Norm's Car Review: The Fisker Karma

No one has actually driven the Fisker Karma, and so I am going to throw my imaginary review into the mix.

It sucks.

For those unaware of the Karma, it is a hybrid sports car which the Obama administration saw fit to back with a $500 million loan, even though only 6 prototypes have been created.

First, and lets get this out of the way, it looks great:

And if you read the current issue of Pop Sci (a great magazine, but with a tendency for over-enthusiasm), you will see many pages of gushing review about the car, the man, the story and the future of Fisker and Detroit (tied, in their eyes, irrevocably together). But you need to keep reading because somewhere after the story jumps from the middle of the magazine to the advertising section in the back, where they tell you it is on page 92 but there are no goddamn page numbers because its all just ads for car shelters and pheromones and you hunt for 5 friggin minutes before you find the last part of the story.

And that last part of the story tells you three, critical, statistics.

The car has a top speed of 94mph under electric power (more on this later)

The car weighs 5,800lbs

It costs $87,000

For reference, my '98 dearly departed Ford Expedition weighed 5,300lbs and had a electronically limited top speed of 105mph. I once got it up to 110mph, but that was going downhill. I sold it for $1,000 with a broken heater core.

The thing is, Fisker says he wants people to look at his car and think not "hey, look at the hippiemobile" but rather "whoa, check out the supercar." Those were pretty much his words actually.

But regardless of what you make it look like, if it is slow and heavy, it is going to be a flop of a sports car. Not to mention the idea of using government loans, an emphasis on safety and new technology, and a built from scratch car company. Also, it is run by a widely accredited and respected member of the traditional automotive world setting out all on his own, but with little or no CEO experience. Where have I heard all this before? Oh yeah...

granted, it did give us this:

but that is about the best thing that can be said about the DeLorean.

Fisker will be much the same. We will be lucky as taxpayers to get any of that $500 million back. Quite honestly, the idea of a 5,800lb sports car is a fucking joke.

That is near as damnit the same weight as a Rolls-Royce Phantom. Actually - not just any Rolls, but the extended wheelbase model:

Now sure, I would love to have one of these cars in order to plot my takeover of the governments of earth, but to call one a sports car would be like claiming Al Roker can run a 4 minute mile.

And that is even with the ginormous gas guzzling engine which Rolls puts in these things, generally endowed with enough torque to qualify as a commercial container ship engine.

Instead, the batteries of the Fisker are going to be charged off of a GM Ecotec engine. Now, assuming 100% efficiency in the charging to powering the wheels with electric motors, this means the car will have at most about 200hp on tap. But wait - there's more! Fisker claims that the top speed is 125mph while the engine is running (vs. 94 on batteries alone), which means the batteries while not charging put out less than 200hp. Though granted, they will put out a lot more torque, being electric and all, lets be generous and say they will generate 170hp. For a 5,800lb car.

This is roughly 25% less power-to-weight than a 1990 Hyundai Excel base model:

mmmmm... sexy....

In other words, you wont just get beaten off the line by plebian $25,000 Mustang GTs. You will get beaten off the line by $2,500 Volkswagen Golfs. And $250 Buick Century beaters.
"Yup, she'll still go on and smoke them there Fishker that Mr. Jones done bought. Took it right off the line, wernt a bad piece 'o driving if I do say so myself." *spits tobacco in general direction of the Jones house*

That pretty much sums it up. It costs what a 911 costs, will be slower than a 20yr old death-box, and not only has a single production model never been built, the production line hasn't been built.

I forgot to mention it was is going to come out in 2009 2010 2011.

In conclusion, you will likely never see one, and that's a good thing.

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