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http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/20...wered-fisker-karmas-on-their-way-by-mid-2014/

Bob Lutz: Corvette Powered Fisker Karmas On Their Way by Mid-2014
By TTAC Staff on October 21, 2013


Late last week Bob Lutz told the Automotive News that VL Automotive, his venture to retrofit Fisker Karma’s with Corvette drivetrains, has negotiated a deal with an Asian investor in Fisker to give VL access to the software code that runs the Karma’s integrated infotainment system. ”Without getting those codes, it was close to impossible to get a working car,” Lutz said. He said that VL has now bought 25 brand new unsold Karmas and that the finished product, what Lutz and his partners call the Destino, will be offered with either the 450-hp direct-injected LT1 V8 from the new C7 Corvette or an upgrade to the 638 hp LS9 supercharged V8 from the outgoing C6 ZR1.

The Karma is a serial hybrid, like the Chevy Volt, wherein once the batteries are discharged, a combustion engine spins a generator that powers the electric motor that drives the car. In the Karma that electric motor is mounted at the front of the rear axle, so VL engineers should have plenty of room for the Corvette’s rear transaxle, which connects to the engine via a torque tube.

The finished Destino will cost close to $200,000, about double the MSRP of the Karma when it was on sale. Fisker hasn’t built a Karma in over a year now. Lutz says that the Destino will have a refined driving experience appropriate for a car that expensive. He said that first deliveries are scheduled for the middle of next year.

“It’s going to take time. I don’t want a rough car that’s hard to drive with a bad transmission and high noise levels. At close to $200,000, these things are going to have to be silky and buttery to drive. The sound and feel have to be just right,” Lutz said. The company apparently plans to reveal a second body style when VL will have a display at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January

Lutz “has confidence” that VL has secured a supply of gliders and replacement body panels so production will not be limited to the first batch of 25 cars. VL will also offer people who own regular Fisker Karmas the option of upgrading to V8 power for about $100,000. About 1,800 Karmas were sold by Fisker before production was suspended last year.

Lutz would not comment about whether he or VL participated in the Department of Energy’s auction last week to sell off the loan Fisker received from the DoE’s Advanced Technologies Vehicle Manufacturing loan program. He also declined comment on possibly acquiring other Fisker assets.
 

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Well there's lots of interesting stuff in here. Firstly that an Asian investor gave Lutz access to the source code - I guess Li got something for all the money he pumped into "floating" the company's payroll for many months.

Secondly there is the implication of replacement body parts, which is a source of much angst for Karma owners. Destinos will need body panels and bumpers and many other things that Karma owners will be happy to find an ongoing marketplace for. Not much comfort on the battery and other E-features of course, but hopefully there is a burgeoning community of battery makers out there that are up to the challenge (several of which have earned their own conversation thread here at FBuzz).

Thirdly there is the option, if electric just goes out the window entirely, that there is still a home for the Karma body. It seems a little perverse to put a 600HP engine in what was always envisioned as an environmental car, with HOV permits and tax credits, but it does help preserve value. It may even enhance value (maybe 50 years from now people will be seeking out Karma's in "original condition" with "matching numbers HV battery").
 

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I'll believe it when I see it. Lutz has been touting this car for a year or so and still nothing but vapor.

$200k for a sexy 4 door Corvette? You could buy 2 Karmas and 2 Corvettes for that price...maybe even an Aston Martin Rapide?
 

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The math doesn't add up for me. If the Destino is $200K but you can buy a Karma for under $60K and upgrade it for $100K, why would anyone not save the $40K+?

And, if you believe this will really come to pass, now's the time to find that Karma with a defective battery and snap it up cheap. You could be riding in a $120K Destino!

That is, if you're OK with an ICE drivetrain.
 

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The math doesn't add up for me. If the Destino is $200K but you can buy a Karma for under $60K and upgrade it for $100K, why would anyone not save the $40K+? And, if you believe this will really come to pass, now's the time to find that Karma with a defective battery and snap it up cheap. You could be riding in a $120K Destino!
Exactly my thoughts…

And beyond that, IF (big IF) VL worked out, it means one could drive a Karma for as many years as the original drivetrain would allow. Then, if and when it craps out, turn to VL and ask for a conversion. New life. So, all you fence sitters - go buy up cheap Karmas!!
 

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Exactly my thoughts…

And beyond that, IF (big IF) VL worked out, it means one could drive a Karma for as many years as the original drivetrain would allow. Then, if and when it craps out, turn to VL and ask for a conversion. New life. So, all you fence sitters - go buy up cheap Karmas!!
Exactly why I bought mine, and exactly what I plan to do when something major goes wrong. Even though LS9 is a good option, I'm planning on going with a 8.4l V10 SRT Viper drivetrain.

If anyone else has any interest, we could do it for considerably less than 100k. Granted we'll be gutting some of the things I'm sure VL will be able to keep with the software, but can't see how that's worth they extra money.
 

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Exactly my thoughts…

And beyond that, IF (big IF) VL worked out, it means one could drive a Karma for as many years as the original drivetrain would allow. Then, if and when it craps out, turn to VL and ask for a conversion. New life. So, all you fence sitters - go buy up cheap Karmas!!
Exactly why I bought mine, and exactly what I plan to do when something major goes wrong. Even though LS9 is a good option, I'm planning on going with a 8.4l V10 SRT Viper drivetrain.

If anyone else has any interest, we could do it for considerably less than 100k. Granted we'll be gutting some of the things I'm sure VL will be able to keep with the software, but can't see how that's worth they extra money.
Sorry guys, but to me this is like saying that it is OK if your wife/husband/lover dies, because you can then have them preserved via taxidermy and use them as a sex doll. I will have my Karma crushed after a dignified and solemn ceremony before I hand her over to the grave robbers from VL.
 

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Sorry guys, but to me this is like saying that it is OK if your wife/husband/lover dies, because you can then have them preserved via taxidermy and use them as a sex doll. I will have my Karma crushed after a dignified and solemn ceremony before I hand her over to the grave robbers from VL.

Very strange analogy, Fab. But then, Halloween is approaching.
 

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I wish Destino would get a life and make their own car. They should also design their own instead of ripping off Henric Fisker design of the Karma. Their is ONLY one and that is the Fisker Karma.... No car can compare period.
 

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Right now if it wasn't for VL automotive there would even be less parts available to customers . That partnership was worked out long before Fisker closed
 

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I wish Destino would get a life and make their own car. They should also design their own instead of ripping off Henric Fisker design of the Karma. Their is ONLY one and that is the Fisker Karma.... No car can compare period.
Fisker Automotive designed the Destino and made 7 figures off that "assignment."
 

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Sorry guys, but to me this is like saying that it is OK if your wife/husband/lover dies, because you can then have them preserved via taxidermy and use them as a sex doll. I will have my Karma crushed after a dignified and solemn ceremony before I hand her over to the grave robbers from VL.

Very strange analogy, Fab. But then, Halloween is approaching.
Strange, but not entirely without precedent. Just to be clear, I am fairly neutral on the Destino idea and think having multiple options is fine. My only point was that I don't think that, for me anyway, the Destino conversion is a viable option to extend the life of my Karma because it basically destroys the essential quality of a Karma and allows just the body and chassis of the car to survive. But if others want to do that, more power to them.
 

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Right now if it wasn't for VL automotive there would even be less parts available to customers . That partnership was worked out long before Fisker closed
That's a very good point. Let's hope that spare part availability will improve so that we won't need to rely on parts liberated by VL to fix our cars in the future.
 

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Strange, but not entirely without precedent. Just to be clear, I am fairly neutral on the Destino idea and think having multiple options is fine. My only point was that I don't think that, for me anyway, the Destino conversion is a viable option to extend the life of my Karma because it basically destroys the essential quality of a Karma and allows just the body and chassis of the car to survive. But if others want to do that, more power to them.
The conversion can just be a powerplant/ swap and cc flash etc not the full styling conversion. "New" Destino's that are sold by VL have to be differentiated with styling changes, the converted ones do not per the agreement with Fisker Automotive.
 

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The conversion can just be a powerplant/ swap and cc flash etc not the full styling conversion. "New" Destino's that are sold by VL have to be differentiated with styling changes, the converted ones do not per the agreement with Fisker Automotive.
Doesn't the hood have to change in either case to make room for the taller ICE?
 
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