Monday, September 12, 2016

Recharging A Plug-In Hybrid Luxury Dream: The Karma Revero

Photo Credit: Karma Automotive

At the turn of the decade, the prospect for automobiles moving with literally a revised kind of energy was becoming not only a means to reduce gasoline consumption but a future fashion icon. In the late 2000s, inflated fuel prices eventually hurt everyone in the pocketbook as both the working class as well as the wealthier elite. In fact buyers who could afford high-end luxury vehicles, there was a humanizing reality when poor fuel mileage of their heavyweight premium cruisers combined with potentially lower income as a result of a massive global economic recession of 2008. While markets rebounded, fresh memories has led to creative visions of a new luxury car genre attempting to exploit electrified powertrains for an uncompromising road-going performance.

In 2007, a start-up auto company seeing an entry position in a premium electrified vehicle category conceiving a plug-in hybrid sedan. Co-founded by Bernhard Koehler Henrik Fisker, an automotive designer who gained acclaimed reviews on sculpting the BMW Z8 and Aston Martin DB9, Fisker Automotive quickly unveiled a sexy-looking four-door the company pledged to produce. Despite being a stunningly sophisticated design, the Fisker Karma was propelled by a pair of electric motors combined with a 2.0-liter General Motors Ecotec four-cylinder engine. In addition to the unique power unit, the Karma sedan also incorporated a number of environmentally-conscious features such as the use of recycled glass, rescued wood used for trim materials, water-based paint leather sourced from humane producers and a solar panel roof section.

Despite or perhaps due to the ambitious launch of the Fisker Karma, the car's brief production history was complicated by delays at the start and other scenarios. Lithium-ion battery problems requiring recalls and the loss of hundreds due to Hurricane Sandy, Fisker Automotive filed for bankruptcy in 2013. Purchased by Wanxiang Group (a Chinese company that also bought battery supplier A123 Systems, the remains of the car company was reshaped as Karma Automotive where it has been bracing for a relaunch.

This revival of the plug-in hybrid luxury product under Karma Automotive has finally reached fruition through the reintroduction of Fisker's one and only production car as a repackaged model. Now known as the Karma Revero, the low-profile sedan retains its familiar look. Listed as a base price of $130,000 US, the 2017 Revero is noticeably more expensive than the Fisker Karma the plug-in hybrid luxury sedan has been derived from. Roughly $28,000 more than the starting price of the 2013 Fisker model, the Karma Revero comes with a few minor upgrades.

On the outside, Karma's new badging are revealed as uniquely hand-painted meaning the finer details of each emblem will leave no two vehicles precisely alike. Inside, Karma enlisted the assistance of Rightware Kanzi user interface software for the digital cockpit and infotainment technology inside the Revero. This same software is currently used in Audi vehicles such as the A3, TT sports car and R8 supercar for the MMI and Virtual Cockpit. The Karma Revero's interior emphasizes high-level interior comfort for four adult occupants.

The Karma Revero's powertrain appears largely unchanged from the Fisker with exception to a new 21.4 KWh lithium-ion battery. The electrical propulsion system on the plug-in hybrid luxury sedan has also been enhanced by components supplied by German automaker BMW. One suspected contribution is the electric charging system of the Revero accepting 120-volt and 240-volt electrical charging as well as a DC quick charging system feeding the vehicle with 480 volts. Through quick charging, it takes just 24 minutes to provide enough energy to replenish the battery to an 80 percent level. A unique solar panel charging system on the Revero can also feed a trickle charge to the battery. According to Karma, a full charge through realized solar charging after one week outside.    

Part of the initial ten dealerships for Karma Automotive is two retailers in Canada. Karma Montreal is operated by Holand Automotive while Karma Uptown Toronto is part of Grand Touring Automobiles.

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