I saw a story about the Karma concept on the news the day it was revealed at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. That was on a Friday. Monday I called and plopped down $5K for my Signature Edition #72.
I've been following pure-electric, pure-hybrid, and plug-in hybrid cars for a long time, even before the Tesla Roadster was available. When it came out, I wanted one, but well-over-$100k (I figured at least 120 to 130 after Calif taxes and fees and home charger and so on) for a limited-range toy was kind of an issue. Then there's the fact that convertibles and I don't really get along: I've been bald since about age 25.
Then I moved to Utah, made lots of money off the house sale (though if I'd only known that the bubble would run 3 more years I could have had another $200k after taxes), and could actually have bought one, but there was still the convertible thing, and not enough room in the Roadster. So I was watching the Model S too, but here in Utah, even 300 miles of range is probably not enough.
My current car is getting old (it's 12 years old now!). It is in good shape (garage + proper care => Subaru should last 20+ years) but it is kind of creaky, mileage is not great, and I would like to have something nicer for non-camping-type trips (for forest service roads, the Subie's AWD and ground clearance are important). In the last year or so I started looking at all the possible replacement options, from true replacements (another AWD or even 4WD vehicle like another Subaru or a 4Runner or some such) to a simple higher-mileage hybrid that requires keeping the Subaru (Did you know you're not supposed to take the RX450h off road? That kind of ruins the whole point!), etc.
Meanwhile the Volt came out, but not in Utah. The Karma was promised at roughly $90k, would be sold in Utah, and looked so much nicer. Then the Karma really did come out, but at $105k (the tax credits should just about cover Utah sales tax and registration, and the home charger cost will basically disappear into the house remodel at this point; if I get the Fisker/Lear unit at Home Depot it's just $750, hardly even worth noticing ). So I did the test drive, and that was just so much fun.
Had the Volt come out first (well, it did, I mean here in Utah) I probably would have one of those now. But it didn't, so they lost out.
1) Technology - cuttting edge, interesting and clever
2) Design - The car is gorgeous, and I'll never have to ask the valet to leave it up front
3) Image - I like being seen as an early adopter
4) Voting with Dollars: I wanted to support a startup willing to take a chance and do something hard
5) Political - supporting an American company and economy, reducing the use of foreign oil
6) Environmental - Eco friendliness, and a great Eco conversation starter
Savings doesn't really factor into it for me. I agree it's a good *value* for what you're getting, but I hope nobody is buying a Fisker to save money.
When the Tesla Roadster first came out I was completely captivated. The idea of an electric car that didn't look like a Saturn EV-1 or a hippiemobile really caught my eye. Unfortunately, the reality of trying to buy and maintain one in Atlanta when the nearest dealer and service center was 700 miles away in Miami killed that dream. I first heard and saw pictures of the the Karma in 2008 or 2009 and I kept it on my radar. About a year ago it appeared again in Car and Driver and that prompted me to visit Fisker's website. I saw that they now had an Atlanta dealer, that deliveries were imminnent (ha! I'm still waiting) and I placed a deposit the next day.
I could not get any dealer to hook me up with and Audi R8 in 2007 and I had just joined the Electric Auto Association and received my second issue of Current EVents, which was the Nov/Dec 2007 issue, that has a small article about the Fisker Karma. I went to their website and downloaded the forms and sent in my deposit information for a Signature Edition before the NAIAS 2008 even debuted the Karma because I knew that they would be sold out before or during the show. I was slightly scared about the interior of the 2008 concept, but also thought it was cool, being a Doctor Who and old school Battlestar Galactica fan. What amazes me most and really makes me love my car is the fact that the looks of production car changed very little from the concept, something that cannot be said of most concepts, if they even make it to production, i.e. not sure we will ever see a Cadillac Converj.
I've always had a sport sedan for my daily driver, and drove BMW M5's from 2000-2008. The 2006 M5 had awesome performance, but only averaged 12 mpg, and with a small tank I was going to the gas station twice a week.
My wife got a 2008 LS600hL hybrid, but had an accident with it and never trusted it after that. Rather than waste $$ buying out the lease, I traded in my M5 for a Lexus RX400h for her, and took over the LS600 as my daily driver. While the Lexus didn't handle as well as the M5, it was almost as fast, I got 17mpg driving it hard, and it could go almost 400 miles on a tank of gas.
When I first read about the Karma, I thought it could give me back the handling I missed in the M5, plus be even more environmentally friendly than the Lexus hybrid. I have not been disappointed. And the car is even more beautiful in person than all the photos.
IMO, once you own a hybrid, it would be hard to go back to a pure ICE car as your daily driver. In the same way, I now see that owning an electric car with extended range, I could never go back to a car whose primary motive power was gasoline. I love the instantaneous response to the go pedal. And it is so much more efficient to produce energy from large stationary power plants than millons of mobile little engines, and even better to produce it from the sun or the wind.
I am a firm believer that electric cars are not a fad, but are the future. So I'm putting my money where my mouth is and supporting the two pioneering firms in this area: Fisker and Tesla, as we expect to replace the RX400h with a Model S.
Once upon a time when I was a young lad, I fell in love with a BMW 3.0 CS. It was a very long time until I saw another BMW that moved me visually and that was the Z8. When I learned the designer was Henrik Fisker I immediately became a fan. I followed his move to Aston Martin and was wowed by the Vantage's styling. I knew then we had a bona fide superstar designer. When he split off to start his own company I knew it was time to follow things closely. I felt that if the Karma drove half as good as it looked I'd be a happy camper. I never expected Fisker to knock it out of the park at his first real at bat! I've always considered myself an early adapter ie laser discs in the Eighties, bulletin boards when computers used DOS commands, in line for a day for the first iPhone etc. So for me a Karma was a no-brainer.
Late one night, I was watching one of my favorite nerdy programs on Discovery channel, and I saw this:
I immediately looked up the company on line and downloaded the order form. At the time, I was two years into a four-year lease on my XK Jag and was contemplating my next car. The looks and the technology of the Fisker were absolutely irresistible to a nerdy gear head like me, particularly since it was an entirely new drive system. I had read about the original aggressor concept some time before that and had thought that it was a brilliant and elegant design. Finally, the fact that it was going to become available right around the time my lease was going to expire was a sign I could not ignore.
I tried to get my spouse to talk me out of it but she was no help and gave me the "You work hard and deserve to have nice things" speech, so I faxed back the form with a credit card number the next day and a few days later, I was officially deposit holder No. 546.
Heh, my girlfriend used different terms but it works out to the same thing.
(The grin that practically split my head in half after the test drive was one of her indicators. Obviously I am more cautious than those of you who put down a deposit before the car was available for test drives, though.)
I saw this teaser at the end of 2007. The anticipated price and the propulsion system (50 miles of electric range, plus range extender) closed the deal for me. It's such an accomplishment that Henrik managed to stay so close to this concept. The only noticable change is the addition of a B-pillar (for safety).
A romantic at heart, i am probably the least wealthy Karma owner on the lot. My downpayment was 3 years ahead of actual production, and an investment of all my savings and anticipated expendable earnings for an extended loan. I sought an alternative to my gas costs & miles driven yearly, I needed something that allotted me the option to drive as far as I wanted without concern for EV range should that be an issue. My region in Western PA is not nearly as accessible to charging stations as others, and I drive typically over 60mi daily. Add to that design uniqueness. But a major influence was the romantic idea of supporting a brand new American based company/design as a start up from scratch. This is a feat not frequently or easily come by in modern society with safety & business laws, as well as the need for risky investors with drive and inspiration. Even more impressive, is to achieve this in the car industry, an innovative merger of design for beauty & new technology. I found a product I sought after that had a home grown, innovative, independent feel.
I suppose I was lucky, to have preferred the laguna & opted to wait for the paint product revision following initial QA failures. The truth was I was on an away-from-home work assignment & had no charger or space at my rental pad for the deserved housing of a Fisker. In fact, the first night I had the Fisker, I picked it up & it spent one night in my rental house garage before it's ultimate destination in Pittsburgh. The rental garage it spent its first & only night was too small, & the garage door hit my bumper, shaving off a small slice of paint. This Fisker is a true work horse, and has held its own 14,000 miles and counting.
I guess I'm humble and appreciative by nature. I appreciate the practical extended range, exterior curves, and phenomenal interior. I've had many other cars, luxury and not, that had worse flaws and problems. I fully understood it was a risk, but was hopeful for setting a new standard. The only thing that has surprised me so far, is that some didn't consider the financial risk nor realize the bumps in the road we were paving. I'm still committed, and haven't bailed & sold mine off yet, even if this would be much safer financial option for someone in my shoes. I guess I'll be riding this aluminum can until it becomes a unique rust bucket in my front yard, and then walk to work.
I have always been a "car" person. I have owned a couple of E-Type Jags a Lotus and a few Porches. Then, one day, I was done polluting just to drive a nice car... it just seems selfish, I was no better than a Hummer Driver. I sold my XK8 and started driving one of the company owned Prius as my sole transportation. (BTW, I had deposit on a Tela Roadster, but changed my mind cause I needed something I could take the kids in)... But I really wanted to go the next step, an all electric vehicle.
I too was purchasing a Chevy volt. I was just about to buy one after a road test, when a friend of mine informed me of the Karma. Just looking at it sold me.