When it comes to going “all-electric,” it seems there is no such thing as instant Karma.
The company, which emerged from the assets of the old Fisker Automotive, currently markets the sporty Revero plug-in hybrid – what was originally known as the Fisker Karma. It has been promising to add an all-electric model for quite some time and now has teased its first offering. But what it says will be its “first-ever battery-electric luxury sedan” won’t make it into production until sometime next year.
This is the first teaser image the California-based – albeit Chinese-owned – Karma has released. Details are scarce but it says the first model will be part of a “new family of sedans to wear the GS badge.”
Cost reductions, the streamlining of Karma’s supply chain, and new, “standardized production methods,” said Lance Zhou, Karma’s CEO, “allowed for a new, more attainable pricing structure for the GS line-up allowing for higher market penetration, opening up the market to a larger group of entry level luxury buyers.”
What is now called Karma Automotive debuted a decade ago as Fisker Automotive, an ambitious project launched by long-time Danish designer Henrik Fisker, and produced a plug-in hybrid called the Karma. Everything seemed to go wrong for the star-crossed venture that repeatedly struggled to find cash and, at one point, even saw newly produced cars stored at a port near New York City destroyed by flooding during Superstorm Sandy.
The company was forced into Chapter 7 insolvency, its assets snapped by a Chinese auto parts manufacturer, the Wanxiang Group, which also purchased the bankrupt battery producer A123.
Once relaunched in 2014, the operations were renamed Karma Automotive and began producing a slightly updated version the original vehicle, newly redubbed the Revero.
It’s gotten some updates, most notably dropping its old General Motors-sourced “range extender” gas engine for one supplied by BMW. And new variants, such as the Revero GT, have been added.
But Karma has been teasing for several years plans to migrate to all-electric technology – among other things revealing the all-electric Karma SC1 Vision Concept in Shanghai early in 2019, following it up with a second prototype, the SC2, later in the year.
It’s difficult to tell from this modest teaser image exactly how much the production GS Series will have in common with those show cars.
What we do know, according to Karma, is that the all-electric sedan will ride on the “racing-inspired E-Flex platform suitable for both road and track day applications.”
Like so many other EV startups, Karma is shifting gears, so to speak, putting as much emphasis on performance as energy efficiency. The all-wheel-drive platform – which would mean at least two motors, one on each axle – “aims to achieve 1,100 hp,” according to Karma, and an astounding 10,500 pound-feet of torque at the wheels, as well as electronic torque vectoring.
As for range, the company says it will be “up to 400 miles,” the GS offering battery packs “up to 120 kWh of energy capacity.” That’s 16 more kilowatt-hours than in the longest-range, 402-mile Tesla Model S, and 10 kWh more than what will be in the 530-mile Lucid Air.
For those who like the way things sound, Karma is now taking $100 “pre-reservation” orders. The deposit, according to the company, is fully refundable and will ensure a place in line once the new model actually goes on sale.