Similar to Hollywood, the 2012 Karma appears pristine on the outside but is riddled with flaws on the inside. Do the electronic door releases still work? Not really. Can you immediately plug the car in once you get home? No, you have to wait a few minutes, or else it won’t take a charge. Can an adult comfortably fit in the back seats of this “sedan?” Maybe on a short trip to the other block and back, but nothing more. Can you roll down the driver window while driving with the range extender activated? If you adore the aroma of fresh exhaust cascading throughout the cabin, then yes. Let’s get to the root of this vehicle: it’s an eight-year-old range-extended EV with an out-of-warranty 20.1 kWh battery pack.
The 2012 Karma makes 402 hp and 960 ft-lbs of torque which propels the car from zero to sixty in a swift 5.9 seconds. The powertrain consists of dual rear motors that can reach speeds of up to 125 mph. The range-extender is a 2.0L, 260 hp GM Ecotec four-cylinder. The electric-only range is 33 miles, and the total range is around 240 miles. Handling comes out to .87g on the skidpad. Despite these slightly above-average stats, the focal point of this car is its aesthetics. This car is truly one-of-a-kind. Designed by the famed automotive designer Henrik Fisker, the Karma was destined to be a visually attractive icon. However, the high sticker price (>$96,895), Hurricane Sandy flooding 338 new models, and poor quality control caused Fisker’s demise. Today, used Karmas can be purchased second-hand for around $30,000. Would I recommend one? If you are willing to buy an out-of-warranty, range-extended EV from a company that produced only 2,450 vehicles, sure.
Are there any upsides to the Karma? Ignoring the touchscreen, which is as responsive as your local unemployment office, the interior is beautiful and still holds up well in 2020. When sitting inside, I could not find any cheap plastic. Alcantara lined the dash and armrests, and there were unusual material inserts like glass inlays around the interior electric door releases. Another example is the drive selector, which emits bright laser light when choosing between drive or reverse. In 2014, Wiaxang Group purchased Fisker for $150 million and operates today as Karma Automotive. Karma Automotive has solved many of the issues with the Fisker Karma and now sells three trim levels of the sedan with much quicker acceleration and better range.
Photo Courtesy: Fisker Automotive