Friday, June 25, 2010

Plug-in electric hybrid luxury car gets a charge from solar panels

From The Vancouver Sun

The new Fisker Karma on display in front of the La Terrazza Restaurant in Yaletown on June 24, 2010. The zero-emissions luxury car can reach speeds up to 200 km/h.
Photograph by: Ric Ernst, PNG

Plug-in electric hybrid luxury car gets a charge from solar panels

VANCOUVER - The sunshine beaming down on the Fisker Karma on Thursday did more than accent the high-end hybrid's sleek, coupe-like body: It charged the car through its continuously formed solar-panel roof.

The optional solar technology is just one talking point of the pre-production Karma, which was on display in B.C. for the first time Thursday. Another is that it is the world's first luxury plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

The Karma, which goes into production in early 2011, will sell for about $90,000 US.

Mike Entwistle, brand manager of Fisker of Vancouver, believes it will be "an absolute smash hit" in Vancouver.

"We've got the right market for this car in a number of ways," he said. "We have people who cannot only afford the vehicle, but are environmentally conscious. Now they've got a car that's going to give them performance, is absolutely stunning in its design and environmentally friendly."

According to its website, the Karma will offer several interior designs, including "EcoChic," which uses "100 per cent bamboo viscose and frames authentic fossil leaves inside the EcoGlass."

The "Eco­Sport" design incorporates hand-wrapped premium leather from a manufacturing partner that uses more than 85 per cent of each hide.

Entwhistle said the car will have the capability of running fully on electric power for up to 80 kilometres without recharging the battery.

"At that point, there's a turbo, two-litre gas engine that can then kick in and charge the batteries to give you a total capability of up to 380 km in distance."

The car goes from zero to 60 in 5.8 seconds and can reach top speeds of 200 km/h.


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