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My Neighbor has a Karma

I'm eagerly awaiting the Delivery of my Model S P85 sometime this month. As I was finishing the installation of my solar array I see the very recognizable "smiley face" grill of a Fisker Karma turning down my street. I live in Eunice, a small oil town in SE NM. EVs are not popular here and Romney won this county by 40 points. Still in shock that my Model S will be next door to a Fisker Karma in a town of <5000. Neighbors apparently won it in Las Vegas so they aren't "EV people"... just hope they plug it in!

Did anyone seriously consider the Karma? I almost feel sorry for Fisker since it gets to roundly destroyed by the Model S. I doesn't go as far, even with gas. It's almost half as efficient, even on electric. It's less powerful than a P85, even with two motors. It's also more expensive. Has less room; etc, etc. Elon was dead on when he called it a "mediocre product at a higher price"

I think your neighbor will experience a new psychological condition called "Tesla Envy". Facing the fact that you have far more car than he does will not be easy for him....

Instead of a fruit cake this Christmas, bring him a fire extinguisher

And wear your ear plugs in case he goes into launch mode!

As per mocaptain, I would upgrade your fire insurance and reappraise your fine art. Also, buy some marshmallows. good luck.

But alas .... You CAN go purchase a Karma TODAY! The Fisker may have it's shortcomings but lets not forget it too is cutting edge being the only "true" Series Hybrid available. (meaning the Traction Motor provides all of the motive force) The gasoline engine is NOT connected to the wheels at all but is an onboard gasoline powered generator only. Personally I find the Fisker appealing for just for that reason. The Volt, Fusion, Prius, etc. are not true EV's as their gasoline engine CAN power the vehicle by supplying engine torque directly to the driveline whereas the Karma cannot, all propulsion torque is provided by the traction motor alone.

IMHO the Fisker Karma is not all that hard on the eyes either, and while it seems to be getting bashed by many let's not forget that it is unique in the marketplace and has gone where no Hybrid has to date in terms of being a genuine series hybrid drive. Model S has had it's growing pains as well "granted none have burned down" (yet) but the components "sans gasoline gen set" are similar and I hope Fisker can iron it out. The more EV's of any kind we see in the marketplace, the better as far as I'm concerned.

That said "if I could pull it off I'd add a Karma to my stable.
Just my .02

The Karma has poor range, poor engine power, and you still have to go to a gas station, and do maintenance for an ICE.. No thanks.

@Shop ... Just like all other hybrids, which in the form of Fusion, Volt, Prius etc. CAN provide the means for those without $100K wallets and multicar stables to somewhat reduce their carbon footprint and get all electric commuting range in many cases. They remain a viable and "not so much for the Karma" affordable alternative.

At least Fisker is trying, ... The Karma could have been a gas guzzling V-12 monster that got 8 mpg. and from my standpoint there are already enough of those available in the market.

Again just my .02

But the Karma isn't a cheap car so I'm not sure what you are saying. They tried and failed badly?

I do find a few things amazing about the Karma.

- It's electric but only gets 54 mpge.
- It's a hybrid but only get 20 mpg.
- It has two motors but only 403HP vs 416HP for P85
- 959ft-lbs of torque / 403HP 0-60 in .... 6.3s... really?
- It's a $100k+ electric w/ a 3.3 kw charger
- It catches fire when it gets wet

Ok, that last one was a joke, I'm sure the same would happen to most EVs submerged in saltwater. But seriously how is the Fisker so bad in almost EVERY area compared to Tesla? I agree it might make an "interesting" addition to a Leno's garage but I don't know many people that collect cars just as art. The Fisker isn't just bad... it's comically bad. It doesn't even have as much range as a P85... and it uses gas! I love EVs and want more but... sometimes you got to kull the herd.

The reason they are available to buy off the lot is that Fisker couldn't pre-sell them all like Tesla. How long do you suppose it will be before MS on the road outnumber Karmas? Has it happened already, perhaps?

Superliner, I understand what you're saying, but the Volt is still the superior car in my opinion, expecially when price is factored in.

The Fisker has so many comprosises.

I understand that Volt's gas engine can power the wheels, but I think externally, it's essentially the same pitch as the Karma. You can do some of your driving on electricity only, but the gas engine has to be used sometimes.

The Volt is better designed, and, dare I say, looks a lot better than the ridiculous looking Karma.

About 2,000 Karmas sold, 3,000 Model S delivered by Dec 31st, including mine. (I hope)

I think it was a CR reviewer who termed the Karma control panel "an ergonomic disaster". Nice leather, lousy electronics.

@Shop ;

You are correct, the Karma is not inexpensive hence I wrote......From my prior post ..........(They remain a viable and "NOT SO MUCH FOR THE Karma" an affordable alternative).

And as far as having "failed badly" no one else has even attempted to bring a true series hybrid to market in "any" price range. Being first is a B*tch but I'm glad they are doing it, good or bad. There are many Model S and BEV naysayers as well, they just don't post here where we generally accept the technology and are willing "and able $$$$" to adopt the Model S @ it's current price point even when missing features that are standard equipment on virtually any car in this price range as well as many entry level sedans at less than half the cost or more.

Imagine if Ransom E. Olds or Henry Ford had given up when their gas powered contraptions were met with public ridicule for being loud smelly, dirty, and not very user friendly etc. Yes, one could argue that someone would have eventually done it. BUT they would have been riding in the wake of those who tried it first!

Is the Karma a great or horrible car ?? good question. However often the first large scale effort at "anything" often suffers a less than desirable outcome. But somebody has to try or there would be no progress. Will there be better more affordable series hybrids and or BEV's such as Fisker Karma and Model S ? I hope so.

I have been driving EV's off and on since the early 80's when we thought Jet Electria "converted Ford Escorts" and Volts Rabbits "converted Volkswagen Rabbits" and various home built conversions using Lead Acid 6V Marine Batteries and getting 20 - 40 miles range TOPS!! was a good thing. We did not quit when we were told our home built BEV contraptions were a joke!

All that said the Karma and Fisker will live or die on their own merits or lack thereof. But I always admire the pioneers, Tesla and Elon Musk included on a long list of those who continued to carry the BEV cause. Wilde EVolutions, EV America, Solectria, AC Propulsion, U.S Electricar, EV World Magazine just to name a few.

Any conveyance that can move on the highway without gasoline for any length of time is a good thing!! some will be better than others but "all" will hopefully advance the technology in some measure.

All IMHO of course ;-)

My roommate has a Volt and it is a great car. Having the ability to couple the engine directly to the wheels isn't a disadvantage, it's an enormous advantage an probably the primary reason the Volt gets 37 mpg vs 20 mpg for the Karma.

Here's a Great Video showing how the Volt does what it does

If I had to choose between driving a Volt or Karma... I'd choose the Volt. Fortunately, I don't have to choose cause I'm getting a P85 :)

Maybe he can make a better owner video review than this poor schmuck. He was actually shocked that the comments were mostly negative with most people offering him condolences for his shitty ride.

Fisker Karma is an overpriced Prius with poor engineering and build quality. You would be stupid to buy a Karma even at half the price.

Enjoy the video.


you are mistaken. the Volt is also a series hybrid. The reason why the Fisker can only muster 0-60 in 6.3 seconds in performance mode is the same reason why the P85 accelerates faster than the 40kwh model. The larger battery provides a more concentrated source of energy to send to the motor. The 4cylinder GM ecotec and the puny battery of the Karma can only muster enough juice to the dual motors to get a pretty crappy acceleration number. It is also a very heavy car at 5300 lbs. As I said, watch the owner video and you'll understand why Fisker is not going to be around in the future.

@Superliner, who's job is it to give Fisker a pat on the back and an 'A' for effort though? I don't know, but it's not ours.

I don't know what went on inside of Fisker, but from the outside it seems to me that Fisker worried about style and they couldn't figure out technology, but they hoped that the style would carry it anyways, and also, I really don't like Fisker's "style". Now, that's just the way it looks to me from the outside. Obviously, I didn't build the car; I don't know what went into it.

I can tell you this though. I was once very interested in buying a Volt, and if the Model S didn't exist, I might have one now, or at least be holding out for the Volt 2.0. I was never interested in the Karma.

@olanmills; & Whomever it might?? interest;

If we use price as a measure then a Loaded Lincoln MKS is superior to a Bently After all the MKS gets better mileage can have nearly all the the same bells and whistles, and in some cases more. Both move you from point A to B but at 200K what are you getting in a Bently? it is basically the same technology right? it's an ICE car.. Or a Leaf is better than a Model S? One could arrange alot of alternative travel means with the extra 20-70K and I along with most here probably already have multiple vehicles assuming they would need it or them?? I drive less than 20 miles a day most drive less than 50 thats well within the range of a Focus EV or a Leaf and they both cost less. So by this I could assume that either is superior to a Model S? and they're both EV's, they probably both have lighted vanity mirrors, folding exterior mirrors "albeit non power", interior storage, and integral cupholders and probably a few other goodies absent on the S, and both are available NOW, not 6 months?? from now.

That said "BEFORE I GET FLAMED" My Point is.. at some point you are paying for more than the sum of what you are driving, and it's efficiency or lack thereof in one area or another does not matter because it's what you want. That alone does not make a better car it just makes a more desirable car to the individual buyer.

I just want to see the BEV / Series Hybrid technology advance and become more affordable to all so we can "pay it forward" so to speak and not leave generations to come drowning in oil debt and stench.


From Motor Trend Test ....... " Volt’s wheels, and we can confirm that its 149-horse electric motor accelerates fairly smartly right up to its 101-mph top speed—with or without the 84-horsepower gasoline engine switched on. The surprising news is that, after you deplete the 16-kW-hr battery and the engine switches on, a clutch connects the engine and generator to the planetary transmission so the engine can help turn the wheels directly above 70 mph. This improves performance and boosts high-speed efficiency by 10-15 percent" ....

A PURE Series Hybrid cannot have a mechanical connection from the ICE to the wheels where it's torque can be directly applied to the driveline. so no, I'm not mistaken. The Volt is NOT a "pure" series hybrid. Nor is the Fusion or Prius w/wo plug in capability.

It can however operate as such until battery depletion threshold "as can the others" but to be a "true" series hybrid such as a diesel electric locomotive, the ICE is only a genset which supplies electricity that powers the traction motor which propels the vehicle which is the case at all times in the Karma as there is no mechanical connection to accomplish this.

I have seen many Karma videos, road test articles etc. including the owner who says the center stack touch screen / display is the worst such effort in the history of such interface displays. None complained that the available power was not adequate, just that it did not seem class competitive?? But there are no other Available pure series hybrids to compare it to. It does seem lackluster in the eyes of many in light of the amount of HP and more importantly Torque that is available on tap. Improved reduction gear ratios could help the cars strait line performance. Not all are really interested in 0-60 times either, personally I don't spend my commute blasting at WOT from 0-60 each time I move from a stop, been there done that got the shirt. Adequate performance with an emphasis on comfort more suits me these days "but that's just me" I have no problem with anyone who wants to red light hop like a top fuel dragster and whatever they drive thats capable of doing that.

I'm not a Fisker defender or lover by any means, If I had the extra bank to buy one?? I might to replace one of my existing ICE veh's.. I've always had a variety of ICE cars Might make a nice addition to the "S" However keeping in mind that I don't NEED a Model S either. It's all about the want and what kind of air I'd like there to be to breathe long after I'm gone. every little bit helps :-)

It seems Karma owners either win cars for free or like Justin Beiber last week are super wealthy with nothing to do with their money...
If they earned the money and shopped around they would see better value just about anywhere.

I do not know the origins of Tesla (did Musk start it or step in after the Roadster project was under way) but I'm an operations guy and I am fairly confident that Tesla's difference can be found in Musk's vision.

In a previous life and start up, my partner was a marketer and was so distraught with the engineering process that he headed down the path of the computer-less computer company. Basically, he could find companies that would quote all of our core functions at a fixed price and confirmed delivery. That left my partner will all the strings to control the process. I lost the argument and was run out; a fleecing every engineer should have at some point in their life. My partner continued with our funding sources to execute the concept. I went off to do it my way.

I mention the above not because my story is particularly interesting or unique but to highlight that a company that thinks they can outsource their core competence and add value solely by design and marketing is picking a very tough road. My partner (who was smarter than me) failed and I succeeded.

Fisker is a design house. The car looks great. I believe Fisker jobbed out most everything else.

On the other hand, Tesla and Musk seems to have gone to school on past failures.
- The automotive vendor base serves the ICE machine. Do not rely on it as, when push comes to shove, you'll be second priority.
-The product IS engineering so you better be doing the engineering yourself.
-One product does not make a company so engineer for a product line and not one product.
-The market or governments will not address your range issues so do it yourself (SuperChargers).
-Those that sell ICE can not sell your car. When push comes to shove......
And the list goes on.

In short, Tesla is different because of Musk and the vision that has come with the approach of a guy that has made and lost a lot of money and one that believes in making money by adding value. History will tell us all if his ideas will fly. Having been on the business end of several start up "sticks" I'm betting on Tesla and Musk.

@lolachampcar +1

tranhv68: I am one of the people that left a very honest semi-negative comment on the video review of the Karma...Something along the lines of "When you get excited by you Karma's braking ability, and how well it does in traffic, you know you bought the wrong car." The funny thing is, he wrote a serious reply back and said "Well, I live in California where there's a lot of stop-and-go traffic, and it's really great under those conditions..."

Talk about missing the point!

Just FYI, Tesla was started by Martin Eberhardt, who was "eased" out after failing to bring the car to a cost =< price point. Elon invested, discovered the huge sucking hole in the financial plan and process, and eventually went to the wall with his own funds and some family and associate's during the pit of the financial bust in '08. Both SpaceX and Tesla went thru 'make or break' product launches about then, at the worst possible time.

Martin's original idea to convert and build on the Elise form factor for the Roadster, btw, turned out to look like a smarter idea up front than it was. As Elon put it, in the end it was like having done a reno on your house that ended up retaining only a single wall in the basement from the original. In hindsight, a white sheet approach like they did with MS would have been cheaper and less constraining. Lesson learned!

I'll bet your Model S is bigger and more shiny than your neighbor's Karma. Let the green envy begin :-)

BTW, Justin Beiber also got his Karma as a gift (from his manager, back in February of this year)...It was broadcast on the Ellen Show, and the funny thing is, he asks "Is it all electric?" (around 2:35 in the video link below) and his manager says something that is hard to understand, but that basically dodges the question. Ooops.

How does JB Straubel fit in?

Elon was with Tesla since its inception in 2003 (CEO much later), so was JB Straubel.

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