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Fisker hybrid news - Practical joker - 2008

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So that’s why it was a
grainy picture. This is the Fisker Karma, the luxury hybrid from Denmark’s
finest designer that we
told you about back in October.

Those details were
accompanied by a grainy shot that got us all excited at the prospect of an
Aston-like super-hybrid with looks to die for. 

But, seeing the Karma
unveiled in Detroit, we now realise why we only got a blurry image before.
Because the big four-seater isn’t the finest-looking creature around. Although
we like the sculpted flanks and low roofline, that front end is over-fussy and
the grille is, well, terrifying.

However, look beyond the
Jack Nicholson’s Joker face, and the Karma makes a whole lot more sense.
Powered by a new plug-in hybrid system called Q Drive, it features a small
petrol engine that turns a generator to charge a lithium ion battery pack.

This powers an electric
motor which turns the rear wheels, allowing the Karma to run on electric power
alone for up to 50 miles. When the battery power is spent, the Karma plugs back
into the mains or can be ordered with a full-length solar panel roof, allowing
it to self-charge. Clever. 

Beyond its eco-credentials
the Karma should be good to drive, too. The petrol engine and electric power
work together in ‘Sport’ mode to propel it to 60mph in under six seconds, and
the battery pack is positioned at the centre of the vehicle for decent balance.
Because of the electric-hybrid drivetrain, maximum torque is available from
zero rpm upwards. 

Good news in the price department,
too: Fisker says the Karma will cost from just $80,000 when the first
deliveries arrive towards the end of 2009. Fisker reckons that annual
production could reach 15,000 cars - serious numbers for a manufacturer that,
until now, has specialised in low-volume conversions.

We eagerly wait to find
out if Fisker can deliver on the big promises. But first Henrik, please sort
that horrible grin out. No joking.

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