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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"

@Nicu.Mihalache, Elon was with the rest from the beginning, but basically only as financial guy at first financing the project. He is not actual founder of the company and was taken in by Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning and Ian Wright when they tried to find money for (someone to finance) their project.

Wiki mentions "two independent teams...both sought to commercialize the T-Zero prototype...Tom Gage, the president of AC Propulsion, suggested that the two teams join forces...

At the point of "joining the forces" Tesla Motors already was Tesla Motors created by Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning and Ian Wright. These three are founders (not co-founders) of the company.

He (Elon) then took more straight on role when it was obvious that Roadster was going to cost more to build than they would get money from it. JB Straubel was more a background smart guy that does the engineering (and still is: smart, engineering and in background).

It's a bit ugly beginning for the company. Way too much drama and bad blood. Wiki gives a "cleaned up" version of the actual events. Quite a bit cleaned up version in fact.

Ouch, winning a 110k+ car in Vegas? That's gonna hurt when tax time rolls around, wonder how long it will be until they sell it.

Selling would be smart if they do it fast while it still has some status value. nwdiver93 could give them a drive in the Model S to convince them to swap to pure BEV. Even the 40kWh version beats Karma in every way (except range).

I hope they sell it... or at least start plugging it in. I have yet to see the car plugged in. You wouldn't believe the people I talk to who are confused by why in the world anyone would pay for electricity to charge a Volt or Karma when it: "charges when I drive..." !?!?!? seriously people?! Our education system really has failed. They're called the LAWS of Thermodynamics for a reason!!

@tranhv68

My apologies Sir, I stand corrected! The Volt indeed operates as and appears to be a series Hybrid.

The Karma is a sweet-looking car. I hope it overcomes these hurdles and does well because it bodes well for the industry. I'm also really, really glad I have the Model S and not a Karma.

My brother has a Volt and loves it. He claims that when he puts it in "mountain mode" or some such thing, the ICE charges a depleted battery in about 10 minutes,using very little fuel. Now my brother exaggerates, so I can never believe what he says. But assuming there is some truth to what he says, does the battery charge up so fast because it is tiny, or because the ICE functions as a very powerful generator? Apparently it takes him a lot longer to charge the battery from a level 2 charger.

@DouglasR - mostly it charges quickly because it is a tiny battery -- it is only 16kWh, and it doesn't use all of it (for battery longevity reasons). I don't know how fast the gas engine can recharge the battery, but I would still be very surprised for it to go from 25-75% (or whatever range they actually use) in only 10 minutes. I am equally sure that it uses more energy in gas than you would use from an electric source (the first problem being an ICE is about 30% efficient at extracting energy).

The Volt seems to be a fine car, and if GM didn't push it as an EV (while spreading FUD about real EVs) I wouldn't be unhappy about it being successful. I think hybrids are merely an intermediate step to where we need to be, but I think they are an important step. I also dislike my tax dollars bailing them out and helping them shaft investors and franchises with the Good GM/Bad GM bankruptcy shuffle, but that is a different story.

@nwdriver93 Yeah, this is one of the most disturbing things.

I posted (a kind) reply to commenter on an MSN article that mentions the Karma. This guy confused efficiency with range and thought that some electric cars (or the electric mode of some cars, as applicable) had better or worse efficiency than some ICE cars. For example, he though that, because the Volt only has a 40 mile EV range, that it is some how less efficient in that mode than a regular ICE car.

The Model S has poor quality materials the interior was clearly done on the ultra cheap (this is even more obvious when directly compared to the Karma). I prefer the Karma in almost every category but I now own a Model S due to Tesla giving me 10k off the Model S when I bought the Roadster. If I had not gotten this discount I would be driving a Karma right now. In 20 years the Karma will still look amazing; the Model S already looks dated.

The Karma has the complete package to be worth 100k+; Tesla spent all of the R&D money it seems on the powertrain.

The Model S handling is a huge disappointment. The Karma handles better than the Model S even though most of the Model S' center of gravity is located very low. After all this hype about the Model S I was very surprised to find out that the low center of gravity really did not make the Model S a superb handling vehicle.

Quality wise I do not think the Karma could be any worse than the Model S. The rattles in the roof of the Model S coupled with the constant freezing of the 17 inch display and the extremely slow web browser are all misses by Tesla. The 17inch display in my Model S takes a good 60 seconds to load google.com. Ill take a Karma for my collection and maybe pick up the next gen Tesla after they add some class and quality materials to the vehicle. Even with the Tesla 10k discount the Fisker is still the better car.

must....not....take....bait....

nickjhowe

Do you currently drive a Model S? If I recall correctly you have not taken delivery as yet. I am curious as to why you feel that my statements are bait? Perhaps when you take delivery of your Model S you may get a superb car free of defects. Having driven both the Fisker Karma and currently driving a Model S (daily) as well as a Tesla Roadster the above information is my experience with these vehicles. I look forward to your response.

@SMOP you are correct. My reaction was due to your post being the only one I have seen (anywhere) that puts forward those ranges of views. That isn't to say those views are wrong, but certainly seem at odds with pretty much every handling and build quality comment and comparison I've seen about the Karma and the S.

The wording of your post "...If I had not gotten this discount I would be driving a Karma right now." seems bizarre (IMHO). "The reason I'm driving a car that handles and is built worse than something I prefer is because I paid $90k for it not $100k"

Each to their own I guess.

Damn. Took the bait.

I took 3 people to the airport this morning. All stated it was the nicest car they had ever ridden in. Negotiations were already in progress by 1 with his spouse -- "I gotta get one of these!"

OTOH- Karma's:
Interior volume is so low, EPA rated it as a subcompact
Electric only efficiency is 52 mpg-e
Electric only range is 32 miles
Gasoline only efficiency is 20 mpg
Total range is 230 miles

Summary: the Karma is totally unsuitable and inferior for my transportation needs.

In the Karma's favor, it is a very handsome car, except when you see the McPedro mustache.

Also, if the Karma is supposed to be so terrific, why has Tesla already delivered as many cars in the US and Canada as Fisker has?

smop - If you feel that the Karma is truly the better car, why not trade your Model S for one?

At the moment, there are plenty of motivated Fisker sellers who would happily swap their car for your Model S. It is logically inconsistent to keep the S and grouse.

Regarding styling, the Karma is definitely older school ... muscle-bound rather than athletic like the S.

I think Franz is clearly much hipper than Henrik.

I drove an Aston-Martin Rapide for a weekend road trip. A gorgeous car, but honestly I think the S is more beautifully proportioned and drives better.

People who own the Karma have described it as not at all a sports car - all 5,300 pounds of it. It is hard for me to find credible your comparison of the Karma handling vs. the S.

The conflicting elements in your comments seem to betray an ulterior objective.

Do you have a business relationship with Fisker? If so, you should disclose it.

@Superliner, Volt is not pure serial hybrid (it can connect ICE to drivetrain directly), neither is it pure parallel hybrid (it can run ICE as generator without connection to drivetrain directly). And it has big enough battery that it can work as BEV without ICE at all in short distances.

It is hybrid hybrid :-P

nickjhowe, I only now stopped laughing at the fact that you took the bait!

I enjoy hearing other's opinions; especially when they do not agree with mine. Forums are a good place to learn.

I think SMOP makes some good points. I also think Fisker is doomed (see post earlier in this thread) for a lot of reasons unrelated to SMOP's points.

I agree that the interior is the effort of a young car company. Sit in a 750, A8, S500, etc. and you can feel the difference. These cars are MS' price point competition. I also agree with SMOP that Tesla spent their money elsewhere. I'm an engineer and I know what it must have taken to do what Tesla has done with car. Simply managing the idiotic number of 4/3rds A fat cells alone is fantastic. I use the word "idiotic" to describe engineering in over 8000 points of failure in the same way I would use it to describe building a sports car with the engine in the back. I would not do it as conventional wisdom says its not the best engineering solution. However, it appears to be the best decision from a safety, longevity, development curve and business standpoint. Just like Porsche made the 911 work, so to Tesla has made the battery work (along with all the other power train components).

Going back to SMOP's comments, the fact that Tesla spent all their coin on the mechanicals is why I bought the car. The Karma may be the better bet for a collection but I already have a true sports car and I do not have any interest in collecting cars. I want something I can drive today that works strikingly well as a fast four door sedan. I'm Tesla's target market and there are more of me than there are SMOPs. That does not make him wrong, just in the minority. BTW most successful people are in the minority.

Lastly, SMOP's comments on the user interface are also spot on. However, there seems to be sufficient horsepower in the display module to make it functional in the long term and Tesla can update the firmware remotely. Did that capability lead them to ship something with more bugs than they might otherwise have shipped? Probably. In the longer run, they will get these bugs ironed out. Fisker can not iron out their bugs so easily and definitely not over the web.

@ lolachampcar

I think there is a rather common misconception about the 8000 cells as points of failure. They are in facts organized in a redundant fail-safe manner that makes the pack much more reliable than a 10-cell pack. I will try to explain the reasoning with an example, I hope I'm not getting too technical here.

Let P = 1 / 10,000 the probability of failure of a basic 18650 cell (I know it's much lower) during a given year. At first glance, a 10,000 cell battery would have one failure in average every year.

Suppose for simplicity that you have 10,000 cells organized in 100 super-cells of 100 cells each (the idea is the same for both the Roadster and Model S, but we leave out technical details). The electric / electronic management is built so that each group of 100 can still work if up to 5 sub-cells fail, but no more (both levels). Assuming the failure of cells is independent (good thermal management, structural integrity etc.), you have something like a super-cell will fail once is a million billion years (10^15 years). For the entire pack to fail because of 18650 independent failures (not counting their age, obviously), you would need to wait in average about 10^81 years, maaaaany billions of times the life of the universe. Now the actual probability P is closer to 1 / 100,000 or even lower, and we were already way beyond NEVER !

Obviously, electronics, thermal management, pack integrity and age, will be the public enemies of the Model S battery, but the small cells themselves are rendered indestructible by Tesla's ingenuity and simple probability calculus.

There is a parallel to the way SpaceX builds rockets but I prefer to provide a link instead of continuing an already too long post.
http://www.traderhood.com/2012/10/09/i-think-we-can-already-detect-a-pat...

IOW 8000 points of failure is far better than single point of failure :-)

Friends, enough of this Fisker bashing. After all, negativity breeds bad karma! Sorry for the bad pun, I couldn’t help myself. Mr. Fisker and his Karma have the unenviable, bad luck to develop and come to market at the same time as a TM and the ‘S,’ and having to compete with sheer brilliance.

The Karma and Fisker’s vision are a step forward, especially when you compare it to other hybrids and luxury sedans. The Karma is a stunning car and appeals to a certain customer that is not ready to take the BEV plunge. There is room for Karmas and “S,” even on the same block. In many ways, nwdiver93, having both cars so close will only enhance the better car. Your neighbors will soon do their comparison and you need not say a word. With so many ordinary cars on the road at least the Karma stands out. Granted the loyal “S” owners and reservation holders are totally smitten by the “S” – and rightfully so.

nwdiver93. If you want to have some fun, ask your neighbors if they want those extra cans of oil, filters, spark plugs, or the empty gas can you have in your garage… it is not like you are going to use them!

@mark K

The only "business" relationship I have is with Tesla Motors where I own their stock and 600k worth of their cars. I am just sick of everyone on here bashing the Fisker when most have not driven i (blind leading the blind). People on here complain about Jalponik's bias against BEV's or what Top Gear did to the Roadster. What you guys are doing is just as bad. Drive the Fisker Karma and then tell me it is a bad car.

+1 SMOP

A valid point, i guess next to no one on this forum have actually driven a Karma

The Karma control center by all (reviewers') accounts is perhaps the worst ever engineered, an "ergonomic disaster" in CR's words.

Smop,

If you don't like your Tesla model s, I recommend you sell it on eBay. You should be able to sell it for at least 20000 more than you paid for it. You can use the proceeds to buy a karma. Win Win.

Smop,

Please see owner video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnYuO0bGSTc

The perfect car would be the Model S in the Karma's skin.

My personal opinion is that the Karma is the most beautiful car on the road. I went to the dealer to consider it and learned that, for me, it is not a practical daily driver. My biggest complaints:

- Almost no trunk space. You cannot put a full suitcase in the trunk.
- It is very slow compared to other luxury sedans including the Model S.
- The battery runs down the middle of the car making it a very cramped space for only 2 people in the back seat. Sitting in that rear seat felt clostrophobic.
- It has 2 motors and needs gas to have reasonable range.

I think as a daily driver the Karma is just not practical. The Model S succeeds in every area that the Karma fails in.

I like the design of the Model S. It's classy and modern. But it is not a head turner. That's why I would prefer to take my Model S (still waiting for delivery) and merge it with the skin of the Karma.

Tranhv68

Thank you for that information; I had never considered your revolutionary idea of selling the car and buying another one! Thanks!

JZ13
The 0-60 of the Karma is 6.3 seconds the 40kwH Model S does it in 6.5 seconds. I do not think that the Karma can be considered "very slow"?

Have you ever owned a BEV? Ever done a long roadtrip in a BEV? Sort of a pita to have to re-arrange your trip to charge etc with no backup plan. I like using my BEVs for areas that I know well and can charge opportunistically. Being forced to wait while charging is a huge waste of time IMO (and nerve racking). I have watched so many movies while on roadtrips waiting for my Roadster to charge. The superchargers alleviate some of these problems but still you have to take a special route sometimes to utilize them. I would rather pay the 30 dollars or so and be able to save my time rather than wait and charge when I have to go somewhere unknown. Spending 100k on a car by definition is not "practical." We buy these cars because we like the technology.

SMOP

Why would you compare the $50k version of the Model S (40kw)to the $120k Karma? To make a fair comparison, wouldn't you compare the $100k Model S (85kw performance) to the Karma? In that case, it's 4.0 seconds vs 6.3 seconds. That is a HUGE difference for me. Maybe you don't like fast acceleration but, for me, that is a deal breaker on a car that costs > $100k.

JZ13,

Fast acceleration is great (I have the P85 Model S) but when you are actually in the car and start to notice basic things missing such as lighted vanity mirrors, or cheap materials; the ill fitting plastic on the center console USB ports, the pep boys style armrest etc. To me I spend more time inside the car in contact with the surfaces of the interior. That is more important than the occasional 0-60 blast. The car is 4600lbs, going 0-60 in 4.4 seconds is fun in a straight line but once you hit the twisties the Model S does not handle very well (worse than the Fisker). I prefer interior appointments over 0-60 times as that is more useful to me everyday. Its a learning process for Tesla and we are early adopters. Tesla had to get rid of some basic interior appointments in order to give you that performance 0-60 time :).


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