Fisker shows off a stylish hybrid

At the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, Fisker unveils a new convertible hybrid.

Fisker Karma S
Henrik Fisker shows off the convertible Karma S hybrid. Sarah Tew/CBS Interactive


Fisker, which showed off a concept hybrid sports car last year, came back to the Detroit auto show this year to show off a new concept along with the production version of its Karma model. The production Karma doesn't look much different from the concept we saw--it's a sedan with a curvy, grand tourer-style body. The new concept shown off by Fisker, called the Karma S, is a two-door coupe with a retractable hard top, using the same power train as the Karma.

The Fisker power train is similar to GM's Voltec and Chrysler's ENVI, a series hybrid architecture using electric motors to drive the wheels, a battery pack to store electricity, and a gas engine to generate more electricity, as needed. Fisker puts two 201 horsepower electric motors at each rear wheel, which get power from a lithium ion battery pack with enough capacity to drive the car for 50 miles. When more range is needed, a Ford-sourced turbocharged 2-liter direct injection EcoTec kicks in, turning a generator, giving the car 250 more miles.

Fisker Karma cabin
The production Karma hybrid uses eco materials in the cabin. Fisker

The Fisker cars look stunning, with a design that could have come from Pininfarina, but their performance won't be quite up to supercar standards. Specs for the production Karma say it will go to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds--fast, but not blistering--while the top speed reaches 125 mph when both the electric motors and gas engine are working.

The starting price for the production Karma is $87,900, and Fisker has already taken 1,000 preorders. The company will begin delivering cars this year.

More 2009 Detroit auto show coverage.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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