Fisker Automotive Electric Cars
Fisker Automotive is a joint venture between Orange County, California based custom sports car deigner Fisker Coachbuild and Irvine, California based alternative energy company Quantum Technologies. The privately held joint venture was started in 2005 after securing nearly $200 million in venture capital from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and the Qatar Investment Authority.
The founders of Fisker Coachbuild, Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler worked for both BMW and Aston Martin where they helped bring to life the Aston Martin DB9 and V8 Vantage. Fisker Coachbuild manfactures 2 custom sports cars with a limited 150 piece run, the Tramanto and Latigo CS.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Fisker Tramanto and Fisker Latigo CS
As Fisker Automotive the company produces one vehicle, the Fisker Karma. Like the Chevy Volt the Karma uses a series hybrid system where the wheels are only driven by the electric motor and the gas engine is used as a generator. The system called "Quantum Drive" or "Q-Drive" is designed and manfactured by company partner Quantum Technologies.
Fisker Automotive will distribute the cars themselves in North America and has secured two European importers, Nellemann Holding AS and Fisker Italia who wil distribute the cars in Europe.
As a cost saving measure the entire manufacturing process of the Karma is outsourced from parts creation to final assembly. Fisker Automotives only in-house responsibility is designing the cars. 750 people develop the car but Fisker Auto only retains 100 on it's payroll.
The Karma from Fisker Automotive is a luxury plug in hybrid electric vehicle. It is a series hybrid in that the wheels are always driven by the electric motor (like the Chevy Volt) and it carries a gasoline powered engine as a generator for extending the car's range.
First introduced at the North American International Auto Show in 2008 orders began being accepted for the Karma in summer 2009 with expected delivery in 2010.
When set to "stealth" mode the Karma runs only on it's twin electric motors and has a range of about 50 miles. If you're tempted to put the two motors, rated at 201 horsepower each, to the test you can expect that range to be significantly shortened. The electric power is provided by a lithium ion battery pack that will either be manufactured by Advanced Lithium Power in Vancouver or EnerDel in Indianapolis. Add in the 260 horsepower, turbo charged gasoline engine and the Karma has a range of about 300 miles.
Performance is not what you'd expect from a hybrid vehicle. The Karma will go from a standing start to 60 miles per hour in under 6 seconds and it has a top speed of 125 miles per hour. Recently company co founder Bernhard Koehler took the Karma up to 100 miles per hour on electric power at world famous race track Laguna Seca in California.
Even with it's $80,000 starting price tag the Karma has already assembled a long wait list in both Europe and North America.
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