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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had my first real outing in the winter snow with my Karma and it didn't go well -- the car is pretty badly damaged. I thought I would share my experiences for others. :)

I grew up in upstate NY in the snow and am very comfortable with driving even the worst cars in it. I was expecting the Karma to do moderately well for three reasons:
1. It has a tremendous amount of torque.
2. It has a good weight balance.
3. It has traction control.

The cons I expected were:
1. It only two wheel drive.
2. The tires are super slick.

I debated getting snow tires, and I am glad I did not, because they wouldn't have helped. Here is what I learned from experience:

1. While adding snow tires might help, a big problem is the fact that the car has very poor ground clearance. In general the car was a sort of snow plow except that it just scooped and packed up the snow in the front bumper.

2. This lead to a general loss of control, which resulted in me hitting a curb (not very hard mind you).

3. Any sort of incline was virtually impossible to climb. The tires slipped too much. Heavy car + slipper tires = not good on hills (even very modest ones). Snow tires might've helped here.

4. The car not only has low ground clearance, the engine/generator is itself very low and far forward, resulting in it getting damaged very easily. Despite a relatively minor bumper scraping, the radiator seems to be cracked in half and the bottom front components of the motor are hanging off.

Solution:
I must say that I am zealous Fisker freak, and would do anything to drive this are in the snow. Snow tires would help tremendously, but the biggest problem is the low ground clearance. Even if you could get better traction, the front of the car is too vulnerable. Better traction might even hurt you because you're just giving the snow build up more power to rip your bumper off.

My leading thought is a cheap used Audi Quattro as a second far very bad snow days.
 

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I have to disagree.
We had quite a bit of snow here in the Netherlands (for our standards anyway), and my Karma on wintertires has no problems whatsoever. Ok if the snow is very deep I am sure you can get stuck, but driving it on winter tires in the snow is no worse than most cars.

And yes, Holland is very flat, but to get to my house I have to get over a quite steep ****, where they do not clear away the snow, and the car had no problems going up or down.
Difference between winter and summertires is amazing though
 

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I have to agree with Laguna. My Fisker is a daily driver. I live in Chicago and I happen to have the snow package on my car. The car preforms very well in snow up to 4 inches.
Mind you I do drive more carefully when the snow is bad and yes the front end does scoop up some snow now and again. But in all it's not bad. I just had it out in our latest 8" snowfall and I got to and from work w/o any issues.
The stock tires really should not be used below 40 degrees.
I'd recommend 4 wheel snows (on 21" rims). I have the yokohamas and they preform well.
 

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2 types of Fisker snow drivers!

There are two types of Fisker snow drivers. those that have had accidents and those that will. Yet another badly damaged Fisker snow story. Would you drive a Lamborghini in snow? Low ground clearance and high torque are
incompatible with snow driving. If you can afford a Fisker, you can spend 20k on a cheap winter SUV. Of course if you live somewhere where there are more days with snow, than without, then go for it.
 

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There are two types of Fisker snow drivers. those that have had accidents and those that will. Yet another badly damaged Fisker snow story. Would you drive a Lamborghini in snow? Low ground clearance and high torque are
incompatible with snow driving. If you can afford a Fisker, you can spend 20k on a cheap winter SUV. Of course if you live somewhere where there are more days with snow, than without, then go for it.
I have no I out on the performance, not owning a karma, but this post is silly (and once again targeting lamborghinis). I drove my r8 for two winters on the tires that came from the factory (all seasons). That said, the karma is a higher and wider vehicle. I don't see why it couldn't also perform admirably leaving you with no need to purchase an suv just to replace it in the snow.
 

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I have no I out on the performance, not owning a karma, but this post is silly (and once again targeting lamborghinis). I drove my r8 for two winters on the tires that came from the factory (all seasons). That said, the karma is a higher and wider vehicle. I don't see why it couldn't also perform admirably leaving you with no need to purchase an suv just to replace it in the snow.
There's your answer right there. I wouldn't drive the Karma in heavy rain let alone snow with the stock summer tires.
 

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Tires are everything when it comes to driving on snow. Of course, clearance is also important if snow is deep. But, on normal plowed roads it's all tires. I would definitely not drive the Karma on summer tires in the snow. I tried and it slides. Definitely need winter tires. But with the proper tires, I would not hesitate to drive my Karma on snow.
 

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I have driven the Karma through heavy snow and on icy roads in Germany. We had - have - a hard winter with lots of snow. I have winter tires on my Karma. I am really surprised how good the Fiskers makes it through the winter. I sometimes have problems with the heating. Clearing the windows takes some time until whole windshield is free of ice.
Nevertheless congratulations to Fisker. This is a whole year car with the right tires on. And fiskering in winter is a lot of fun.
 

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Yes, the R8 is AWD, but I believe Eric was more attacking "expensive and low cars" than anything else (he seems to have a problem with lamborghinis in particular).

As for tires: yes, they are key. The right tool for the job as it were...
 

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Agree with AnOutsider and others speaking to winter tires. Karma was developed for winter driving specifically with use of the Yokohama W Drive winter tires (which were designed specifically by Yokohama for the Karma). The 22" Goodyear summer tires are NOT intended for operation near freezing conditions, think 40F and below, and like all summer tires the properties of the rubber actually changes to become less rubber-like and more plastic-like, a.k.a much harder. Other than tires the Karma is actually meant to be a year-round car so enjoy the drive, carefully.

Disclosure - I'm an employee of Fisker Automotive.
 

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Thanks FAChassis, very informative. What are the intended temperature tolerances for the winter tires?

Keep up the good work! I'm very happy with my Karma.
 

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[QUOTE=AnOutsider;24129]I have no I out on the performance, not owning a karma, but this post is silly (and once again targeting lamborghinis). I drove my r8 for two winters on the tires that came from the factory (all seasons). That said, the karma is a higher and wider vehicle. I don't see why it couldn't also perform admirably leaving you with no need to purchase an suv just to replace it in the snow.[/QUOTE]

Outsider, I have nothing but respect for Lamborghini. Perhaps I should have used a Ferrari example. It is out of respect for such expensive cars that I would not subject them to the abuse of driving in deep snow, ice, road salt, melted snow mud in your interior, etc).

I guess it all boils down to whether you want to savor your Karma (with long term ownership or possible collector car intentions) and keep it in near mint condition, or drive it as you would the Chevy Suburban in the next lane, through the next winter storm (moving on to another exotic with the next whim). Perhaps off roading your exotic as well.

P.S. your R8 is AWD....apples and oranges.
 

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Yes, the R8 is AWD, but I believe Eric was more attacking "expensive and low cars" than anything else (he seems to have a problem with lamborghinis in particular).

As for tires: yes, they are key. The right tool for the job as it were...
P.S. And for the off-roading, don't use all season tires. Upgrade, (as you should have with in the winter to winter tires) to knobby tires. The ground clearance should be sufficient for dirt, mud, and small rocks, as it is for snow.
 

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The above is fine if you want a garage queen, but some folks do actually buy cars to drive 'em. I think the karma would do just fine, its not super low and in reality, more expensive cars than it are taken out in inclement weather.
 

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There is no way I will ever spend $100K on anything and not use it. I'm not a collector. I like to drive my cars, not just look at them. There's a reason for car washes. But, I'm also not a person that trashes cars or trade them in after 2 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yes, I think the Karma would perform well with snow tires, but the reality is that traction aside the front end got damaged from the snow.

Sadly, the repair shop tells me it'll be at least 2 months, maybe as much as 6 before it repaired. I am very sad. I should've taken pictures. They were repairing another Karma that ran into a curb at about 5 mph and it's much worse than mine. After 2 months they've only just received SOME of the parts.
 
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