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USA: Interview: Henrik Fisker on Fisker

America’s newest car company, Fisker Automotive, is officially in business. Its long-awaited Karma plug-in hybrid sports sedan now being delivered to customers nationwide. But its birth came with some controversy.

Prior to EPA approval, Fisker said the car would be able to travel up to 50 miles per charge, before a small gasoline generator kicked in to power it over longer distances, and deliver the equivalent of 100 mpg. In October, the federal agency gave the Karma a rating of just 32 miles per charge and a combined fuel economy equivalent to 52 mpg. It also determined that the sedan gets just 20 mpg when operating in extended range mode.

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2012 Fisker Karma

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The results were fodder for critics of the startup company, which has received $529 million in federal loans to help build the Karma and develop a smaller, high volume model known as the Nina, which is expected to sell for less than $50,000. asked company founder Henrik Fisker what the numbers mean to him and how they have impacted his plans for the future of the brand.

Are you disappointed with the Karma’s EPA ratings?

We designed a car that is for daily commutes and that you charge every day. The less you use the gasoline engine the better mpg. Essentially, the Karma can achieve dramatic savings and low CO2 output when used as intended, as a daily commuter.

On longer trips (over 100km/60miles) which for most driver are occasional, the fuel economy gets closer to a “normal” hybrid, although still remains among best in its class. This will give most consumers a “real world” fuel economy that, by far, exceeds any competitor. Bottom line, we have a new technology that all international certification agencies need to get familiar with, that’s why the US and EU got very different numbers – 52 mpg versus 112 mpg equivalency, and range 32 miles versus 51.7 miles.


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