Archive for March, 2012

The Tale of the 2012 Fisker Karma

It is the best of cars. It is the worst of cars. It is the car of wisdom. It is the car of foolishness. It is the car of belief. It is the car of incredulity. It is the 2012 Fisker Karma.

That Kisker Karma sure is some car, isn’t it? It’s sexier and more inviting than Jessica Biel eating a strawberry sundae while sitting in a bed made of unicorn hides. Sadly, it’s also just as likely to get you from point A to point B as one of those hide-less unicorns are.

The four-door luxury, enviro-friendly sedan is slung low to ride, when operational, on oversized 22-inch rims and tires. It stands out not just for its shape and design, but also for some mighty-nifty features such as the layer of photovoltaic solar cells that cover its roof. This is easily spied by passerby on the down-low vehicle.   

Its inners are all things great. Well, at least in potential. It is powered by a 20- kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and driven by twin 150-kilowatt electric motors that pump out a smooth 200 to 260 horsepower depending upon the mode that the car is in. Unfortunately, thus far, the Karma has not been reliable enough to give its drivers many hours of enjoyment

The $107,000 Karma that Consumers Reports purchased to test died during the publication’s calibration runs before the actual testing even commenced. Just as troubling for the car that dreams green is the fact that its numbers simply suck. When powered by gas, it rates a sad 20 MPG, while when burning the electric juice it is less efficient than the Chevy Volt, another plug-in disappointment.

First CODA Electric Sedans Coming to a Showroom

Against the backdrop of the spectacular collapse of a Fisker Karma on the Consumer Reports testing track and Chevy Volt’s production halt, CODA announced that its first electric sedan had been driven off its assembly line. After many delays, the CODA sedan is now for sale.

The Benicia, CA based company had originally said that its electric vehicles would hit the American market in 2010. Then it said late 2011 would see its cars on the street.

As of the time of this writing, CODA has only one dealer, a store in Los Angeles.

Fisker Karma’s Karma Bad?

The good news is that Fisker made a sale. The bad news is that the buyer of its $107,850 electric Fisker Karma was Consumer Reports. The downright terrible news is that the car broke down in just a few days with fewer than 200 miles on its undoubtedly stylish odometer.

The car broke down during the speedometer calibration runs the publication puts all of its vehicles through before the real testing begins. For reasons that Consumer Reports does not yet know, the transmission’s electronic shifter will only engage two gears: Park and Neutral. The selling Fisker dealer has taken the electric lemon away on the back of flatbed tow truck. Rumor has it that the tow truck successfully made use of a gasoline engine to make the 200 mile round trip.

Consumer Reports says that it purchases and tests around 80 cars every year and that the Fisker is the only one to earn an F before even finishing the check-in process. The publication’s website noted that it has had past problematic experiences with a Karma press car some time back. They’ve also heard of other media having similar problems with Fisker cars.

So if you’re a Greenwich native (highest per capita income in the US) with a $100,000+ CT auto loan you’re looking to spend (or perhaps you’ll just pay cash), you may want to look elsewhere for your super-stylish yet good-for-the-earth supercar.

1,023. That’s it. Chevy sold no more Volts than that in the second month of this year. What’s even more worrying is that the sum is merely 50% of the 2,347 Volts that the American automaker produced that same month.

Considering that General Motors original domestic target for the year was to move 45,000 Volts, both the sales and the production figures of February are disheartening. However, after selling 603 Volts in January, maybe the most current numbers are actually the start of a positive trend. 
 
Another hint of future Volt happiness is that the price of gas seems to be increasing in the U.S. nearly as quickly as an Ayatollah can throw stones at a wayward woman. The narrative coming from industry observers is that MPG efficiency will be at the forefront of car buyers as they step foot in showrooms across the nation, which, of course, will help the sales of plug ins and hybrids.