As Fisker Automotive's Karma plug-in hybrid moves closer to production the company has turned attention from the outside to the inside for its Geneva Motor show appearance. Assembled by Valmet Automotive in Finland, Fisker says the advanced aluminum space frame incorporates new levels of rigidity and strength to deliver "world-class ride and handling characteristics".

The above pic has been released ahead of the 2010 Geneva Auto Show which kicks-off this week.

The Karma space frame is made from 5,000- and 6,000- series aluminum alloys using a unique extrusion-intensive architecture and is held together by 79 meters of CMT MIG welds and 1,058 self-piercing rivets. A super-structural center tunnel houses the battery pack and acts as a "torque tube" connecting front and rear sections.

Fisker says the result is a frame that balances weight and size and delivers exceptional static torsional rigidity, dynamic stiffness and crash protection. The latter includes a patent-pending, multi-cell tempered aluminum "crush box" at the front.

“Our top priorities when we designed the Karma’s aluminum space frame were that it have extremely high torsional rigidity and could be easily modified to accept Karma model variants,” explained Henrik Fisker, CEO, Fisker Automotive. “We benchmarked some of the world’s best cars to create an all-new space frame that will deliver an exhilarating experience behind the wheel.

The Karma's Q-DRIVE® series-hybrid powertrain uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged ECOTEC® engine/generator set, a lithium-ion battery pack from A123 Systems, and a rear-mounted 403hp traction motor assembly. Throw in two driving modes and regenerative breaking and you have a car that promises 0-60 in 5.8 seconds, a top speed of 125mph, plus a 50 mile electric-drive only range.

Deposits are now being taken for delivery later this year. The base level vehicle will set you back US$87,900. While there's no price yet on the Karma S hardtop convertible (expected 2011), it is expected to be "significantly higher".

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