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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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RE: Misleading Article
By Dorkyman on 10/25/2011 2:59:37 PM , Rating: 1
I really doubt they would save much weight by shape-shifting, maybe just a few hundred pounds.

Any large-capacity battery pack is going to be heavy, even lithium.

It looks like the best way to deliver power from an ICE is via direct mechanical connection, rather than via generator/battery/motor. There's a reason the Volt engine can drive the wheels directly.

And I am coming to the conclusion that NO ONE, outside of a purist, is going to be willing to plug in a car night after night for more than a month or so. Perhaps an automatic charge station needs to be developed.


RE: Misleading Article
By Keeir on 10/25/2011 3:58:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I really doubt they would save much weight by shape-shifting, maybe just a few hundred pounds.


Errr... mass savings leads to mass savings. Using the same type of aluminium frame and ditching the transmission, a normal C/D segment sedan would likely wieght between 3,300-3,600 lbs. The Volt uses Steel and has a complicated transmission and its ~3,900.

Karma has a Wheelbase of 125! Inches. Thats longer than the Audi A8 L.

quote:
And I am coming to the conclusion that NO ONE, outside of a purist, is going to be willing to plug in a car night after night for more than a month or so.


Why? Data from Volt users? Plug-in Prius Fleet?

I live in an area where electricity costs 0.09 cents per kWh and gas costs 3.80 a gallon. If I told you that you could buy gas for ~1.20-1.50 a gallon directly from wall at home with the only restriction being you could only buy one gallon a day, but only had to pay once a month... would you think people would fill up at home every night, or would they wait to fill up at 3x the price at a gas station where they need to pay immediately?

I am sorry. Pluging in might seem difficult, but the real ECONOMIC difference is gigantic. People are often willing to drive 5, 10, or even 15 minutes out of there way to save 2-3 dollars on a fill up. Imaging saving that much each and every day.


RE: Misleading Article
By Spuke on 10/25/2011 5:22:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I live in an area where electricity costs 0.09 cents per kWh and gas costs 3.80 a gallon.
Are you really trying to justify the economic value of a $90,000 car? NO ONE in this market cares. Those 1300 people are buying novelty. Those cars will be up for sale the following year.


RE: Misleading Article
By Keeir on 10/25/2011 5:46:52 PM , Rating: 2
I am not trying to justify the Karma, but simply to respond to the idea that anyone with a Plug-In electric would not plug-in... simply because it is a hassle.

Once you have a Plug-In car, whether it is a Leaf, Volt, Prius, etc... there is a significant financial incentive to continue pluging in said car. Maybe overall there is not an incentive to buy said car... but there is significant marginal financial incentive to use the plug-in capacity if it is available.


RE: Misleading Article
By Spuke on 10/25/2011 6:10:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am not trying to justify the Karma, but simply to respond to the idea that anyone with a Plug-In electric would not plug-in... simply because it is a hassle.
Gotcha. I agree.


RE: Misleading Article
By BZDTemp on 10/26/2011 6:37:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And I am coming to the conclusion that NO ONE, outside of a purist, is going to be willing to plug in a car night after night for more than a month or so. Perhaps an automatic charge station needs to be developed.


Valid point however here is a couple of things to consider.

a. The likelihood of a Karma buyer to "a purist" is pretty high. Either in the form of being fanatical about the environment or in the form of being a car geek wanting something different and interesting tech.
b. It's also likely that most Karma buyers employ people that take care of trivial things so that the actual task of plugging in is handled for them.


RE: Misleading Article
By autoboy on 10/26/2011 5:41:29 PM , Rating: 2
"It's also likely that most Karma buyers employ people that take care of trivial things so that the actual task of plugging in is handled for them."

Not likely. The era of servants is long gone. I guess you'll see some Hollywood types with "personal assistants" but it's not that common and they typically don't do menial tasks like plugging in your car cause you are too lazy to.

Also, when you consider that a normal family GMC Acadia averages about 35K off the lot and the Karma is less than 3X more, you don't need to be ridiculously wealthy to afford one. The working wealthy, doctors, management, lawyers, etc could afford one pretty easily if they really wanted one and they don't sit around drinking tea served on silver by Jeeves.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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