Reborn Fisker hopes for better Karma by 2015

Reports indicate Fisker's new Chinese owners aiming for a revival of the range extender electric Karma sports car.

Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
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Antuan Goodwin
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Fisker Karma
The mustachioed Karma could be back on the road as early as 2015. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

After being reborn under a Chinese flag, automaker Fisker hopes for better karma in this lifetime as reports state that the brand's new owner is planning a relaunch of its Karma extended range electric sports car.

According to reports from The Detroit News, Fisker's new Chinese owners, the Wanxiang Corporation, are aiming for a mid-2015 launch window for the Karma range extender electric vehicle after working out some of the bugs that plagued the car's short 2011-2012 production.

You'll recall from our coverage that the Karma sports an electric power-train consisting of a pair of 120 kW electric motors driving the rear wheels with a lithium ion battery pack and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline range extender/generator working together to keep the electrons flowing. The Karma was good for about 35 miles of pure electric driving or 200 to 300 miles with the gasoline range extender helping out. Lacking a direct mechanical connection between the gasoline engine and the driven wheels, it's a configuration that's not dissimilar to the Chevrolet Volt , but a whole lot sexier with a total of 960 pound-feet of torque on tap.

The smaller Fisker Atlantic could join the Karma in the brand's rebirth. Sarah Tew/CNET

You'll also recall that delays, fires, recalls, and lawsuits were the bane of the Karma's short existence and contributed to its early demise. The return of the Karma would put it in direct competition with BMW's i8 plug-in hybrid, which is sort of poetic since founder Henrik Fisker is a former BMW designer.

The reports indicate that Wanxiang may not revive the tweaked Karma under the "Fisker" marquee and could go with a different brand name. If the Karma is successful, the coupe could be followed up by the Surf shooting brake variant in 2016 and possibly the compact Atlantic, which we remember from the 2012 New York auto show, sometime in 2017.