Karma Automotive intends to place its namesake plug-in hybrid luxury sedan back into production before the end of the year. As well as adopting a new name, the company formerly known as Fisker Automotive is working on setting up its own factory in Costa Mesa, California. But what will the cars coming out of that factory be like?
The Karma was last built in 2012, making it a fairly old design by industry standards. And Karma parent Wanxiang has promised some improvements, while still maintaining the basic design and powertrain layout. Now it seems those changes could be minimal, limited to things like new dashboard displays and some additional safety features.
The information on Karma Automotive’s plans comes from a post on Fisker Buzz Forumsby user JCMorrill, who claims to have discussed the updates with company managers. The new Karma will get updated dashboard displays, Morrill says, probably a necessity given the advances in this area over the past four years. It will also get “Driver Assist Braking/Cruise Following,” which sounds like it could refer to automatic braking and adaptive cruise-control systems.
The engine will reportedly be the same General Motors-sourced 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as the previous Karma, and the battery pack will use new cells. However, electric and total range will apparently remain the same.
A 2012 Karma is rated at 33 miles of electric range and 240 miles of total range by the EPA. Back in October, Karma chief marketing officer Jim Taylor said range would increase to 50 miles on electric power, and 350 miles on electricity and gasoline. Some minor cosmetic changes are also expected, including tweaks to to the front and rear fascias, new exterior colors, and a new wheel design. Karma will also clearly work to address some of the quality issues that plagued the original production run.
The company will also have to gain experience in building its own cars for the first time. All previous 2012 Karma sedans were assembled in Finland by contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive. But now Karma has the dual task of recommissioning its sedan, and getting its new California factory up and running.
That could explain why the 2017-model-year production run will reportedly be limited to just 100 or 150 cars. Pricing has not been announced, but some are speculating that the new Karma will start at $135,000.