With the Karma, Henrik Fisker proved in a single stroke that the future of electric motoring isn't wrapped up in polyester hand-knitted jumpers and thick-soled sandals; he made EV sexy. Now he's back, and this time he's making electricity usable.
Welcome TopGear.com, to the new Fisker Surf.
Unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show, the Surf is a five-door shooting brake based on the same platform as the Karma, a sort of swoopy estate with a neat one-piece lift up tailgate. Obviously, practicality is the key here so the boot gets a useful 355-litre capacity with the rear seats up, rising to 820 litres with them folded down. Ferrari's own shooting brake, the FF, plays 450/800 litres, for the gathered Tifosi no doubt squealing at the screen.
The Surf weighs around 2,500kg, which is around 30kg heavier than the four-door saloon, and propulsion comes courtesy of Fisker's hybrid drivetrain; the exact same setup used in the Karma. A pair of electric motors fed by a battery powers the rear wheels, while a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot engine is used as a range-extender when the battery runs out of charge. This engine never actually turns a wheel, instead powering a generator that sends juice back into the battery.
Fisker says the Surf's drivetrain now puts out over 981 torques and blasts onto a top speed of 125mph thanks to new engine mapping, while that raucous engine - a Top Gear bugbear - gets quieter exhausts. Fisker recently announced a deal with BMW for the supply of a four-pot turbocharged engine however, that will appear in its production cars at the start of 2013. And BMW - who Fisker used to work for, remember - is rather adept at making a smooth, quiet engine. For the time being, this drivetrain produces fewer CO2s than a Prius.
Prices will be announced closer to its on-sale date, mooted to be the second quarter of 2012.
For more world exclusive pictures and the full story on the Fisker Surf, pick up a copy of next month's Top Gear magazine, on sale 5 October 2011.