2018 Karma Revero is an ‘ultra-luxury’ hybrid
The Karma Revero is a luxury hybrid electrified super car with a $130,000 price tag.
The Karma Revero is a luxury hybrid electrical super car with a $130,000 price tag.
Rising from the ashes of designer Henrik Fisker`s failed car company, the very first units of the two thousand eighteen Karma Revero hybrid electrical luxury super cars spinned off the Moreno Valley factory floor and onto Southern California roadways this week.
Ten went to dealer showrooms around the U.S. and Canada, where company officers hope they will inspire buyers.
Another ten went to Laguna Beach, where on Monday they made their test-drive debuts before an avidly nosey motoring press.
The Karma Revero is the fresh company`s very first vehicle. Built largely from the platform Fisker envisioned before his company crashed and burned after producing a two thousand twelve model year Fisker Karma, the fresh car is sleek, speedy and almost silent.
Sitting low, its wheels crouched underneath sinuous, strong shoulder and hip lines, the Revero`s silhouette may call to mind an Aston Martin Rapide, Jaguar F-Type, or Ferrari California T.
The sleek, low slung Revero features design language from the pen of Henrik Fisker, whose company of that name built the original Karma. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Propelled by a twin-motor hybrid powertrain, the hybrid machine gets a promised fifty miles of all-electric range and a total of three hundred miles of combined gas and electrical range.
And it gets there in real elegance, each car a bespoke-seeming, handmade, custom-built creation.
The paint, introduced in names like Pacific Fog, Balboa Blue and Borrego Black, is deep and rich. The leather interior, in crimson Palisades Sport, chocolate Canyon or suntan Crystal Cove, is supple and luxurious. The massive brake calipers can be had in bright crimson, orange, blue or yellow, against Dune Twist or Diamond Facet wheels. The gleaming rubber hood and trunk badges are, literally, hand-painted.
What comes around, goes around .
Karma`s designers based the fresh car on Fisker`s beloved but beleaguered Fisker Karma, using the same bod design but overlaid on an improved powertrain and suspension system, and around a more luxurious interior.
They did that with Chinese money. All assets of the Fisker company were purchased in two thousand fourteen by Wanxiang Group, a Chinese auto parts giant that also wields A123, the battery company that produced power packs for the Fisker cars.
The purchase included enough spare parts to finish a few Karma Fisker vehicles, plus the Fisker design for what became the Revero.
About 1,200 of the original Karma cars are still known to exist, with an equal number of owners still operating the cars. That gave the Revero engineers an chance to examine mistakes and correct them.
Looming large among the switches: muffle. The Revero`s twin motors, in all-electric Stealth mode, propel the car in almost finish muffle, but for a softly audible jet-engine whine.
When the gas motor kicks in to power the generator, in Sustain mode, a light rumble emerges from under the spandex hood. When both battery and gas motor generator are working together, in Sport mode, the car makes only slightly more noise.
Treating is swift and sure, thanks in part to a self-leveling rear suspension set-up modeled on the system found in McLaren super cars.
Swinging through canyon turns east of Laguna, the car felt magnificently nimble, capable of exceeding the speed limit on even the most technical roads by a factor of two or three – however not with an fledgling at the wheel.
It’s just a Volt in a tuxedo, isn’t it?
— Car collector and garage guru Jay Leno
The power, in all three modes, comes on gently but rigidly.
Super car buffs will be disappointed to know the Revero`s zero to sixty mph rate, however a 2nd quicker than the previous Karma, is Five.Four seconds. (Top speed is electronically limited to one hundred twenty five mph.) That compares to a reported Two.Four seconds for Teslas tooled with the P100D motors, or Three.7 seconds for a Porsche nine hundred eleven Carrera S.
And anyone looking for a bargain may be sad to see the price of the fresh car is $130,000, up from the $103,000 base price for the Fisker Karma.
But what the car lacks in acceleration it gains in elegance.
«This is a GT,» said Joost de Vries, Karma`s vice president of sales and service. «It`s not a McLaren. It`s not attempting to be. It`s a touring car.»
Karma executives suggested that the customer likely to buy a Revero may already have a McLaren, in fact – or a Ferrari, or a Porsche – capable of cracking land speed records. The Karma will be luxurious and very unique additions to existing super car stables, they say.
The Karma Revero, pretty from any angle, used the same assets design as the famed but failed Fisker Karma. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
The Revero has many attributes, some not readily apparent to the eye.
- However the framework is all aluminum, the total weight of the car, fueled, is Five,400 pounds.
- The plug-in hybrid system will recharge to 80% total in twenty four minutes at a DC Prompt Charging station, or three hours at a Level II station, or ten hours on a home one hundred twenty volt system.
- The rear-wheel drive energy comes from a mid-mounted lithium ion battery, part of which is actually visible through the car`s center console.
- Stopping power, through the six-piston Brembo calipers in the front and four-piston calipers in the rear, is assisted by an electrified regenerative braking system, which can be tuned to three settings.
A collection of Karma Reveros, prepped for driving, sit in Laguna Beach. (Charles Fleming / Los Angeles Times)
Sales and marketing challenges
What is the Revero attempting to be, then? Publicity materials announce that Karma is «not Tesla,» and identifies the company as «an ultra-luxury brand.»
«We have no interest in moving down into lower priced, higher-volume segments,» the materials say. «We will always be an ultra-luxury brand.»
The automotive world may be dubious. Car collector and guru Jay Leno, who spotted the Revero, Karma executives say, at a latest Beverly Hills event, dismissed it last week while being interviewed at his Burbank garage.
«It`s just a Volt in a tuxedo, isn`t it?» Leno joked.
At the $130,000 price point, the likely customer is masculine and fifty five to sixty years old, said Karma`s chief revenue and marketing officer, James Taylor. That customer already wields several other vehicles and is likely to meet his very first Karma at a dealership where the Revero shares showroom space with a Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Maserati or Aston Martin.
A certain number of early Revero buyers will be current Fisker Karma owners, Taylor said.
Some will recall the Karma legacy, and perhaps will have forgotten the company`s ignominious end.
The Karma Revero is tooled with a solar roof that collects electro-stimulation, but it also can be juiced up using a traditional charging system. (Charles Fleming / Los Angeles Times)
Despite the troubled past, the Fisker legacy may give the Revero an edge in a competitive luxury market. The car will be compared not only to luxury vehicles from historic English and European brands, but as a California-made hybrid, it will be spoken of in the same breath as Tesla and other forward-looking car companies.
«Everyone we rival with is one hundred years old,» de Vries said. «So how do you rival with that? Unlike Faraday, or Lucent, or Nio, we actually have a customer base.»
The Revero designers have outfitted their luxury car with rich, supple leather for a comfy GT driving practice. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Reveros are presently coming off the Karma production line at a rate of one a day. About thirty pre-orders are being packed, commencing sometime in the next two weeks, Taylor said.
Tho’ the modern Moreno Valley factory and its 175-person workforce are capable of churning out many times more than that – up to as many as Five,000 cars a year without requiring any fresh construction – Taylor and other Karma executives stressed they are more worried with quality than quantity, for now.
«We truly are still a start-up,» Taylor said. «Our cars are now superb, and they`re now available. But we have to do this the right way.»
To ensure quality control, the very first vehicles will be electronically monitored by a 24-hour-a-day «war room,» executives said, where engineers will be looking for any fail codes and attempting to detect any trends. Some of these will be fixable through software updates made over the air, without requiring cars to come back to dealerships for service.
That will mean more investment from Wanxiang Group. So far, Karma executives said, the Chinese rock hard has been patient with outgoing cash flow.
«A lot of people think the investment finishes with the launch of the vehicle,» said Karma President and Chief Operations Officer Dennis Dougherty. «In fact, that`s when it can get indeed expensive. So far, the only thing we`ve been told is, ‘Don`t embarrass me.` »
Times` take: Fisker`s elegant sports car is back
Highs: Ultra luxury for hybrid fans
Lows: Not quick enough for spectacle geeks
Vehicle type: Four-door, four-passenger sedan
Powertrain: Twin electrical motors paired with a gasoline generator
Transmission: Rear-wheel drive, single gear
EPA fuel economy rating: fifty one miles per gallon equivalent in hybrid modes, combined highway/city; nineteen miles per gallon, gasoline mode only, combined highway/city
Support our journalism
Already a subscriber? Thank you for your support. If you are not, please consider subscribing today. Get total access to our signature journalism for just ninety nine cents for the very first four weeks.
May Legal, Trio:05 p.m.: This article was updated with extra details, including zero-to-60 mph times for certain Teslas and Porsches.
This article was originally published at noon May 16.