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Fisker Karma: an EV with SUV fuel mileage?

Fisker Automotive's Karma PHEV received EPA emission certification and underwhelming fuel economy ratings.


Fisker Automotive was pleased as punch last week when its new Karma PHEV received emission certification and fuel economy ratings from the EPA, the green flag for the car to go on sale in the US. However, the automotive blogosphere was quick to criticize.

The Karma’s fuel economy ratings are underwhelming. The Chevy Volt beats it handily on every number on the EPA sticker. The truly head-scratching figure: 20 miles per gallon in gasoline mode, which nowadays is considered acceptable for an SUV, but not for anything with pictures of greenery and flowers in its ads.

Okay, it may not be fair to compare the Karma, a “luxury sports sedan,” to the Volt, a mere “compact” (with a price tag that’s less than half as sporty as the Karma’s). The Karma is also green in other ways (most of the interior materials are recycled or sustainably sourced).

Also unfair is a comparison with Tesla’s Roadster, a smaller and more expensive car that has over twice the Karma’s MPGe figure and three times its efficiency rating. Would it be fair to compare all three cars side-by-side? We leave that up to you, dear readers, and offer the table below as a handy aid.

Fisker’s only real defense to the firestorm is that the Karma’s real-world range is greater than the EPA estimate. “We firmly believe that most owners will get up to 50 miles of driving range on a single charge and will use our electric-only mode most of the time they drive the car, thereby running on zero emissions.”


Image: Fisker Automotive

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