Print 70 comment(s) - last by Penti.. on Oct 27 at 12:29 PM

Karma is too heavy for sipping fuel

The official EPA numbers came out recently for the Fisker Karma and they were much, much lower than many expected. The EPA rated the Karma at a scant 20 mpg on gasoline. Considering the car was supposed to be a green hybrid, it's rating is disappointing, especially when you think that other hybrids of the size can achieve much better numbers. The all-electric (battery) range is rated at 32 miles for a combined 56 mpg-e.
If you were wondering why a car with a hybrid power plant was rated so low on gasoline power, it’s due to the massive weight of the Karma. The Karma has a curb weight of 5,300 pounds. Most of the weight is due to the heavy and expensive lithium-ion battery pack that motivates the Karma in electric mode.

The Fisker Karma weighs nearly as much as an 8-passenger Ford Expedition 

With the low economy rating of the Karma and the fact that Fisker was one of the green firms that was loaned $529 million in federal funds, some are afraid it will be the next Solyndra. Solyndra is the solar firm that went under after receiving Federal funds for operation. While the EPA thinks its numbers for the Karma are accurate, Henrik Fisker thinks that drivers will see a better driving range.
Fisker said, "We firmly believe that most owners will get up to 50 miles of driving range on a single charge, and will use our electric-only mode most of the time they drive the car."
Much of the Karma is already made from aluminum, so the place to save weight is going to be the battery pack. This will be something that happens in the future as battery technology improves. Another choice would be going to lighter and more exotic materials for the construction like carbon fiber.
The problem is that the Karma is already priced at about $96,000 and moving to exotic materials would only drive that cost up. So far 1,300 people have placed deposits on the Karma

Fisker Karma

Source: Plugincars

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Not to worry
By MeesterNid on 10/25/2011 1:39:20 PM , Rating: 5
Our illustrious leader has another $500 million standing by for Fisker to experiment with as they produce these wonderful automobiles that will surely be something the general public can afford!

RE: Not to worry
By augiem on 10/25/2011 2:12:11 PM , Rating: 5
Gotta love it. Waste yet more money we don't have and never will. Our debt will never be paid. What's it gonna take to end our govt's addiction to spending?

RE: Not to worry
By Ryrod on 10/25/2011 8:30:27 PM , Rating: 4
Our debt will never be paid. What's it gonna take to end our govt's addiction to spending?

People holding their politician's feet to the fire during times of economic prosperity. However, people would rather just cut taxes than to use that money to pay down the debt. Why pay for things now, when we can force future generations to pay it for us?

RE: Not to worry
By Paj on 10/26/2011 6:28:25 AM , Rating: 1
Raising taxes usually helps with that.

RE: Not to worry
By autoboy on 10/26/2011 4:56:07 PM , Rating: 4
"Raising taxes usually helps with that."

Actually not really. Tax revenues have always averaged around 20% of GDP for like 80 years regardless of the tax rates. In reality, making little changes to the tax rates on individuals and business and cap gains has had little effect on overall revenue and the "tax the rich" mantra out now would have an itty bity effect on overall debt. Especially since the top 1% typically have ways to delay paying taxes until a more favorable tax system rolls around. Simply raising income tax rates would just cause them to shift their money into longer term investments, tax shelters, etc. You'd need to rewrite the tax code big time to make any change. The big problem is spending 40 cents of every dollar over our actual revenue and most of that is in non-discretionary spending like Medicare and neither party will touch those sacred cows because it would cost them an election. We are robbing our future for the present and nothing will get done about it until it fails. That's pretty much guaranteed since politicians only care about the next 2-6 years till their next election cycle.

RE: Not to worry
By BaronMatrix on 10/25/11, Rating: -1
RE: Not to worry
By DT_Reader on 10/25/2011 2:20:16 PM , Rating: 3
Are you in the 1%, or do you bicycle to work? We 99%ers will be buying ICEs for some time to come. $96,000 is way beyond my bank account.

RE: Not to worry
By autoboy on 10/25/2011 2:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
You can get a Nissan Leaf. You'll only need to push it home once in awhile as you exhaust the 50 mile range.

ICE is now cleaner than our coal power plants. Give it a break and it may surprise you.

According to new studies out we've had a break in warming for the last 10 years giving us some extra time to stay away from range anxiety.

RE: Not to worry
By Omega215D on 10/25/2011 5:07:58 PM , Rating: 2
Well, there's always the concern of depletion of oil but that's still a ways off and the US barely touched its own reserve.

ICEs make sense because it can be refueled in a matter seconds to minutes and be on your way. Don't always need to rely on gasoline for combustion as there are other sources available. A gas/ electric generator is a good option for commuters and cross country and possibly even performance autos.

RE: Not to worry
By autoboy on 10/25/2011 7:46:18 PM , Rating: 2
There is a LOT of oil sitting around undiscovered or too expensive to extract. We're not going to run out of oil but eventually we may run out of cheap oil. Until that happens there is no economic sense to battery power unless we somehow discover a cheap and disruptive battery technology capable of 400+ miles to a charge which would probably be enough to exceed anybody's ability to drive that far in one day.

RE: Not to worry
By Ringold on 10/25/2011 10:10:17 PM , Rating: 3
Idk, 400 is a lot, even for this huge country. I'd say 200 miles with a quicker recharge and 5 to 10k lower price on the Leaf with those specs would be the end-of-the-ICE sweet-spot.

Plus, improvements to the grid to accommodate the fact that some people will want/need to recharge during the day around peak usage times instead of purely at night.

RE: Not to worry
By autoboy on 10/26/2011 5:03:11 PM , Rating: 2
with 200 you would still need another car for road trips. I'm actually considering buying a Tesla Model S with the 200 mile battery. It's kinda strange too cause I don't actually believe in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming but I like the idea of the technology of the Model S, would love to be able to refuel at home, and 200 miles would leave me with 50% charge left after a pretty much any single trip I can take around the Bay Area. I'd like to keep 50% in case of emergency, like needing to pick a friend up from the airport or some other unexpected trip.

I see the Tesla Model S all over the place here and it's gorgeous, roomy, and fast. I'm actually planning on running over to the dealer this weekend to see what's going on with the waiting list.

RE: Not to worry
By dsx724 on 10/25/2011 2:47:35 PM , Rating: 1
I would love for every car to observe the PZEV standard so that we don't have to breathe in the dirty fumes coming out of the pipe. However, banning ICE altogether is stupid. I would love some 1000-2000lb single seaters with 100HP for 10k though. Lower insurance rates, better mileage (esp city), and wicked acceleration while not really compromising safety.

RE: Not to worry
By Spuke on 10/25/2011 3:19:42 PM , Rating: 4
However, banning ICE altogether is stupid. I would love some 1000-2000lb single seaters with 100HP for 10k though.
You'll never see a $10k car again. Buy that Versa while it's hot! Sorry, cheap cars are going away guys!!! Have you not seen ANY of the estimated prices for just the tech to improve fuel mileage to meet the 56 mpg CAFE standard? Do you really think that once EV's take over the automakers are going to lower prices? China just cut off lithium supplies to everyone for the next month. Do you really think that won't happen again sometime in the future, especially once we're all dependent on it? Some of you really live in a fantasy world.

RE: Not to worry
By wookie1 on 10/25/2011 3:54:03 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention you have to have 15 airbags (OK, I'm exaggerating a little), seatbelt pre-tensioners, tire pressure monitoring system, ABS, stability control, and very stringent engine controls.

I once had an '89 Suzuki Swift GTi though, that was exactly what you're talking about. I bought it used with a bunch of miles on it, but new it was ~$8K (in '89). It weighed something like 1700lbs, and had a 100HP 1.3L 4-cyl. No power anything except brakes (maybe they were manual too, I can't recall). It did have disc brakes all the way around. It was pretty fun to drive.

The Suzuki would be totally unsaleable in the US now, though.

RE: Not to worry
By Flunk on 10/26/2011 10:32:31 AM , Rating: 2
Not that much of an exaggeration, the Chevy Cruze has 12 airbags.

RE: Not to worry
By brybir on 10/26/2011 10:58:43 AM , Rating: 3
What cost $8000 in 1989 would cost $13884.91 in 2010. Lets call it $14,000 now. However, a quick check of new retail pricing stated the whole thing had a base price of $8,995. Air conditioning was a $830 option. So, what cost $8995 in 1989 would cost $15611.84 in 2010. Then I checked fuel economy: EPA estimated fuel economy at 25/32 mpg city/highway. Last, the NHTSA gave it 3/5 stars in front impact and 4/5 in side impact in 1989 testing.

Then you have the subjective factor that that car is terribly ugly (by modern standards) and would be destroyed in an accident with a modern heavier car or SUV. Today, for the same inflation adjusted price, you can get a Mazda 3, a Mitsubishi Lancer base, a Kia Soul, a Chevy Cobalt, or a Dcion xD. Each of these cars are larger, have much nicer interiors and exteriors, are notably safer during crashes, and get respectable gas mileage, all while having many additional safety features.

So, the Suzuki would be totally "unsaleable" right now, as no one would buy it given the equivalent priced (adjusted for inflation) offerings that are far superior for the same price.

RE: Not to worry
By Penti on 10/25/2011 10:43:27 PM , Rating: 2
WV Lupo 3L that was sold here in Europe equals 78 mpg US and was never expensive hell, a Volvo S60 DRIVe diesel is around 56 mpg. 60 mpg for full sized sedans and station wagons and higher for smaller cares aren't exactly unreasonable or anything exotic. The Lupo 3L was around 16k US equivalent in 99. An ordinary (Europe) VW Polo 1.2L BlueMotion would do about 69 mpg, a 105 hp 1.6L TDI should be about 56mpg. Not 10k cars, but certainly not more expensive then other cars.

China manufactures most battery cells, if you like to assemble some cells into battery packs in US I'm sure they would let you. It's not like any other countries then the Asian industry powerhouses of PRC, South Korea and Japan can really build battery tech any way.

Besides trucks like F-150 doesn't need to hit more then 30 mpg 2025. Fleet wide average is suppose to be 54.5 mpg. It's a lot, but certianly not something that takes much more then new/tuned engines. EV's will never ever take over, hybrids (plug-in) should be fairly common though. But the dollar as low as it is and as overvalued it is, cars will cost more if your economy ever corrects itself and certainly not 10k for a new car, but that's inflation and disastrous economic policies. The Versa is almost 15k right? Not dirt cheap.

RE: Not to worry
By Spuke on 10/26/2011 2:25:53 PM , Rating: 3
WV Lupo 3L that was sold here in Europe equals 78 mpg US and was never expensive hell,
I guess you missed the last 1000 comments about how you can't compare US and Euro fuel economy. I won't explain it again but I'll just say that the VW Lupo would NOT get 78 mpg here in the US.

RE: Not to worry
By Penti on 10/27/2011 12:29:30 PM , Rating: 2
I know the test cycles are different but it's even over 65+ (euro driving cycle) mpg in city driving.

Plenty off room.

RE: Not to worry
By callmeroy on 10/25/2011 3:07:14 PM , Rating: 1
Good for you.

I will.

Nuff said.

RE: Not to worry
By Samus on 10/25/11, Rating: -1
RE: Not to worry
By Ringold on 10/25/2011 10:17:28 PM , Rating: 4
Stop trolling. There's a huge difference between bleeding-edge academic research, advanced military research, supporting basic science and doing things that were probably 75 years from ever being remotely commercially profitable, compared to industrial policy that attempts to pick winners in already mature tech fields. If you weren't foaming at the keyboard, invoking the nazi's, maybe, with great effort, you could understand the difference is actual research funding, and crony capitalism. (Which both parties engage in, yes, they simply have different industrial backers)

RE: Not to worry
By kjboughton on 10/25/2011 4:11:11 PM , Rating: 2
Wonderful! More for me! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

RE: Not to worry
By NellyFromMA on 10/25/2011 4:24:20 PM , Rating: 2
Like there are any viable options. Suit yourself. Ps, I pictured a dirty oily kid saying this ;)

RE: Not to worry
By NicodemusMM on 10/25/2011 6:34:47 PM , Rating: 2
Good for you, but you may have to pay through the nose for it considering the current lanthanide situation. Oh... and currently your choices for buying a vehicle without an ICE is pretty limited.

RE: Not to worry
By idiot77 on 10/25/2011 3:05:57 PM , Rating: 5
"Our illustrious leader...."

I stopped there because you're apparently North Korean.

RE: Not to worry
By MeesterNid on 10/26/2011 8:46:10 AM , Rating: 1
And you apparently have the reading comprehension of a 5 year old with complete inability to deduce sarcasm.

RE: Not to worry
By Dorkyman on 10/26/2011 3:14:44 PM , Rating: 3
I wouldn't call him that. I call him Messiah because that's what his followers think of him.

RE: Not to worry
By idiot77 on 10/26/2011 5:08:03 PM , Rating: 2
You apparently have no clue that they call him "Dear Leader" and "Illustrious Leader".

If I can only read on a 5 year old level, then the American medical system is in deep. I scored slightly higher than 55% of applicants on reading comprehension.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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