Thursday, April 26, 2012

A choice

Hopefully, whenever you buy a big ticket item like a new car, there are some choices.  That's part of the fun of course.  

The 2012 model of the Fisker Karma comes in three models and that's pretty much the choice.  Pretty much the equipment levels differ between the lowest model (EcoStandard) and the higher models (EcoSport and EcoChic).  EcoChic, the top-of-the-line model is really only about offering the most eco-friendly interior finishing materials.  

On viewing, I really liked the styling of the EcoSport and I do very much like leather upholstery and detailing in a car.  The EcoChic eschews all animal byproducts and so its seating and finishing materials are artificial suedes from recycled polyesters.  I confess that this level of eco-friendliness is a little beyond my normal levels of concern, and to be honest I prefer the smell, texture and easy cleaning of leather.  However, both internal trim styles (ecologically called "Earth" and "Glacier"!) offered in the EcoChic are rather excellent too and there are a couple of extra unique but rather nice touches in the form of some leaf 'decoupage' detailing in the centre console and door handles.  In all likelihood then, I'll fall into the trap of going for the full Karma experience and get the EcoChic, complete with its talking points, but I think I would be very happy with the gorgeous looking EcoSport Monsoon Tri-Tone trim too.

Though there are few choices in the actual car, living halfway up a mountain does rather mean that winter tires are a bit of a necessity.  My R8 had Quattro 4-wheel drive too, though this was still inadequate on the essentially slick summer tires.  The Karma is rear-wheel drive only, which I've had before while living here (in the form of a Lexus GS), so hopefully getting the winter tires coupled with the weight of the car will be sufficient.  I'm told that another Karma owner has successfully (and allegedly easily) navigated the local mountain pass called the Coquihalla Highway on fresh snow, so there's hope.

Finally, Fisker offer a 240v home charger for the car.  This charges the vehicle in about half the time over the basic 110v plug-in charger, as you might imagine.  That seems like an important accessory to order and get installed.

A couple of slightly negative bits of news gleaned from recent surfing:
1. The Karma's low profile tyres are apparently only good for about an average year's worth of motoring.  That's probably a consequence of both the design and weight of the vehicle (the two probably being very related anyway).
2. There are rumours of a recall for the installation of a new battery pack after some units caused a shutdown of the vehicle due to manufacturing defects in some of the cells.  Supposedly this was the problem that caused the Consumer Reports vehicle to shut off shortly after they began testing it!
3. Fisker have reduced their sales targets for 2012: down to 10000 units from 15000.  However, they have announced both a new vehicle (the Atlantic) and serving a new geography (North Africa and the Middle East), so the company seems to be pushing forward at least.

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