Fisker Automotive was an American hybrid car manufacturer from California. The California based car maker introduced the Karma and was pivotal in creating the industry’s premium hybrid car segment. Despite the Karma receiving positive reviews, the company was unable to generate enough profit to stay afloat and CEO and co-founder Henrik Fisker resigned from the company.
Soon after Fisker filed for bankruptcy as well. Prior to its acquisition by Chinese conglomerate Wanxiang Group, Fisker focused on developing premium hybrids that made clever use of unique materials such as wildfire hardwood and premium animal free leather. We take a look at what Fisker aimed to be as a car maker before and after its acquisition by Chinese auto part conglomerate Wanxiang.
Henrik Fisker was originally a designer and played a pivotal role in the designs of iconic cars such as the Aston Martin Vantage V8, the DB9 and the BMW Z8. As a result, the Fisker Karma has been endowed with a beautifully sculpted shell. The front end’s notable characteristics include a chrome accentuated large split grille, solar panelled roof and a chiseled bonnet. The roof slopes gently into the rear end that features all LED taillights and an auxiliary brake light mounted in the middle of the trunk.
Passengers are greeted by a tastefully designed cabin replete with leather, aluminium and wood work. The center console features a large touchscreen infotainment system that controls most of the Fisker Karma’s features such as the air conditioning, safety mechanisms and entertainment system. Drivers are treated to a premium leather wrapped three spoke steering wheel that features aluminium accents and a fully digitized instrument cluster. The combination of various shades of hazel leather, wood and minimal use of aluminium creates an pervading tone of luxury with sporty undertones. In keeping with the theme of reduce, reuse and recycle, the Fisker hybrid features an interesting mix of components that include rescued California wildfire hardwood, fossilized leaves and recycled metal.
Under the Bonnet
Although the Fisker Karma does house a petrol powered engine, it merely serves to power the electric motor that actually drives the car. The permanent synchronous motor sends 235 hp to the rear wheels via a 1 speed direct drive gearbox. However, the Fisker Karma’s electric motor can work in tandem with the inline turbocharged 4 cylinder petrol engine to bump up the horse power numbers to an impressive 402 hp and 959 lb-ft of peak torque.
Fisker VLF Force 1 V10
With a change in time comes a change in priorities. Although Fisker originally started out as an hybrid manufacturer that focused on building earth friendly products, the all new Force 1 V10 is a far cry from what Fisker Automotive originally sought to achieve. Developed in conjunction with VLF, an American luxury car maker, the Force 1 V10’s design is based off the Dodge Viper. As such, the Force 1 V10 sports a long bonnet, numerous air scoops, exaggerated wheel arches, a massive front air dam and heavily sculpted bodywork. The dramatic persona of the Force 1 V10 is further enhanced by its large 21 inch wheels, concave front end and muscle car like proportions.
Fisker has endowed the Force 1 V10 with a beautifully crafted cabin. With ultra luxury components such as bespoke quilted Alcantarra seats, suede and champagne bottle holders, the interior is stark contrast to the track focused outer shell of the Fisker VLF Force 1 V10. The large center console that runs along the length of the cabin plays host to a large touchscreen infotainment system and controls for various aspects of the car such as the climate control mechanism, alternate driving modes and others. The driver is greeted by a leather wrapped three spoke steering wheel that sports gloss black accents.
Under the Bonnet
Powering the Fisker VLF Force 1 V10 is a massive 8.4 l V10 engine borrowed from the Dodge Viper. While the stonking V10 produces a mere 645 hp, the folks over at VLF have managed to churn out a whopping 745 horsepower and a peak torque of 638 lb-ft. The massive V10 is mated to an six-speed manual and an optional six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Fisker VLF claim its latest creation manages to hit the 100 km/h mark in under 4 seconds with a top speed of an unimaginable 350.83 km/h.
Although Fisker started out as a manufacturer seeking to re-imagine hybrids as suave vehicles of comfort and opulence, the car maker was marred by legal hassles, budgetary constraints and overall poor inital reception of its maiden product. As a result, the once promising hybrid manufacturer has ditched its eco-friendly efforts and moved on to developing products in a segment that is populated by prospective customers looking to indulge and shows no signs of slowing down.