The sleek Fisker Karma first went on sale in 2011 at a starting price of $102,000 for the base model. Not only did it look great, the 403-horsepower performance vehicle was capable of more than 30 miles of pure electric driving before resorting to use of gasoline. The combined EPA fuel economy rating for the screaming fast and extremely cool Karma was 52 mpg, and unprecedented level of overall efficiency for a production sports car.
At the same time, as a plug-in hybrid with a backup gasoline engine, the Karma does not induce range anxiety, because the combination of electrons and hydrocarbons means a total driving range of about 300 miles. And it can be quickly refueled at your friendly neighborhood gas station.
Unfortunately, Fisker’s existence was short-lived. In 2012, the Karma experienced a string of technical issues, punctuated by the bankruptcy of Fisker’s sole battery supplier, A123 Systems. Production of the vehicle shut down after just 2,450 units had been built, months after Fisker had projected 10,000 deliveries for 2012 alone. Fisker Automotive filed for bankruptcy in November 2013.
Chinese automotive conglomerate, Wanxiang Group, prevailed last week in its bid to acquire the remaining assets of the defunct plug-in vehicle maker. So, there is still hope for a revival of the green-ish luxury plug-in sports car.
For car fans that fell in love with the Karma, the best hope for putting one in your garage might not require waiting for Wanxiang to resume production, but rather to check the used market. At eBay Motors, there are currently 11 used Karmas available for purchase—most with very low mileage.
What’s more, many pre-owned Karmas sell for about half of their sticker price or less. “Buy it now” prices for low-mileage Karmas often hover near the $60,000 mark. Confidence in Fisker’s future as a company will likely continue to be a major factor in resale value for the vehicle, which suffered numerous recalls and software issues the first time around.
As with many other collector cars, there is an element of risk with keeping rare automobiles in tip-top condition. But those willing to face those challenges will be rewarded with an extraordinary vehicle: an alluring limited-production speedy sports machine that burns more rubber than fuel.
Article by Brad Berman, appearing courtesy ebay Green Driving.