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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: 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.

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