Fisker Buzz Forums banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

· Premium Member
1,975 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This article came out on WSJ Blog today:

Fisker Karma: How Green is it?

Fisker Automotive can now sell its plug-in luxury hybrid car Karma in California, having just received certification from the state regulators, the company told VentureWire.

But while Fisker has been promoting Karma’s green credentials, the California Air Resources Board qualified the car as a fairly standard smog-creator.

Irvine, Calif.-based Fisker, which is one of the most heavily funded venture-backed start-ups, delayed the rollout of the first model of its vehicle compared with its own projections because of the protracted approval process from the Environmental Protection Agency and the California regulator. It finalized the EPA approval in October and received the California clearance on Nov. 7.

The long-awaited California certification qualifies the car as a low emissions vehicle (“LEV II”). “It’s a middle-of-the-road emissions category,” said John Swanton, an air pollutions specialist at the California agency, adding that cars such as the Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, and BMW 528i qualified for a lower emissions standard, called ultra-low emissions vehicle. Tesla Motors’ Roadster is a Zero Emissions Vehicle, because it uses only an electric drive.

Fisker’s tailpipe emissions are not great,” Swanton said. “I’m not trying to pick on them. But they are not spectacular.”

The Karma, which is listed at $95,900 not including a $7,500 tax credit, can run on a battery for several dozens of miles and can then switch to a gasoline engine. The gasoline engine must meet a high standard, whether or not there is a battery in place, Swanton said. The California agency takes into account not only the tailpipe emissions, but also emissions that evaporate from the car even when it’s idle or moving on an electric charge, he added. The car will have to maintain the emissions level for which it qualified for 120,000 miles, according to the agency.

The level of emissions Fisker received is not high enough to qualify the Karma to receive permission to drive in High Occupancy Vehicle, or HOV, lanes when only the driver is present, Swanton said, a privilege allotted to some lower emissions vehicles under a forthcoming program.

“The engine is a [General Motors] unit,” said Roger Ormisher, spokesman for Fisker. “It’s an older engine. It’s not the cleanest on the market. We knew that when we went into this.

“We expect most of our customers will rarely use the gasoline engine. It’s an insurance policy,” he said, adding, “The most important thing is that this is an electric car with extended range.”

It’s not clear what level Fisker was aiming for in California, but the federal ratings for its electric drive were lower than the car-maker expected, putting Karma’s all-electric range at 32 miles. On the other hand, European regulatory agency Technischer Ueberwachungs Verein, or TUV, certified the car will run for 51.6 miles in electric-only mode.

Because the car company expected to receive approvals earlier, it has been adjusting inventory levels. Last week Fisker’s battery supplier A123 Systems said Fisker delayed deliveries. “We pre-ordered the batteries,” Ormisher said. “We have them in inventory and we are not in need of additional stock.”

The Karma is now good for sale in California, considered by the industry to be the most receptive market in the U.S. for plug-in cars.

Ormisher said the car company had 40 vehicles delivered to dealers and 120 cars on the water, as of Friday. This week the company was hoping to get beyond 200 cars for sale in the U.S.

The California approval comes just in time for the L.A. Auto Show later this month, but Fisker will not be participating, Ormisher said, because it has several dealer events to attend as the cars arrive for sale. “It’s a great show, but when you are a smaller company you can’t do everything at the same time,” he said.

The company is in the middle of raising a $150 million round of funding, in addition to the $600 million in private capital and $529 million in federal loans that it already received. Its backers include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates, A123 Systems, Palo Alto Investors, Qatar Investment Authority and Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide.

· Registered
89 Posts
Rotaries have poor emissions, it's one of the problems Mazda is having with the RX-8. The current engine can't be made clean enough to meet the upcoming rules. The efficiency is bad also, but as a generator that will be optimized. They will still have to make it run cleaner somehow. A small clean diesel would be a better choice, although the rotary does have a significant packaging advantage.

· Premium Member
745 Posts
Check out the Freedom Motors rotary, it is much better about emissions than previous rotarys.

It rates as a ULEV on gas and SULEV on ethanol.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.