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2011 Karma

As exciting as the body is, so is the background of the whole car. The Fisker Coachbuild LLC company owned by Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Köhler went bankrupt with this car. But one did not blame the two founders so much, but rather the circumstances, the order was irrelevant.

First, the battery supplier went bankrupt and then a number of Karma fell victim to Hurricane Sandy shortly before they were transported away from the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal. More precisely, 16 Karmas caught fire due to salt water entering the battery of a car and 330 were flooded. Production ended then at the end of 2012.

The Karma was actually based on the Chevrolet Volt, which the English Wikipedia still mentions when comparing in terms of efficiency. The Karma is said to be 'only half as efficient as the Chevrolet Volt'. And the was already not the best. Although this had made significant borrowings from the hybrid drive from Toyota.

The battery layout is exactly the same as with the Chevrolet Volt.

However, in order not to be accused of illegal takeover, the company described its own hybrid as serial in contrast to that of Toyota. And everyone believed it. We pointed out this misnomer in detail back then, but not with the Chevrolet Volt, but with the sister model Opel Ampera.

As you go through the different modes on the Ampera, one that stands out is that it allows the engine to be connected to the wheels. So, also as later, not a purely serial hybrid, but dependent on the mode. And what does that have to do with the Fisker Karma? Very simple, at least any mechanical connection to the front axle had been omitted.

Probably the only true serial hybrid, however . . .

This is exactly what leads to the poor efficiency. In exceptional cases, it may make sense to generate electricity with fuel and then use it to drive, but by no means always. And why does no one notice? Because the Karma has a larger battery on board than the Volt and its capacity is not counted over the first 100 km.

The poor efficiency starts at the moment when the combustion engine has to recharge. Otherwise, Fisker had nothing but trouble because Elon Musk proceeded against him. As a former employee of Tesla, he is said to have used the drive technology of the Model S in the development of the Karma.

Musk also accused him of having withhold the best design ideas from the Model S but then to have applied them to te Karma. Allegedly, however, these lawsuits have not withstood judicial scrutiny. Missing is a grandiose failure of a Karma when tested by Consumer Reports Magazine in 2012: total battery failure, along with a massive recall.

With the technology of the Chevrolet Volt at the front and possibly with that of the Tesla Model S at the back? This makes it additionally heavy, very heavy.

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