Category: Electric Vehicle Extended Range

Are Electric Cars the Future of the Premium Segment: Porsche Thinks So

March 29, 2015 lacarguy Electric Vehicle Extended Range, Electric Vehicles, Green Articles, Green Auto Technology, Hybrid Vehicles, Porsche Tags: , , , ,

When most people think about electric vehicles one of those dinky little Prius models comes to mind, or even an under powered all-electric commuter. It’s vehicles like these that make it hard to imagine Porsche utilizing electric technology to enhance their own vehicles, but that’s just what the automaker intends to do.

cayenne hybrid

Porsche believes that all-electric, and hybrid electric vehicles are the future of the premium segment. There are a few major benefits to using the technology, and one of them is something you might not have considered, added power!

Enhanced Torque and Power

In vehicles like the Cayenne hybrid, or the Tesla Roadster you can really feel all the power and torque available. That’s because electric motors provide a nearly instantaneous power source and ridiculous levels of torque. Even just adding in a small electric motor alongside a standard gasoline engine will add in a noticeable amount of torque to the equation. This makes cars feel more responsive and improves acceleration capabilities dramatically.

Reducing Turbo Lag

Today most automakers are switching over to smaller turbo-charged engines, Porsche included. With turbo’s being used more frequently it makes sense to try and come up with a good reliable fix for turbo lag. There are many advanced turbo systems that remedy lag pretty well, but one of the best solutions is to include an electric motor as well. The electric motor can provide that initial power burst while the turbo-charged engine gets up to speed, masking nearly all of the lag.

More Fuel Efficient Sports Cars

Consumers looking for top-level sports cars normally don’t care about fuel efficiency figures, but the EPA and other sources do. Porsche has to follow fuel efficiency and emissions regulations just like every other automaker in the industry, and electric technology can help them meet the requirements. As regulators become more strict about fuel efficient requirements Porsche will likely lean on electric power more and more to keep their dynamic cars from becoming sluggish when meeting efficiency demands.

All of these very real benefits pretty much guarantee that the Porsche lineup is going to become thick with electric models. Someday every vehicle may integrate some type of electric engine into the mix, but for now you’ll just see more electric and hybrid variations popping up.

Audi Debuts A3, S3, and A3 e-tron PHEV in Los Angeles for North American Market

November 22, 2013 lacarguy Audi, Diesel Vehicles, Electric Vehicle Extended Range, Green Auto Technology, Pacific Audi, Plugin Hybrid Vehicles Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

S3, Cabriolet, TFSI, TDI, LA, Auto Show

This year’s Los Angeles Auto Show served as the unveiling of the all-new Audi A3 for the North American market. Filling the spot of the A3 Sportback, the new A3 will shun the hatchback configuration for most models and will instead adopt more traditional sedan and convertible bodystyle.

If you’re a die-hard fan of the A3 Sportback, don’t lose hope yet, as Audi will continue to offer the hatchback body in the e-tron Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle model. As the name suggests, this model will be able to run on electricity alone for some miles before its gas engine kicks in.

LA, Auto Show, hatchback, plug-in, hybrid

For those of us interested in saving fuel at the pump, but not quite ready to make the transition to a plug-in hybrid car, the new A3 will be offered with Audi’s 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder engines, producing 170 and 220-horsepower respectively. Audi will also offer a 150-horsepower 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine that will offer extended range and fuel efficiency over its gas-powered brethren.

If you’re a speed demon, you can also make your way up to the 290-horsepower S3 model. Expect a future RS3 model offering in excess of 300-horsepower.

But the A3 isn’t so much about horsepower, as it is about bringing Audi’s pursuit of luxury and technology to the masses. With a base price of $29,900, the all-new A3 gives customers the opportunity to own the first vehicle in its class with 4G LTE connectivity. This technology allows the all-new A3 to incorporate features such as Google Earth and Google Street View in its MMI infotainment system.

S3, sedan, convertible, cabriolet, TDI, TFSI, LA, Auto Show

Operating in conjunction with a 7-inch screen that rises from the dash, MMI’s latest trick is the incorporation of a touchpad onto its rotary wheel. Teamed with the A3’s available 705-watt Bang & Olufsen Sound System, the compact Audi is turned into a miniature A8.

With available safety features such as active lane assist and adaptive cruise control, the Audi A3 incorporates a host of technologies to keep its passengers safe. Whether your new to the Audi brand, want to cut your emissions by investing in the A3 Sportback e-tron PHEV, or feel the need for speed that is the sporty S3, Audi’s latest compact model will leave you more than impressed with its available luxury and technology features.

Fisker To Reveil The Nina At The New York Auto Show

March 30, 2012 lacarguy Electric Vehicle Extended Range, Fisker Tags: , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

The second model in the Fisker lineup is set to debut at the New York International Auto Show next week. The Nina will bring the style of the Karma in a smaller package, and a smaller, more affordable price.

In recognition of this big debut, and knowing how anticipated it is, Fisker will be live streaming the event, and you are invited to watch! You do need to sign up to get access to the event, just click this link to take you to the form.

“We are incredibly excited to see the next model in the Fisker lineup,” said LAcarGUY CEO Mike Sullivan, “As a leader in design, technology and ecological stewardship, what Fisker is doing as a company, and with the Nina, shows why we are proud to have it as part of the LAcarGUY family of dealers.”

If you can’t wait to see what the Nina might look like, the team at Autoblog have some spy shots as the car was being brought into the show, you can have a look at those here.

Toyota Confirms Prius Plug-In's Eligibility for an Additional State of California Consumer Incentive and Its EPA Mileage Rating

February 27, 2012 lacarguy Electric Vehicle Extended Range, Toyota Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

As the 2012 Prius Plug-in models begin to arrive at Toyota Santa Monica and Toyota Hollywood, Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. announces that it has been approved for the State of California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP).

Designed to promote the use of Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) and related clean vehicle technologies, the CVRP is a consumer incentive made available in addition to the $2,500 Federal Tax credit¹ offered for qualified vehicles (more information available at: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/article/0,,id=219867,00.html). The 2012 Prius Plug-in also offers consumers eligibility for the State of California’s HOV lane sticker (information found here).

The CVRP program offers rebates to individuals, business owners, non-profit groups, and government entities that purchase or lease new eligible zero-emission or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Under this program, the Prius Plug-in is eligible for a $1,500 rebate that will be provided to consumers on a first come first-served basis. These grants are available when a vehicle is either purchased or leased for 36 months or longer. The CVRP is funded by the California Air Resources Board (ARB). Additional information about the CVRP incentive and application resources can be found on the EnergyCenter.org website.

The first-ever Prius Plug-in Hybrid, combines the benefits of the third-generation Prius Liftback’s Hybrid Synergy Drive with a dedicated electric driving (EV) capability, in a package that is priced more competitively than most currently available plug-in hybrids or pure Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV). The Prius Plug-injoins the Prius Family, which includes the third-generation Prius Liftback, the versatile new Prius v and the all-new subcompact Prius c, which will be available in March of 2012. The Prius Plug-in features a new Lithium-ion battery, which boosts its overall fuel economy and offers convenient charging times of only 2.5-3 hours using a standard 120V outlet or 1.5 hours using 240V.

While in EV Mode, the Prius Plug-in is rated by the EPA to drive up to 11 miles. It’s also capable of traveling up to 62 mph using electric power alone. During EV Mode driving, the Prius Plug-in is rated at 95MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent). In hybrid mode, it has an EPA combined mileage rating of 50 mpg. This means that when the EV Mode is depleted, Prius Plug-in still obtains the same estimated high fuel economy rating as Prius Liftback. With its Lithium-ion power and extended electric vehicle mode, the Prius Plug-in is EPA-rated for a total driving range of 540 miles.

It will be available in two models, the Prius Plug-in and the Prius Plug-in Advanced. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid model comes equipped with an abundance of standard features including LED Daytime Running Lights, Smart Key on three doors, Display Audio with Navigation and Entune™ with integrated backup camera, Touch Tracer Display, heated front seats, Remote Climate (A/C only), EV/ECO/POWER modes, unique15-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, enhanced Multi-information Display and much more.

The Prius Plug-in Advanced model adds additional standard features including Premium HDD Navigation with Entune™ and JBL® GreenEdge™, Plug-in Hybrid Applications through a user’s smartphone (Charge Management, Remote Climate, Vehicle Finder, Charging Station Map², and ECO Dashboard²), Head-up Display, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Pre-Collision System, LED headlamps with auto on/off feature and integrated fog lamps, SofTex-trimmed seating, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, Safety Connect and more.

The base MSRP for the Prius Plug-in Hybrid is $32,000. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid Advanced has an MSRP of $39,525. Both Prius Plug-in models are eligible for up to $4,000 worth of government-supported consumer incentives ($2,500 federal tax credit¹ and $1500 worth of the State of California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program), in addition to offering eligibility for California’s High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane sticker.

Fisker Karma Named 2011 Top Gear Magazine Luxury Car of the Year

December 5, 2011 lacarguy Electric Vehicle Extended Range, Fisker Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Henrik Fisker and the Fisker Automotive Team are definitely taking home quite the list of awards this year–and their pile might just be complete with the latest accolade. The UK’s immensely popular Top Gear TV show host James May has just named the Fisker Karma his “Car of the Year” and Top Gear Magazine named the extended range vehicle “Luxury Car of the Year”–an award that has previously been graced upon high-end vehicles as the Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupe, the Jaguar XJ and the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe.

One of the biggest fans of the Fisker Karma is one of the brightest stars in Hollywood himself, Leonardo DiCaprio. So fitting is the Karma with DiCaprio’s lifestyle and beliefs, it would be tempting to say that he was the inspiration for the Karma. It would also be the truth. Henrik Fisher says that seeing Leo get out of a Prius at the Oscars in 2007 gave him the idea for starting Fisker Automotive. “He [DiCaprio] could have bought any car in the world,” he says. “And I remember seeing that on television and thinking to myself, you know, when you’ve got a guy who could buy any Ferrari or Rolls-Royce and he’s buying a Prius, you know something is changing dramatically.”

Since Leo ordered his Karma, there have been a number of updates and tests made on the vehicle. Top of this list the exhaust system. One of only two blemishes on the concept Karma’s record was the fact that the generator would butt in at the most inappropriate moments, like a loudmouth drunk at a cocktail party. One moment, you’re sitting in the cabin mesmerized but the quiet hum and the Karma’s sophistication, then, mid-bend, the shocking sound of flatulent elephants fill the cabin, shocking you out from the spell. But that’s all fixed now, thanks to a new resonator in the exhaust, known in-house by the very technical term, The Pizza Box, and some remapped software that controls when the 20W battery pack is charged. All that is audible now are a few soft clicks and whirrs as the drivetrain goes about its business, just as it should be.

The other key change is to the steering weight, which was perfect once the car got going but rather too heavy at parking speed. Some reprogramming of the steering pump has completely solved this, so now the Karma is as easy to park as it is to fling through a corner. Both these updates have been made to Leo’s silver car. DiCaprio is an environmentalist and a strong supporter of animal rights. One of his latest Tweets restated his support for the end of the ivory trade. This explains his choice of the Eco-Chic interior in his Fisker. It’s the top-of-the-line that features no leather, just textiles and reclaimed wood. All the while, managing to look, feel, and smell premium without any cow peel in it at all.

In response to the awards, Henrik Fisker said, “It is fantastic news that the Karma has won two awards from Top Gear. We realize that we are at the beginning of our journey and awards like this remind us we are on the right road–building enticing green cars that people actually want to own.” Fisker added that he was especially excited that this was a European award for an American-made car, “it’s a triumph that American engineers have designed and engineered this ground breaking car at our global headquarters in Anaheim, CA and that there is now a new American car option that is bold, beautiful, smart and environmentally responsible.”

Fisker Karma Achieves Outstanding Results in Fuel Efficiency & Emission Outputs

November 28, 2011 lacarguy Electric Vehicle Extended Range, Electric Vehicles, Fisker Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

According to independent testing by the Technischer Ueberwachungs Verein (TUV), Europe’s recognized automotive certification agency, the Fisker Karma Vehicle with extended range achieves 112 mpg (2.1 L/100km) combined fuel economy and emits just 51 g/km CO2. TUV tests also validated the Karma’s all-electric range at 51.6 miles (83 km.)

In separate testing, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rated the Karma a 10 out of 10 for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions, while the California Air Resource Board (CARB) recently offered its certification, making the Karma emissions compliant in all 50 states.

With 400 horsepower, the Karma is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.1 seconds and is the most efficient, lowest emission automobile available despite its size, performance, and design. All this is achievable due to the Karma’s cutting-edge EVer™ (Electric Vehicle extended range) powertrain technology, which combines the zero-emissions and efficiency of electric drive with the range and freedom of petrol-powered cars.

Unlike pure electric vehicles, the Karma can travel long distances without range anxiety or long recharge times. And as a series plug-in hybrid, the Karma gives drivers the ability to run emission free on-demand. While the Karma can run on all-electric power in Stealth mode for 51.6 miles, it has a total range of up to 300 miles (483 km) before a stop for gas or recharge is required. When driven in charge-sustaining Sport mode, the Karma achieves 26 mpg (9.2 L/100 km) combined fuel economy in TUV tests, the best of any full size, US-market luxury car.

“We are naturally very pleased with the TUV results, which show we have delivered better than our anticipated fuel efficiency figures,” said CEO and co-founder Henrik Fisker. “We believe the Karma is a car well-suited to the lifestyles of many people, and these results only reinforce that position.”

TUV Results

  Urban Extra urban Combined
CO2 58 g/km 47 g/km 51 g/km
Fuel Consumption 98 mpg(2.4 L/100 km) 118 mpg(2.0 L/100 km) 112 mpg(2.1 L/100 km)
Electric Range     51.6 mi(83 km)

Fisker Karma Named Automobile Magazine's 2012 'Design of the Year'

November 10, 2011 lacarguy Electric Vehicle Extended Range, Fisker, Green Auto Technology, High MPG Vehicles Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

By Zack McDonald from HybridCars.com

The Fisker Karma has faced some tough press lately, including a brief, misinformed outrage surrounding the fact that the car will be manufactured in Finland despite the Fisker’s receipt of a $529 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. As those who have followed the company over the years know, Fisker intended to build the Karma in Finland long before it received any federal loan guarantees, and still plans to manufacture its next vehicle at a factory in Delaware.

Recently though, the headlines have begun to tilt in the Karma’s favor. On Wednesday, it was announced that Automobile magazine had named the car “Design of the Year” for 2012, calling it “a beautiful and highly dramatic automobile, unlike anything else on the road today and yet very much like dozens of the most beloved sports cars of the past.”

The accolade underscores an important point about the Karma that tends to get lost in a flood of often politically-tinged reactions: the Karma is a $96,000 luxury sports sedan and as such, it deserves to be evaluated on different terms from the Chevy Volt or Toyota Prius Plug-in. Emissions-conscious purchasers of luxury performance vehicles haven’t traditionally had many offerings to choose from. The Karma gives this relatively untested market a new option, and according to Automobile magazine-and nearly everyone else who’s driven and reviewed the vehicle-it’s a pretty impressive one at that.

Over in Europe, the Karma got some more good news last week from independent fuel efficiency tests carried out by the German regulatory body Technischer Überwachungs Verein (TÜV). The results of those tests prove that the Fisker Karma is one of the most capable—at least among plug-in hybrid vehicles—electric-only-mode performers in the world. The TÜV’s thorough “real-world urban” tests show that the plug-in returned an impressive 51.6-mile range in electric-only mode. This figure beats the Karma’s official EPA rating by a substantial 19.6 miles.

Of the results, Henrik Fisker, chief executive officer of Fisker Automotive, stated, “We are delighted that the TÜV has confirmed that most owners will achieve a 50-mile range running purely on electric during their daily commute.”

The 2012 Fisker Karma is currently on sale in the US, though production volume is extremely limited and all Karmas to be sold in 2011 have already been spoken for. Come next year, Fisker aims to ramp up production and sell approximately 15,000 Karmas in the US and Europe.

Fisker Surf Unveiled At The Frankfurt Autoshow

September 21, 2011 lacarguy Electric Vehicle Extended Range, Fisker, Green Articles, Plugin Hybrid Vehicles Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

A stunning new version of the Fisker Karma was turning heads at Fisker Automotive’s booth at the Frankfurt Autoshow. The brand new Fisker Surf delivers on Fisker’s promise of Pure Driving Passion and Uncompromised Responsible Luxury.

The new Fisker Surf is the world’s first electric luxury/sports automobile for an active and eco-friendly lifestyle. The Fisker Surf builds on the success of the ground-breaking Karma Electric Vehicle with extended range (EVer™). Along with its own independent, spirited attitude, it brings additional, flexible load-carrying capacity. The Fisker Surf combines performance, luxury, style, utility, and economy with an enduring concern for the sustainable use of resources and respect for the environment. The Surf is Fisker’s version of a crossover between the sports car and the station wagon. The addition of the Surf exemplifies how Fisker is expanding its Karma platform rapidly with models that create a new market niche.

“The Surf is a first-of-its-kind eco-friendly lifestyle vehicle that offers space, performance, and luxury design for people who live an active, environmentally conscious lifestyle and like to drive beautiful cars,” Henrik Fisker, CEO/Executive Design Director, Fisker Automotive.

Fisker Automotive also announced its partnership with BMW who will now cover the supply of engines and other components for future Fisker models. BMW will supply a four-cylinder turbocharged engine for the next generation of Fisker cars, code named ‘Project Nina,’ which are scheduled to go into production at the re-commissioned GM plant in Wilmington, Delaware. Production will begin by the end of 2012 and cars will hit showrooms globally in 2013. The first Project Nina production will be a mid-sized premium sedan that will utilize Fisker’s EVer™ technology to deliver on Fisker’s corporate vision of Uncompromised Responsible Luxury.

According to Henrik Fisker, “The BMW engine was an obvious choice for us, as BMW is known for producing the best and most fuel efficient gasoline engines in the world. We are very pleased to have signed the agreement with BMW.”

In addition to growing its fleet of vehicle models, Fisker Automotive is proud to announce its RESERVE customizable options program developed in collaboration with Claus Ettensberger Corporation (CEC). This exclusive Fisker authorized accessory program will be available through Fisker retailers. The first car equipped with accessories from the program features a variety of aerodynamic components and two wheel options (forged and monoblack) for the Karma. There are a number of other new and exciting products in development.

You’ll just have to continue to follow us on Twitter and be part of our Facebook community to find out what’s released next.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4OgCKG5I_A&w=560&h=315]

Fisker Karma Debuts at Monaco Grand Prix

June 2, 2011 lacarguy Electric Vehicle Extended Range, Electric Vehicles, Fisker, Green Articles, Plugin Hybrid Vehicles Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

It is quite fitting that HSH Prince Albert of Monaco was the one to put the Fisker Karma through its paces at the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix. His Serene Highness is known for his commitment to the environment and has always expressed a strong interest in encouraging innovative solutions for environmental protection and sustainable development around the world.

According to Henrik Fisker, it was actually the Sovereign Prince that was the inspiration behind the development of the Karma. Fisker commented: “The Fisker Karma project has a distinct Monaco link. Prince Albert was one of the people who inspired me to create the Fisker Karma. When I met him at the Top Marques Show in Monaco in 2006 he commented that he would love to see a fuel-efficient luxury car, and from that small seed grew the concept of what became Fisker Automotive and our focus on premium EVer cars that deliver pure driving passion.” We want to thank both the principality of Monaco and Prince Albert for not only being the inspiration, but also a great support for our groundbreaking automotive green initiative,” continued Fisker.

Visitors to the world’s most prestigious motorsport event were among the first to see the first Fisker Karma off the production line as it made its European driving debut on the famous street circuit. On Saturday 28 May 2011, before official race qualifying began, the first European production version of the Fisker Karma, the world’s first true Electric Vehicle with extended range, took to the streets of Monaco, completing a couple of laps.

The Fisker Karma is the first American-designed and engineered luxury vehicle specifically developed to appeal to world markets, inspired by Henrik’s paradigm of Responsible Luxury. It is the only luxury sedan in the world that meets future fuel consumption and emission requirements, making it suitable for any international city. It is the only true Electric Vehicle with extended range where its rear wheels are powered using two rear-mounted 201.5 horsepower (150 kW) electric traction motors that draw energy from the lithium-ion battery pack for up to 50 miles (80 km.) The gasoline engine drives a 175 kW electric generator to power the motors and there is no mechanical link between this engine and the drive motors.

The Fisker Karma is unique in that it can operate in two separate modes: Stealth and Sport. Stealth Mode maximizes efficiency, giving it the greatest range on battery power before having to activate the gasoline engine-driven generator to sustain the battery charge. In this mode, the Karma is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds and tops out at 95 mph. In Sport Mode, the gasoline engine drives the generator to provide enough electricity for 403 total system horsepower, which accelerates the Karma from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds, topping out at 125 mph.

The Fisker Karma was designed to be a true driver’s car. Its proprietary aluminum space frame gives it the necessary rigidity and strength that enable world-class ride and handling characteristics. It is the first production car that has been specifically tuned to run on standard 22-inch aluminum wheels, giving it that final air of sophistication.

Fisker plans on delivering vehicles to all current deposit holders during the 2011 model year. We invite you to come in for a test drive as soon as the first vehicles hit showrooms. Follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook community to stay in the loop of the latest updates.

ACarIsNotARefrigerator.com Looks Forward To The Opening Of Fisker Santa Monica

May 27, 2011 lacarguy Electric Vehicle Extended Range, Fisker Santa Monica, Green Articles, Hybrid Vehicles Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

At the beginning of 2011, I heard rumors of a Fisker store coming to town. A few weeks ago, while I was at Lexus Santa Monica testing the new 2011 Lexus CT 200h, I learned that Sullivan Automotive Group (Lexus Santa Monica’s parent) was building a Fisker store next to its Volkswagen Santa Monica dealership.

The location, at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and 25th Ave, is the old Lexus Santa Monica site that is now the internet sales department for the VW dealership. The building is relatively small, but you don’t need a large space for the Fisker brand because they only have one model, the voluptuous $95,900 – $110,000 Karma electric extended range sports car.

Sullivan Automotive Group is the 33rd largest dealership group in the US (2010). In 2010, it sold a total of 21,239 units (new, used and wholesale) and had total revenue (including parts, service, etc.) of $632,338,233 – with only seven dealerships:

Lexus Santa Monica
Toyota/Scion Santa Monica
Toyota/Scion of Hollywood
Volkswagen of Santa Monica
Pacific Audi
Pacific Porsche
Pacific Volkswagen
Fisker Santa Monica (opening Spring/Summer 2011)

The group uses the catch-all LACarGuy.com website to promote its stores and, if you live in LA, you’ve seen billboards for LACarGuy and TV commercials featuring patriarch, Owner/President Michael Sullivan. All of Sullivan’s dealerships have adopted environmentally-friendly practices, both in the showroom and in the service bays. Green is good for business these days.

LACarGuy claims that it’s the number one hybrid dealer in the world. I know the Lexus store is the number one Lexus hybrid seller in the US. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the combination of hybrid sales from the two Toyota dealerships, the Lexus store and a few niche hybrids like the VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, and Porsche Panamera Hybrids, put it on top. We do love our hybrids in LA.

The group also has EV charging stations “live” at some of their dealerships. Odd, as none of the vehicles they sell are plug-in hybrids – yet. The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid EV and the upcoming plug-in Prius will also use the charging stations.

The Fisker brand is a good fit for Sullivan Automotive and the City of Santa Monica. So far, it’s the only Fisker dealer in greater Los Angeles. The next closest store is in Orange County.
If you’ve never been to Sullivan’s flagship Lexus Santa Monica dealership, it’s worth your time to see this video. I give them props for restoring this beautiful, historic building.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5v_-lMqhg4w?hd=1&w=500&h=314]

The People’s Republic of Santa Monica is the perfect location for the plug-in EV Fisker Karma. It’s home to ultra-wealthy aging hippies, environmentalists and lefty socialists. Entertainment industry and creative-types populate trendy restaurants and condos. Expensive boutiques on Montana Avenue attract celebrity shoplifters. You’ll find LEED-certified buildings and the most creative, modern architecture there.

Santa Monica is home to Heal the Bay. It’s the unofficial “Home of the Homeless.” The City hosts four terrific Farmers Markets each week in three different locations. Organic and locally-sourced food is pervasive.

Santa Monica banned smoking on public beaches and the outdoor patios of restaurants. Plastic bags are banned from supermarkets. The City’s fleet of non-emergency vehicles is mostly hybrids or alternative fuel vehicles. The City’s Big Blue Buses all run on compressed natural gas (CNG). It’s not uncommon to see an old diesel Mercedes that’s been converted to run on B20 bio-diesel or used vegetable oil. The Prius appears to be the unofficial transportation appliance of Santa Monica — you can’t throw a stone in any direction without hitting one.

Santa Monica is ground zero (in the LA Metro) area for everything environmentally-friendly, progressive and “green.” There are many wealthy early adopters of EVs and other advanced hybrid technology living in or near Santa Monica. In short, it’s the perfect market for a $100,000 extended-range electric vehicle.

The Fisker Karma is a plug-in electric vehicle with a gas engine that drives a generator to charge the batteries for extended-range driving. Fisker claims the Karma can travel 50 miles on the batteries and an additional 200 miles in extended-range mode. The concept is much like the Chevy Volt; but the Karma’s execution is very different and the target audience is wealthier.

The Karma packs a GM Ecotec 2.0 liter direct-inject turbo I-4 engine just behind the front wheels. It drives a generator to charge the large-capacity 20 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that forms a rigid spine down the center of the car. The Karma is a proper rear-drive sports car (albeit a bit heavy at 4,100 lbs) driven by rear-mounted dual 300 kW electric motors good for a total of 403 hp with a heart-stopping 981 lb-ft torque available from the moment your foot hits the electron exciter. The Karma seats four adults and can hit 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.

Fisker Automotive got more than $500 million from the Department of Energy to build the Karma in the US. Fisker bought a shuttered GM plant in Delaware and is in the process of converting it into a shiny modern factory to produce its sleek sports car. It’s going to have to sell lots of cars to pay back its investors.

Below is the Fisker Karma’s first “Get Hot” commercial:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo5YOZ2saZk&w=500&h=314]

In the meantime, the Karma is being built in Uusikaupunki, Finland by contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive. Valmet also builds the Boxster/Caymen line for Porsche at this plant. The Karma began production on March 21, 2011 so deliveries may happen as soon as this summer. I’m sure Fisker Santa Monica is taking orders. Just have your checkbook ready.

Motor Trend’s Technical Editor, Kim Reynolds, gives his take on the Karma:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m5RRJ3-Cr0?hd=1&w=500&h=314]

Reprinted with permission from Todd Bianco’s ACarIsNotARefrigerator.com Blog The Truth About Cars and the Car Biz in LA