By Jeffrey the Barak.
Hidden away off to one side at the 2010 L.A. Auto Show was the Fisker booth. This year the Fisker Karma is looking like a ready-for-sale luxury car, crouched and ready to spring out onto the public streets.
The Karma is a four-door curvacious Plug-in Hybrid Elecric luxury car that really catches the eye of a guy walking around on press day with a “the-vu” press pass.
This car is light in weight, being constructed with as much aluminum and composite materials as possible, and the creature comforts , rather than being future forward and stark, embrace the past with coach-builders’ favorites such as glossy wood and fine leather surfaces.
The powertrain is all today, or tomorrow, depending on your point of view. The raw power comes from its batteries, and unlike other hybrids, the Fisker is faster when in all-electric stealth mode. But its pretty quick in sport mode also, when a mix of gasoline engine power and electric motor power comes together to move you along for around 300 miles per tank of gas.
In todays Prius on every block world, its still a novelty to see something like a supercar calling itself a hybrid, but this all-American lump of quality has raised the standard in this segment.
The jury is out on just how green a hybrid really is. These batteries, in this case 20 kW/h, 180 kW lithium ion w/Nanophosphate technology, have to be made and eventually recycled, and the electricity drawn from the charging station is usually coming from a coal-fired power station, but the Fisker is no more or less green than most hybrids on the road. The difference is, it has the feel of a Jaguar or a BMW. Its a true luxury car.