Bad Karma: Fisker Gets EPA Approved And It’s Not Pretty

By | October 21, 2011

Fisker Karma Fuel Efficiency

For the past year or so, electric hybrid car maker Fisker has been flaunting the miles per gallon they estimated would come from their incredibly¬†curvaceous and techy Karma. Teasing us with fuel efficiency that flirted with miles in the triple digits per gallon, the Fisker Karma seemed like the first supercar that blended technology and performance into a package that didn’t look like….well, like a Toyota Prius or a Honda Insight, a first for the hybrid electric world.

But it was all lies. Or marketing- they’re interchangeable sometimes (read: Chevy Volt). See, each car being sold in the United States needs to be tested and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, the group responsible for giving you the handy fuel economy numbers you see plastered in the window when you go to buy a car off a lot.

So, what were the official EPA results for the Karma? Initially we were told to expect about 100 miles per gallon from Fisker. Of course common sense kicked in and we realized that nothing is ever as good as it sounds, so we placed our hopes on the 80-85mpg range. Were we right? Well, no. Not even close. The final EPA numbers pegged the Karma at a measly 32-mile range in all-electric drive mode and a combined rating of 52 mpg.

Wait, what?¬†52 miles per gallon? It really is hard to understand how the Karma’s actual fuel efficiency fell to nearly half of the initial predicted numbers. And those numbers are probably assuming you’re not going to bury your foot every time you drive three blocks to the supermarket, which clearly isn’t what you do when you buy a Karma. That’s like giving a million dollars to Heidi Klum to sweep your kitchen.

I realize that some of you may be thinking, “Now Chad, 52mpg is still a pretty good number, especially compared to the combined efficiency of pretty much any other car on the road today.” For those of you who think this way, consider this: a new $24,000 VW Jetta TDI boasts 42mpg on the highway using a diesel engine devoid of any high tech drive systems or gadgetry. Now rewind 33 years into the past and the diesel VW Rabbit was chalked up an amazing 50mpg on similar technology. All that said, we doubt it will have much impact Fisker’s sales volume. Afterall, you’re buying the Karma for the idea and a sexy body. Not to hypermile to work while squeezing every last inch out of every drop of fuel.

Fisker Karma at SEMA 2010

[Chad Waite]


1 Comment

AJ Wilcox on October 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm.

Projected fuel economy for Fisker must have been a very subjective metric. That’s a hot car though. Seeing it in person at SEMA was amazing last year.

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