Karma looks forward with 3-cylinder sports hybrid Revero GT and concept cars
Karma Automotive, the company formerly known as Fisker, ushers in a "new dawn" with a slate of products that define its immediate and long-term future. A fully refreshed, BMW-engined Revero sports hybrid with more power and range, a Pininfarina-sculpted Revero coupe, and a high-tech all-electric roadster concept all make their debuts at Auto Shanghai 2019. The cars show where Karma stands today and where it's moving in the near and distant future.
Karma was brought to life in 2014 after China-headquartered Wanxiang Group acquired the Karma car design and other Fisker Automotive assets, but the young company has yet to branch out into the Chinese market. So it's making some extra noise in Shanghai by debuting not only the new Revero but also two forward-looking concepts.
"This is the first major auto presence for Karma in China and marks a significant moment by ushering in a new era for the company," explains Karma CEO Dr. Lance Zhou. "Today, Karma is ready to move forward with bold steps, a chapter we call our New Dawn."
The dawn of that bold karmic era casts first light on the 2020 Revero GT, which goes on sale later this year. In its latest incarnation, the Revero finally leaves behind the weird gapped-mustache grille dating back to the original Fisker Karma, gaining an all-new front-end with an airy, slashed-up bumper and a solid, non-slatted upper grille area similar to a modern electric car.
Moving back, the new Revero GT maintains a lithe silhouette with long, flowing hood and swept-back cabin. The subtly bowed-in flanks have been injected with smoother, more voluminous styling as compared to the flatter, more sharply marked design of old, while the bumpers have taken the opposite turn, gaining more creases and angles.
More than just a cosmetic makeover, the 2020 Revero GT also benefits from a powertrain upgrade with dual rear electric motors that team for 535 hp and 550 lb-ft. A lithium-ion battery pack keeps those motors turning for up to 80 miles (129 km) of zero emissions driving, a significant boost over the Revero's 50 miles (80 km). Regenerative braking helps keep the batteries firing before it becomes necessary for the BMW turbo three-cylinder engine-generator to kick in and extend total range out to 360 miles (579 km).
The Revero GT scoots from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 4.5 seconds, relying on a variable-ratio steering system and carefully tuned suspension to keep performance as convincing through the twists as it is on the straightaways. A full driver-assistance suite comprises features like lane keeping, emergency auto braking and active cruise control.
The Karma/Revero has always been among the sportier sedans out there, but the time has come for Karma to explore a proper two-door. The company teamed with Pininfarina on the effort, giving the design house creative freedom in crafting a 2 + 2 rendition of the new Revero GT, something they not-so-succinctly call the "Karma GT designed by Pininfarina."
Pininfarina stripped a Revero GT right down to the aluminum frame, injecting a little Italian flair into the new two-door body build. It built the new shapely flanks from scratch, softening them up with a cleaner, more fluid design that hides the door handles away with flush mountings. It also spent some time up front, sculpting out a new facial expression centered around a neatly creased hood. The eyes are squeezed and thinned to a degree that would make Fisker himself proud, and the grille stands as a more cohesive, successful take on the original split grille.
Pininfarina's work extends inside, where white and off-white leathers brighten things around the digital displays and front-to-rear center console. Interior surfaces gain form and definition with burgundy piping and multi-tone stitching, and nubuck leather and satin aluminum trims add a luxurious feel.
The Karma GT by Pininfarina doesn't have as sure a future as the Revero GT, but Pininfarina is open to a limited production run should the concept inspire enough genuine interest. If that occurs, buyers will be invited to Pininfarina's workshop outside Turin, where they'll work closely with the Pininfarina folks to ensure the car fits like a "tailored suit." For its part, Karma will incorporate select aspects of the concept design into future products.
Sedan, coupe ... feels like it's time for a proper roadster. With the open-air SC1 Vision Concept, Karma jumps farther ahead into the future. The projectile-like roadster previews next-gen design language and introduces the idea of an all-electric Karma. Stylistically the car is defined by some familiar concept car ingredients: a rear-slung body that looks chiseled from a single block, a frameless mini-windscreen that rises only about as high as the headrests, and headlights that look like they were sliced into the hood with a scalpel.
The SC1 is more than just a flashy creative exercise, previewing how Karma will harness the latest technologies to push its designs forward. Most notably, the car moves beyond the plug-in hybrid power that has defined "Karma" since the Fisker days and into the pure-electric realm. It should prove a particularly natural evolution for a company that's always been rooted in electrified engineering, with battery technology progressing toward the point it can meet or exceed the Revero's 360-mile range without the need for a gas range-extender.
Karma loads the SC1 with plenty of buzzy tech terms like 5G connectivity, eye-tracking technology, biometric identification, ultrasonic sensors and augmented reality. It also mentions crafting the interior from never-before-used materials like chopped carbon fiber flakes — and it makes sure to shine blue accent lighting on some of the ingenuity.
"Taken together, our Shanghai Big Three show what Karma is today, what Karma can be tomorrow, and where Karma is heading in the future," Zhou sums up.
The trio of Shanghai show cars also signals Karma's global intentions. Since its founding in 2014, the company has focused on the US market, but it is now preparing to step onto the world stage.
"Karma will be live in Europe and the Middle East next year, and then Asia," says Zhou. "We will be in China by 2021. By gradually expanding our presence this way, I am confident our company, and our products, will be well prepared for the discerning Chinese luxury buyer of the future."
To help facilitate that growth and expansion, Karma will seek out strategic partnerships, just as it's done with Pininfarina.
Source: Karma Automotive