UPDATE - 16.04.19
“This… marks a significant moment by ushering in a new era for the company. Today, Karma is ready to move forward with bold steps, a chapter we call our New Dawn.” So said Karma CEO Dr. Lance Zho, as he unveiled the company’s ‘Big Three’ at the Shanghai motor show.
The rather grandiose words are, in fact, backed up by Karma’s well-advanced plans to make a sizeable impact on the electrified vehicle market when it launches the first of its trio, the Revero GT, next year. As revealed in our previous update below, that car will use a BMW three-cylinder turbo engine to charge the electric motor which will drive its wheels.
That car, closely related to the Fisker Karma from which the company took its name, has been known about for some time, though. The bigger news from Shanghai is the release of the first details of Karma’s other two upcoming projects, the Pininfarina GT and SC1 Vision Concept.
The Pininfarina GT coupe is based on the Revero GT, though as the name and images suggest, the platform has been heavily restyled by the famed Italian coachbuilder. Described as “the first result of a partnership with Pininfarina,” it features a new body, panels and interior for a rather sleeker finished product. There’s no word on its powertrain as yet, but a set up shared with the Revero seems the most likely option.
Finally we have the SC1 Vision Concept, “a signpost to Karma’s future” which embraces full electrification. The roadster previews both the marque’s future design language, as well as more tangible ideas like its upcoming customisation options. and shows the brand’s future direction based on full BEV offerings at the company’s core. Described as integrating the best of tomorrow’s cutting-edge technologies, the concept is based around a futuristic new infotainment system which features 5G connectivity and ‘humanised communication’ integrating “touch, voice, eye, and graphical interfaces to enable seamless interaction with the roadster".
There’s certainly a lot in the pipeline for Karma, then, with not long to wait until the company begins to attempt to turn its vision into a reality. If these three are anything to go by, though, there’s sure to be plenty of interest in how it gets on.
PREVIOUS STORY - 08.04.2019
We’ve seen Karma’s updated Revero testing in Europe on several occasions but, so far, our snappers have not yet been able to decipher what engine is held within its saloon body. Now, however, the Californian car maker has confirmed that it will equip its upcoming Model S rival with a three-cylinder engine supplied by BMW – not to drive the wheels, but to charge up its electric powertrain.
This will switch the Revero from hybrid to petrol-assisted EV, with two lithium-ion battery-fed electric motors providing the propulsion at the rear to enable a claimed 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds. That leaves the model far behind its competition, including the upcoming Porsche Taycan, but makes it comfortably quicker than the 2.0-litre hybrid saloon that it succeeds.
While the company makes no mention of the Revero’s solar roof, the revamped electric powertrain is expected to receive power from cells located on the lid, as before. But while there have been significant advances in technology since the first solar roof was fitted to a Karma-badged model, don’t expect to notice much of an increase on the new car’s energy bar unless you leave it parked in Californian sunshine for a week or two…
There’s no sign when the new Karma will come to Europe, but recent sightings of test cars (see story below) seem to back a promise from the firm that it’ll arrive here in the next decade. The UK is on the long-term agenda, although challenges involved with converting the car to right-hand drive may mean the delay is a matter of years, rather than months.
ORIGINAL STORY - 22.01.2019
Did you know that over half of all Panamera sales in Europe are for the hybrid? No doubt Karma does, which is why it's pushing ahead with the development of the Revero - a direct rival to the hot selling Porsche - to launch into the European market later this year. Having been on sale in the US since 2016, the electrified four-door, essentially a heavily re-engineered version of the Fisker Karma, is set to receive more power and better range, as well as a more advanced solar roof.
In current trim, Revero's model uses a BMW-sourced turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and twin electric motor powertrain to produce a combined 403hp. But with the 462hp 4 E-Hybrid to go up against, a decent bump in performance for this updated version is likely. Don't expect it to hunt down the 600hp Polestar 1, however, with Karma less focused on out-and-out pace and more concerned with efficiency and comfort.
Proof of this comes in the fact that the Revero already holds a segment advantage with its all-electric range, which is currently rated at 50 miles - twice that of the Porsche. While the main contribution to that range will always come from a plug, a new and improved solar panel roof should mean the sun's energy makes a more significant contribution to the process.
Admittedly, even with this tech list the car doesn't quite arrive with the attention the original Fisker-developed model did some 11 years ago, when the market was comparably infant. But the European launch of Karma's improved hybrid could finally provide the model with enough clout to take on the big players. The market for plug-ins - demand for which is well and truly burgeoning - is still limited to a small number of electrified saloons, after all.
So while the brilliant Panamera 4 E-Hybrid has set the bar extremely high, those who desire the effortless grunt of a hybrid performance car in an uncommon package might find this Californian alternative a rather desirable option. That is, of course, if Karma can offer a competitive price this side of The Pond.