins if they have one. I know I wasn't fighting for the proliferation of electric cars until I had one and realized how great it was.

I wish I was a billionaire. I'd take out a two year lease for a Karma or a 300 mile Model S for every US senator and have it delivered to their driveway. 24 months of driving one of these cars and you would see the votes for investing in EV infrastructure start to pile up pretty quickly.

· · 3 years ago

@Tom,
While I agree with your sentiment to give all those cars out but it looks to me like for that amount of money (assuming 548 congressment and senators and $60K/Model S), you could make 2 years of payments on putting in a DC Fast charger about ever 50 miles across the US.
548*60K = ~$32M. If you assume the US is 1000 miles X 3000 miles, you'll need ~833 chargers to put one every 50 miles. If you assume a DC Fast Charger costs $40K to install, that's about $33M, or about the cost of setting up 5 to 10 gas stations.
At ~$3K, it would only cost $1.7M to put a Level 2 charger ever 50 miles.

· · 3 years ago

Ex- I'm sure you understand where I was going with the above statement. One thing I and everyone else that has had the opportunity to drive and EV for a while seems to agree on is how addicting it is, and once you have driven one for a while you don't want to go back.
I think there would be no better way to get our policy makers behind EV's than to let them drive them for a while. Sure diverting the money to install the level 3 charge network would do wonders, but having our policy makers overwhelmingly behind EV deployment would be even better because bi-partisan EV support would assure the infrastructure would be in place as well as continuing the rebates and tax credits, something we need until the prices come down a little. Even with a robust charging infrastructure, if the cars are 30% more than a comparable gas car they still have a tough uphill battle.

· · 3 years ago

@Henrik2 "1,200 per month are nothing compared to the 6,000,000 cars that are made every month on this planet. 1,200 don’t matter for reducing pollution, for reducing oil dependency or for reducing the cost of batteries and electric drivetrains. "

Yes - but 1,200 vehicles make a large PR impact. Currently that is exactly what Leaf & Volt are doing as well. Without the mindshare, you won't get market share. So, every vehicle helps.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

If he had them manufactured in US, the pace wud have lot faster ..alas he chose Europe to build it ...:( the cost of building it in US wud have been much lower ... Hope Fisker takes a look at this ..

· Pat (not verified) · 3 years ago

It is a shame that the policy makers are so dumb that they dont see the big +ves in EREV... bunch of morons and addicted to the $$ from oil donors.. sad

· Anonymous2 (not verified) · 3 years ago

To Anonymous:

Fisker started in Finland due to it was the only place where they could start production of high quality cars soon enough for their plans. There was some capacity freed from Porsche manufacturing from a modern automotive factory... And now they're investing in production in the US - they've been hiring people already some time:
http://media.fiskerautomotive.com/press/press_releases/#fa_starts_first_...

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