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Old 01-15-2012, 05:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My First Road Trip in the Karma

This morning my girlfriend and I wanted to drive out to Boerne which is about a 250 mile round trip from Austin. We started with the Aston Martin, but there was a minor issue with the car so we turned around and swapped it out for the Karma knowing there was a good chance we'd be coming home in a tow truck.

Anyway, it was an interesting experience as I had already put over 700 miles on the car, but most of that was just driving around town. This was the first actually country drive in the car, and here are some things to note:

1. When the battery got down to 30 miles I put it into Sport mode to save battery for when we needed it. Surprisingly, the battery continued to drain until it got to 26 miles and at that point the generator kept it constant at 26. As we'd go thru towns and I'd put it into Stealth mode the battery would drain further. Each time I'd put it back into Sport mode the generator would only keep the current range - it never added any additional range to the battery at all.

2. The Karma was nice and smooth, and my girlfriend said she enjoyed the smooth quiet ride. But I was bored out of my mind as a driver. The Karma is a nice car to drive around town, but for long road trips it's incredibly dull to drive. I couldn't wait to get out of it when I got home.

3. That trip to Boerne took longer than any trip I've ever done because the Karma has no power once you're over 60mph, so passing is impossible unless you've got a 1/2 mile stretch to do it in. We were stuck behind slow cars the whole way, and if I were in my SUV I could have passed no problem, but the Karma only has good power up to 40mph and then it drops off like a stone - even in Sport mode which is what I was in most of the time.

4. The Nav system crashed again and I took another photo of the Linux crash dialog and emailed it to Fisker. That made getting home a little challenging as I wasn't sure where I was or which roads to take, but we figured it out.

5. A new bug appeared. On the way home the seat heaters stopped working. The button on the Command Center simply would not detect our touches. Neither mine nor my girlfriends.

6. That rattling from the back seat was just awful to hear for 250 miles. I can still hear it in my head now as I type this. That must get fixed!

So, my conclusion after that drive was that my first road trip in the Karma was probably my last. I'd rather take the Aston or the SUV next time, but I do like it as a city car where I don't have to worry about passing other vehicles, and where the crashing command center won't be as big of a deal.

-Brian
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default My First Road Trip in the Karma

i dont remember it felt slow in 60 mph, could this only be your car brian? have you other here with karmas felt this?
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default RE: My First Road Trip in the Karma

That's an interesting note. On the freeway from the dealer, the Karma definitely didn't feel like it was as fast as my 2003 540, but I think it was only supplying 260hp of the 403hp potential - so really it wasn't in Sport, but rather "limp home" mode. Even in that mode, the car felt adequate. Today, I managed to charge it to 19 miles of battery-only range and getting on the freeway was very smooth and fast. I did notice that when I popped it into Sport mode, it took 1 maybe 2 miles off of the Stealth range and basically kept it there. I think the Karma diagnostics screen should tell us how much of the power we're using - e.g. the 240hp battery power only in Stealth, the 403hp in Sport, or the 260hp in 'limp home' mode. This would help us calibrate our expectations with respect to the car's performance.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default RE: My First Road Trip in the Karma

Guys, I don't have the car... yet. But in my drives in the dealer demo, I nailed it on the freeway and was very impressed with its acceleration. So above 60 mph it seemed to have plenty of kick. That being said, I have to defer to the people that actually have the car. Brian, I wonder if maybe you could trade your car with a dealer car for a week or so and see if you experience. I think most of would agree that you seem to have a possessed car. then again, I don't expect it to perform at high speed like an Aston Martin.
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Old 01-16-2012, 01:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default RE: My First Road Trip in the Karma

for me the karma must have som power when over 60 for overtaking. I am not expecting it to be superfast but atleast as my Golf GTI when overtaking. Dont want to sit and wait to overtake.

how does it feel when on the freeway in sportsmode in 60-90mph?[hr]
for me the karma must have som power when over 60 for overtaking. I am not expecting it to be superfast but atleast as my Golf GTI when overtaking. Dont want to sit and wait to overtake.

how does it feel when on the freeway in sportsmode in 60-90mph?
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default RE: My First Road Trip in the Karma

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael
for me the karma must have som power when over 60 for overtaking. I am not expecting it to be superfast but atleast as my Golf GTI when overtaking. Dont want to sit and wait to overtake.

how does it feel when on the freeway in sportsmode in 60-90mph?[hr]
for me the karma must have som power when over 60 for overtaking. I am not expecting it to be superfast but atleast as my Golf GTI when overtaking. Dont want to sit and wait to overtake.

how does it feel when on the freeway in sportsmode in 60-90mph?
You really should test drive one to experience it for yourself. I thought it had plenty of power.
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default RE: My First Road Trip in the Karma

I also recall it had plenty of power when I tested it 3 months ago so got a bit worried about brians post. I have 100miles to the nearest Karma dealer so anyone confirming it not as slow as brian writes would do it for me:-)

The only thing that annoyed med was the engine that makes strange noises, like the fans where coming on but that should be fixed now
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default RE: My First Road Trip in the Karma

It feels the same to me as it did when I drove the roadshow cars. All of the torque and acceleration is felt from 0-40 where your head is pushed back into the head rest. Once you hit 40 you pretty much stop feeling any acceleration, and the faster you go the harder it is to even faster. At 65mph you can bury your foot into the pedal and it's not anything impressive. You can pass cars, but you'll need a lot of room to do it. My V8 powered SUV is quicker for passing, and the Aston of course is much, much, much better at it than the SUV or the Karma by a long shot.

Also, I feel I should clarify my original #2 point about it being dull to drive on a road trip. I think that's true, but it's actually a result of the ride being too good. The problem is that in the Karma you get virtually no road feedback. The ride is extremely smooth and you don't feel anything thru the steering wheel, the seat, or the accelerator pedal. That's all great for city driving, but when you're out on country roads with hills and curves you really want to feel something or else the driving experience becomes incredibly dull and emotionless. The Karma is definitely not a "driver's car" as they say.

-Brian
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:13 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default RE: My First Road Trip in the Karma

Brian, not sure if its (1) your car is a lemon and you should borrow the dealer's demo for a week or so and compare, or (2) maybe your expectations given the Aston's performance and specs are too high for what the Karma is. If its the latter, the way I've always thought of the Karma, is a sporty electric vehicle that has good BMW 5-series/Mercedes E-class performance numbers wrapped in drop dead gorgeous packaging. It's easy to expect more from the Karma because of its looks - it makes you want it to feel as fast or faster than the Aston, Maserati or R8, its peers in the 'looks' department. But that's simply not the intention (at least for now). Maybe Fisker in its next refresh in 2015 will release a Karma S or Karma+ model that has more performance (akin to the Model S Performance trim) which will bridge more of the gap between it and the Aston ilk.
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default RE: My First Road Trip in the Karma

Today I drove the Karma on the highway, in Sport Mode with an empty battery, and I had no problems speeding up at all. It is still pretty fast, even though the petrol engine is on its own (and has just 260 HP available to work with). For those who want more overtaking speed on long trips where Sport Mode is necessary, simply don't wait until the battery is empty, but turn on Sport Mode when the battery is still 1/2 or 3/4 full. The battery will not discharge any futher and if you then want to overtake, you have 402 HP available.
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