Fisker Karma explains how it works:
A fully-charged Karma burns no fuel for the first 50 miles. Venture further and the gasoline engine turns a generator to charge the lithium ion battery. Once the 50-mile electric range has been exceeded, the car operates as a normal hybrid vehicle. This balance of electric and gas range makes it entirely possible that Karma drivers who charge their car overnight and commute less than 50 miles a day will achieve an average fuel economy of 100 mpg (2.4L/100km) per year.
As I said earlier, I might have missed other competing cars. One car manufacturer that I have kept my eyes on is Tesla. While they have good range, they are pure electric and thus not a practical on longer staycations.
As recently as three months ago, I would have thought the notion of such a car would be ridiculous in my life. I was working from home and my apartment didn’t have a place to charge the car. However, my new place a two car garage that would make for easy nightly charging. The 50-mile range is also perfect for my 40-mile round trip commute.
I won’t be waiting in line for a Fisker Karma. At a price north of $87,000 it’s not economical. Even if we assume charging the Karma were free (which it wouldn’t be), it still wouldn’t be worth it on fuel costs alone. If I assume using 2 gallons of gas a day (20mpg) in my regular car, I would pay $5 in gas costs. In about 250 work days (taking out weekends and vacations), that’s $1250 a year in gas. It would take many, many years before those savings match other cars. Maybe the Karma is priced in line with other similar sports cars – the Acura NSX comes to mind – but that doesn’t work for the average car budget. Keep in mind that you can get free car insurance quotes but you will still have to pay for the insurance on your Karma and your premiums will be much higher than most other cars.
All is not lost… Fisker says that it will work to release an affordable car on the same technology. It’s waiting for some government legislation to help it out with some grant money, so it could be some time.
At what price would you consider buying an electric, gas hybrid?