Friday, March 2, 2012

Fisker Karma Moves in the Right Direction

ByMichael Chestney

Many bloggers who write about environmental issues have written a Fisker review about Karma. Personal opinion does not quite hold the weight of the EPA. It is widely known that car companies can, and often do, exaggerate their fuel estimates somewhat. Their marketers do the research and put out what people are likely to want to hear. However, the official EPA numbers often temper the marketers' exuberance. When the EPA tested the Karma, the results showed the marketers' hype. However, the Karma still offers encouragement in greening the luxury car manufacturing business.

The Karma had received a great deal of media attention when people heard that the car could go 50 miles on a single electric charge. The claim that the hybrid engine could get almost the same 50 miles per gallon was impressive. The EPA test results showed an average of 32 miles on an electric charge and 20 miles per gallon for the hybrid engine. When combined into an mpg-equivalent, the total was a 52 MPGe rating. While other electric and hybrid cars exceed this rating, it is important to note that this is a significant step up for fuel efficiency in the luxury car domain.

Some people may take comfort in knowing that the EPA has historically deflated expectations. For example, in 2009 when news of the long awaited Chevy Volt started showing up in online car forums, GM suggested their bright electric star might possibly get 230 MPGe. However, after the EPA got through with their tests, they found the Volt achieved an average of 35 miles on a single charge and around 90 MPGe. This is not so different from the Fisker Karma, except that the Fisker is designed to punch out a lot more power and to offer a very comfortable ride.

Fox News took the EPA's findings to denigrate the Fisker's fuel economy. However, when its 52 MPGe is compared to most other cars on the road, the savvy listener will realize that's pretty darn good fuel economy for a luxury vehicle. Fisker CEO, Henrik Fisker, pointed out that the EPA's test is not conclusive. It is simply an average of the driving habits of many. Improved fuel efficiency can be achieved through good driving habits on the average road. In any case, the EPA estimates bring the Karma very close to the 54.5 mpg average that auto makers will aim to reach by 2025. The Karma is one step closer to a new luxury car paradigm.

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