The trouble is, not many of the hybrid vehicles on the market are all that appealing from an enthusiast’s point of view. Many of the original gasoline / electric vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight were strange looking subcompacts that were focused far more on practicality than they were on raising the pulse of those few who slipped behind the wheel. To be sure, electric-assisted drivetrains have proliferated across automobile lineups to the point where they are even starting to show up in enormous V8-powered sport-utility vehicles, but it has been difficult for the industry to shake the initial dowdy impression left by the original bland hybrids.
Fisker is an American automaker which has done its best to shatter the dull image of electric automobiles, first by releasing the stunning Karma sedan at auto shows last year. Their latest tactical effort is the unveiling of the Karma S Sunset concept. The Karma S takes the aggressive looks of the original sedan, adds a bit of Aston-Martin / Maserati-influenced styling and chops the roof off to create a full-sized electric convertible that is as gorgeous as it is environmentally-friendly. The Karma S is nothing short of dazzling, with surging front fenders and a split honeycomb grille set off by a power bulge that extends from the front of the car back across the vehicle’s hood.
Backing up the enticing bodywork are not one, but two 201 horsepower electric motors. These engines can be used in combination to provide over 400 horsepower, and that is enough grunt to launch the Fisker Karma S to 60 miles per hour from a standing start in just 5.8 seconds – not bad for any drop top, let alone a hybrid. The motors get their juice from a lithium-ion battery pack that provides 50 miles of range before requiring a recharge. This sounds somewhat limiting until it is revealed that the Karma S also sports a 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 260 horsepower funneled towards a generator that charges the batteries on the go. The top speed of the Fisker Karma S is a respectable 125 miles per hour.
The Karma S looks and feels like the futuristic style of automobile that the concept of electric transportation has been promising for decades. With great power, a low carbon footprint and luxurious interior styling, this convertible promises to help usher in an entirely new era of hybrid electric design that focuses not only on technological prowess but also driving emotion and cutting edge design.