Visitors to the world’s most prestigious motorsport event, the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, were among the first to see the first Fisker Karma off the production line put through its paces as it made its European driving debut on the famous street circuit.
On Saturday 28 May 2011, before official race qualifying began, the first European production version of the Fisker Karma, the world’s first true Electric Vehicle with extended range, took to the streets of Monaco, completing a couple of laps.
The vehicle was piloted by Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco. His Serene Highness was joined during this momentous occasion by company co-founder, CEO and executive design director, Henrik Fisker. This event marked the first dynamic, public showing of the Karma in Europe.
Fisker commented: “The Fisker Karma project has a distinct Monaco link. Prince Albert was one of the people who inspired me to create the Fisker Karma. When I met him at the Top Marques Show in Monaco in 2006 he commented that he would love to see a fuel-efficient luxury car, and from that small seed grew the concept of what became Fisker Automotive and our focus on premium EVer cars that deliver pure driving passion.
“We want to thank both the principality of Monaco and Prince Albert for not only being the inspiration, but also a great support for our groundbreaking automotive green initiative,” continued Fisker.
Designed to reflect Henrik’s paradigm of Responsible Luxury™, the Fisker Karma is the first American-designed and engineered luxury vehicle specifically developed to appeal to world markets. It is the only luxury sedan in the world that meets future fuel consumption and emission requirements, making it suitable for any international city.
The Karma was also on static display during the race weekend, both at the chicane exiting the tunnel, turns 10 and 11, otherwise known as the Nouvelle Chicane, and thereafter in Cavallari – Monaco Motors, Fisker’s newest dealership, located on 6- 11 rue Princesse Florestine, MC 98000.
The only true Electric Vehicle with extended range, the Fisker Karma drives its rear wheels using two rear-mounted 201.5 horsepower (150 kW) electric traction motors that draw energy from the lithium-ion battery pack for up to 50 miles (80 km). The gasoline engine drives a 175 kW electric generator to power the motors; there is no mechanical link between this engine and the drive motors.
Uniquely, the Fisker Karma can run in one of two drive modes: Stealth and Sport. Stealth Mode maximizes efficiency, giving the car its greatest range on battery power before activating the gasoline engine-driven generator to sustain battery charge. In Stealth Mode, the Karma can accelerate from zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.9 seconds and achieve a top speed of 95 mph (153 km/h). With Sport Mode engaged, the gasoline engine drives the generator to provide enough electricity for 403 total system horsepower, allowing the Karma to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds and achieve a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h).
In all aspects of performance, the Fisker Karma is designed to be a true driver’s car. Its proprietary, advanced aluminum space frame incorporates new levels of rigidity and strength that give the Karma world-class ride and handling characteristics. Fisker Automotive’s engineering team designed the Karma’s space frame around the car’s unique powertrain, filing for multiple patents in the process.
Benefitting from a four-wheel independent SLA (double-wishbone) suspension, also employing aluminum components, the Karma has been specifically tuned to run on standard 22-inch aluminum wheels, a first for a production car.
Production of the Fisker Karma recently started at Valmet Automotive’s Uusikaupunki facility in Finland with Fisker aiming to achieve full build rate by the second half of 2011. It is Fisker’s plan to deliver vehicles to all current deposit holders during the 2011 model year.