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Old 05-17-2017, 06:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Karma Revero hybrid super car rises from Fisker ashes

This is the most comprehensive and information rich article about the Revero I've read to date. From today's LA Times. Click the link for the article with photos: http://www.latimes.com/business/auto...htmlstory.html

Karma Revero hybrid super car rises from Fisker ashes
By Charles Fleming

May 16, 2017 12:00 PM

Rising from the ashes of designer Henrik Fisker’s failed car company, the first units of the 2018 Karma Revero hybrid electric luxury super cars have rolled off the Moreno Valley factory floor and onto Southern California roadways.

Ten went to dealer showrooms around the U.S. and Canada, where company officers hope they will inspire buyers.

Another 10 went to Laguna Beach, where on Monday they made their test-drive debuts before an avidly curious motoring press.

The Karma Revero is the new company’s first vehicle. Built largely from the platform Fisker envisioned before his company crashed and burned after producing a 2012 model year Fisker Karma, the new car is sleek, speedy and almost silent.

Propelled by a twin-motor powertrain, the hybrid machine gets a promised 50 miles of all-electric range and a total of 300 miles of combined gas and electric range.

And it gets there in real elegance, each car a bespoke-seeming, handmade, custom creation.

The paint, presented in names like Pacific Fog, Balboa Blue and Borrego Black, is deep and rich. The leather interior, in red Palisades Sport, chocolate Canyon or tan Crystal Cove, is supple and luxurious. The massive brake calipers can be had in bright red, orange, blue or yellow, against Dune Twist or Diamond Facet wheels. The Karma Revero hood and trunk badges are, literally, hand-painted.

What comes around, goes around ...

Karma’s designers based the new car on Fisker’s beloved but beleaguered Fisker Karma.

They did that with Chinese money. All assets of the Fisker company were purchased in 2014 by Wanxiang Group, a Chinese auto parts giant that also owns 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 opportunity to study mistakes and correct them.

Looming large among the changes: silence. The Revero’s twin motors, in all-electric Stealth mode, propel the car in almost complete silence, 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 hood. When both battery and gas motor generator are working together, in Sport mode, the car makes only slightly more noise.

Handling is swift and sure, thanks in part to a self-leveling rear suspension set-up modeled on the system found in McLaren supercars. A slight inside camber to the front wheels tightens the steering, and helps the Revero hold the road.

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 — though not with an amateur at the wheel.

The power, in all three modes, comes on gently but firmly.

Supercar buffs will be disappointed to know the Revero’s zero to 60 mph rate, though a second faster than the previous Karma, is 5.4 seconds. (Top speed is electronically limited to 125 mph.)

And anyone looking for a bargain may be sad to see the price of the new car is $130,000, up considerably 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 trying 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 breaking land speed records. The Karma will be luxurious and highly unique additions to existing super car stables, they say.

The Revero has many attributes, some not readily apparent to the eye.
  • Though the frame is all aluminum, the total weight of the car, fueled, is 5,400 pounds.
  • The plug-in hybrid system will recharge to 80% full in 24 minutes at a DC Fast Charging station, or 3 hours at a Level II station, or 10 hours on a home 120 volt system.
  • The Revero accelerates from zero to 60 in 5.4 seconds in Sport mode, 7.2 seconds in Sustain mode and 6.9 seconds in all-electric Stealth mode.
  • The gas-powered generator makes 235 horsepower; the twin electric motors make 403 horsepower.
  • 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 electric regenerative braking system, which can be tuned to three settings.
Sales and marketing challenges

What is the Revero trying to be, then? The company prospectus declares, among other things, “This is not Tesla,” and identifies Karma as “an ultra-luxury brand.”

But the automotive world may be dubious. Car collector and guru Jay Leno, who Karma executives said saw the Revero at a recent 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 male and 55 to 60 years old, said Karma’s chief revenue and marketing officer, James Taylor. That customer already owns several other vehicles and is likely to meet his 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 remember the Karma legacy, and perhaps will have forgotten the company’s ignominious end.

Others will be struck by the pure beauty of the design.

“Of course it’s all subjective, but no one is going to say this is an ugly car,” Taylor said.

At car shows and concourse events where the Revero prototypes have been shown, Taylor said, almost everyone asks the same questions:

1. It’s so beautiful, but what is it? (Sometimes a car buff will say, “I have one of those,” Taylor said. He usually responds by saying, “No, you don’t. They don’t exist.”)

2. Is that a solar roof? Do other cars have them? (The solar panels built into the top of the car, unique to the Revero, are capable of recharging the battery at the rate of about 1 mile of range per day. So it’s more a unique talking point than a huge energy saver.)

3. And it’s electric? (No, Taylor tells them. It’s a hybrid. You can drive on gas, or drive on electric, and plug in the car to recharge, just like a Chevy Volt, say, or a Porsche Panamera hybrid.)

At some events, Taylor said, prospective customers have been eager to become owners — on the spot. One woman had her checkbook out, he said, and was ready to put down $280,000 for two. She was frustrated when Taylor told her the cars were not ready for delivery yet.

But the Fisker background may give the Revero an edge in a competitive luxury car 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 compete with is 100 years old,” de Vries said. “So how do you compete with that? Unlike Faraday, or Lucent, or Nio, we actually have a customer base.”

Reveros currently are coming off the Karma production line at a rate of one a day. About 30 pre-orders are being filled, starting sometime in the next two weeks, Taylor said.

Though 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 5,000 cars a year without requiring any new construction — Taylor and other Karma executives stressed they are more concerned with quality than quantity, for now.

“We truly are still a start-up,” Taylor said. “Our cars are now great, and they’re now available. But we have to do this the right way.”

The 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 trying to detect any trends. Some of these will be fixable through software updates made over the air, without requiring cars to return to dealerships for service.

That will mean more investment from the company’s Chinese owner, Wanxiang Group. So far, Karma executives said, the firm has been patient with outgoing cash flow.

“A lot of people think the investment ends with the launch of the vehicle,” said Karma President and Chief Operations Officer Dennis Dougherty. “In fact, that’s when it can get really expensive. So far, the only thing we’ve been told is, ‘Don’t embarrass me.’ ”
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Old 05-18-2017, 12:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Very interesting and a glimpse of the success so far, at least in their ability to market and pre-sell. A couple of extracts are very telling :

"A certain number of early Revero buyers will be current Fisker Karma owners, Taylor said."
and
"About 30 pre-orders are being filled, starting sometime in the next two weeks, Taylor said."

Do pre-orders include those that the dealers have allocated for their showrooms or actual new buyers? I wonder how these initial numbers compare to those from the launch of the original Fisker Karma?

I wish them all the best in the hope that they'll start to pay more attention to our (current owners) needs, but maybe they don't need our money yet. I might have been a perspective Revero buyer but they lost me when they decided not to continue supporting our cars beyond spare parts. I still can't get my head around the business decision to upset your most obvious target market. Because of this I don't feel that I'd be supported after the car had shipped and the honeymoon was over. I hope I'm wrong. We'll see if things change now that they actually have cars to sell. If they can't find enough 'new' buyers, maybe they'll have to come back to us and try to win back our trust.
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The Orange County Business Journal stated they had 80 presales...shenanigans already.
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't think any car manufacturer would do research to support a car launched in 2011. At some point they have to move on. Spending money on research and engineering so they can do free upgrades on customers cars does not make business sense. Also remember, a lot of the current Karma owners have bought their cars second hand after knowing the car had no warranty. I certainly do not think Karma has mistreated me one bit. I think they have gone over and above what I could have expected.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Is there a difference between orders and pre-sales? I'm wondering.
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigurd View Post
I don't think any car manufacturer would do research to support a car launched in 2011. At some point they have to move on. Spending money on research and engineering so they can do free upgrades on customers cars does not make business sense. Also remember, a lot of the current Karma owners have bought their cars second hand after knowing the car had no warranty. I certainly do not think Karma has mistreated me one bit. I think they have gone over and above what I could have expected.
I feel the same way.
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Old 05-18-2017, 01:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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@Sigurd - I also don't feel mistreated in any way. In fact, I'm very grateful they're here and able to provide us with spare parts. I just think they could have handled PR a little better
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Old 05-18-2017, 01:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigurd View Post
I don't think any car manufacturer would do research to support a car launched in 2011. At some point they have to move on. Spending money on research and engineering so they can do free upgrades on customers cars does not make business sense. Also remember, a lot of the current Karma owners have bought their cars second hand after knowing the car had no warranty. I certainly do not think Karma has mistreated me one bit. I think they have gone over and above what I could have expected.
I wish they would move on but sadly this is not the case. See federal case 8:2016cv00530
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Old 05-18-2017, 02:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigurd View Post
I don't think any car manufacturer would do research to support a car launched in 2011. At some point they have to move on. Spending money on research and engineering so they can do free upgrades on customers cars does not make business sense. Also remember, a lot of the current Karma owners have bought their cars second hand after knowing the car had no warranty. I certainly do not think Karma has mistreated me one bit. I think they have gone over and above what I could have expected.
I somewhat disagree. Audi still provides support and software updates for my 2008 R8. Granted Karma Automotive took over after bankruptcy so I will give them a little slack. But after attending meet and greets, focus groups etc... updating the infotainment system was always a hot topic. They ignored this completely and gave us a flakey system update instead. Then after going for an "extended warranty" pre-purchase check I was told my battery was failing and I needed to spend $4000 to repair it and another $4000 to purchase the warranty. I had my battery checked by two independent entities who are highly regarded on this forum and I was told my battery was one of the strongest they have seen. My car is still running very well. I'm not a huge fan of Karma Automotive.
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Old 05-18-2017, 02:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I was intrigued by the term "silent". Did they remove the speakers and the distinctive "hum" sound?
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