Sep 07

Fisker continues to broaden its extended-range vehicle horizons

 

That other American extended-range automaker – Fisker – recently cut a large engine supply deal with BMW for its pending Project Nina line, and this month will show the “Surf,” a “shooting brake” version of its Karma at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Fisker’s Karma-inspired Nina extended-range vehicles – to ultimately consist of a mid-size sedan, coupe and crossover – are to begin production in a former GM plant in Wilmington, Del., by the end of next year.

The company says the vehicles will sell for around $40,000 (after federal subsidies) and this will mean they might just compete favorably with the Chevy Volt, although the company is not saying this officially.

“We have said that the car will be priced around half the price of a Fisker Karma and will compete with cars in the Audi A4/A6, Mercedes C/E class sectors,” said Fisker’s Director, Global Communications & PR, Roger Ormisher.


Fisker Karma.

Unlike the flagship Karma which for now uses a kind-of-rough 2.0-liter GM turbo four, the Nina line’s genset will be a 2.0-liter BMW turbo four. The German automaker has agreed to deliver as many as 100,000 units per year.

“The BMW engine was an obvious choice for us, as BMW is known for producing the best and most fuel efficient gasoline engines in the world,” said Fisker’s CEO and Executive Design Director, Henrik Fisker. “We are very pleased to have signed this agreement with BMW.”

Fisker is probably also pleased that it has somewhere around $1 billion in working capital, part of that being what’s left from a $529 million U.S. Department of Energy loan.

With its existing first offering, and pending Nina line, it is rapidly working toward competing with GM’s Voltec platform while using GM’s own cast-off engines and failed assembly plants to get the job done.

Of the government and other dollars the Scandinavian transplant company has received, it has dedicated $175 million to revamp the last of the major Northeastern U.S. auto plants.

GM’s former 3.2 million square-foot (297,000 square-meter) factory opened in 1947, and closed in 2009, its last vehicle made being a Pontiac Solstice convertible.

California-based Fisker also recently established a European office in Munich, and has said that both the Karma and Project Nina lines are to be global vehicles. Their sales will likely be split between the U.S. and Europe (40 percent each), with Asia (20 percent) providing the remainder.

We have no word whether GM-Volt contributor nasaman’s latest review of the Karma had anything to do with Fisker’s decision to go with a “shooting brake” (wagon-like) version for the Karma, but his assessment was spot-on. He and others have found its trunk unacceptably small.

Squeezing the range-extended (“EVer”) powertrain into the Karma necessitated the design compromise of the tiny boot. Extending the vehicle’s rear into something like a shapely squareback will fix that practical consideration.


Just today Fisker released this shadowy teaser shot for the “Surf” shooting brake version of the Karma.

Until today, no shooting brake Karma photos were available, and a report by the UK publication, Car.com which broke the story, says the world will see more of it this month in Frankfurt.

Word is also that a two-door Karma cabriolet – first seen in 2009 – will in time be made into another option making for three Karma variants to go with the three Ninas.

Fisker has also weighed the options of further departing from GM by substituting the 360-pound-heavy GM EcoTec genset with something more suited to the task.

It has looked at a purpose-built, 124-pound, 1.2-liter Lotus three-cylinder generator, or, we asked the company, will a BMW engine find its way into the Karma?

“Not at this point in time. The Karma has been optimized with its current range extender and has a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery that can give the Karma a 50 miles (80 km) all electric range,” Ormisher said. “The electric only “stealth” mode is expected to account for most of the daily range, with the range extender only used as a back up on longer trips.”

But the new deal with BMW does mark a departure from sourcing American-made engines for its American-made Nina vehicles, which are anticipated to be available for sale in 2013.

Unlike Ford and GM, which are making efforts to increase domestic content for their electrified vehicles, Fisker – while insisting on its U.S. status – seems to have no qualms about sourcing imported components it considers superior.

“This is an important agreement for Fisker. We are focused on building environmentally responsible cars that deliver Pure Driving Passion to our discerning customers,” said Fisker’s Chief Operating Officer, Bernhard Koehler. “Who better to be a part of this exciting ‘recipe’ than BMW – the makers of the Ultimate Driving Machine?”

All we can say is GM and Ford better be careful. Our bet is a BMW-engineered genset will deliver considerable prestige for the underdog story that is Fisker. And our guess is it would also like to earn the moniker of “ultimate” too – and make that ASAP thank you very much.

This small outside-the-box company has very rapidly moved into U.S. territory, building on the ashes of GM’s former mismanagement.


Running on a track in the rain.

It has developed extremely attractive – if not perfect – cars from its inception. As Tesla has purposed to do with its Roadster, Fisker’s $100k or so boutique vehicle, the Karma, was just the semi-exotic teaser on the company’s road toward creating more affordable vehicles in bulk.

And just in case anyone doubts Fisker’s American commitment, the company says Project Nina will create or support 2,000 factory jobs in The First State, plus 3,000 vendor and supplier jobs. By 2014, it expects to be producing 75,000-100,000 vehicles per year.

More than half of these would be exported, and if so, the company says that would give it the largest export percentage of any domestic automaker.

Source: Fisker

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 68


  1. 1
    nasaman

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (6:12 am)

    Terrific News!!! Why? —because this Project Nina car from Fisker, as the world’s first direct competition for the Volt, represents a huge step forward in EREV marketing for both GM and Fisker. As almost everyone knows, the best way to sell more Big Macs is often to locate your “yellow arches” right across the street from where they sell Whoppers. And more importantly, another brand of EREV competitive in price, size, performance etc will tend to “validate” both
    the Volt & the new “mini-Karma” —for both skeptics & the average car buyer. I LOVE IT!!! :)


  2. 2
    nasaman

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (6:39 am)

    Footnote to my post #1 (in case anyone else is wondering what the heck one “shooting brake” design might look like)…

    shooting_brake_rear_widescreen_wallpaper_27091.jpg
    Audi’s “shooting brake” concept


  3. 3
    Raymondjram

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (7:08 am)

    Hi Jeff!

    Are there any pictures of the Fisker Nina to post here, so we can see what the Volt-competition looks like?

    The sad news is that Fisker will not be using an American engine in the Nina. Oh, well, we can’t win them all!

    Raymond


  4. 4
    Loboc

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (7:57 am)

    nasaman: “shooting brake” design might look like

    So it’s a compact two-door sport wagon like a Chevy Vega Kammback. I always thought Vega was ahead if it’s time!


  5. 5
    Roy_H

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (8:13 am)

    Does anybody know how much the Karma weighs? I have read estimates from 4100 lbs to 5300 lbs vs Volt.s 3800 lbs.

    Just for reference the Corvette 435 hp C6 weighs 3200 lbs. And Maserati Quattroporte is 4380 lbs. I had no idea the Quattroporte was so heavy, so I guess high weight is more normal and acceptable than I thought.


  6. 6
    Mark Wagner

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (9:23 am)

    Fisker should provide a basis or evidence for his claim that “…BMW is known for producing the best and most fuel efficient gasoline engines in the world”. Personally I don’t know that to be true. In fact I have never previously heard a claim that BMW makes the most fuel efficient gasoline engines or that they are known in the U.S. for any 4 cylinder engines. I can’t even find a BMW with a 4 cylinder engine or a BMW that gets better than 28 mpg on bmwusa.com.

    Also I wonder how much energy is required to transport all those components around the world before their assembly and delivery to a U.S. showroom?


  7. 7
    stuart22

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (9:35 am)

    Among the boutique companies, it sure appears that Fisker has taken away the traction from Tesla, who seems to be simply treading water. I would have thought Tesla was much closer to getting their own sedan into the market than was Fisker, but no – Fisker has stolen the spotlight.


  8. 8
    James

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (10:04 am)

    Fisker is, by-and-large, a big unknown. This makes it both easy to write-off, and simultaneously interesting and exciting. In other words, Fisker is “dangerous”. They seem to be able to move rather quickly, even though the Karma is behind schedule – and it will be interesting to see how effectively they can move on the fly. Case in point: They needed to get the Karma out there in the hands of media and bloggers – so they put unpolished cars on test tracks and streets in the hands of the “mob”. Risky, yes – and it bit them a bit with reports that the transition from AER to CS mode was rough and the generator sounded course and loud, with short headers running off the engine that made a $90,000 car sound like a …well…Colorado pickup truck! Embarrassing, yes, yet Karma engineers insisted that a fix was already in the pipeline, and customer cars would sound quiet and refined…Whooo!, That’s risky!

    If Fisker can move “fast-and-loose” and create new platforms on the run – MORE POWER TO THEM! Competition the name of the game, and a new carmaker on the scene always bears attention. Right now, Project Nina is vaporware – yet it’s promise is enticing. Also exciting is the new domestic jobs in previously dormant factories, for today the American mantra is – “JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!” Bring ‘em on!

    I am just a bit skeptical that Fisker can gain a market foothold in this recessed economy. To date, there or few or no signs this recession will end anytime soon. I certainly hope they succeed. The onset of the BMW deal can only help – especially at Karma’s pricepoint. The typical buyer at that price level doesn’t want to hear the genset is a castoff from Pontiac and Saturn! Tesla has stuck it’s neck out far with it’s aquisition of the Toyota NUMMI plant, but hedging it’s bets with the Toyota investments and agreements at least give it some prospect of riding out the storm and actually building it’s $25,000 four door EV. Tesla has name recognition and they accomplished that very cleverly with a very limited production, uber-fast performance sports car. I thought that was crazy-talk back when Elon Musk layed out his gameplan, but today – I may have to eat my words. Let’s hope I’m equally humbled when Fisker breaks through!

    After all, America needs success stories – and every EVer or EREV that surfaces reinforces the genius of Volt – the original and only accessible EV on the road that isn’t a slave to the AC outlet!

    VOLT – IT’S MORE FREEDOM THAN ELECTRIC! </b?,

    James


  9. 9
    nasaman

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (10:19 am)

    Raymondjram: Are there any pictures of the Fisker Nina to post here, so we can see what the Volt-competition looks like?

    No luck trying to find any concept photos of project Nina vehicles. This one is from a Tesla blogger who suggests a “Nina variant” might be an SUV like this…
    08-v60hybrid-1298406481.jpg
    Could one “Nina Variant” look like this Volvo (I think) SUV concept?


  10. 10
    Steverino

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (10:24 am)

    “In the United Kingdom, station wagons are generally called estate cars or usually just estates. A very specific type, though very rare, is known as a shooting-brake. These are usually modified luxury coupés with an estate car-like back fitted. They generally retain two side doors. The purpose of them, historically, is obvious from the name; they were vehicles for the well-off shooter and hunter, giving space to carry shotguns and other equipment. They have rarely been made by the factory and are generally aftermarket conversions; some are still made. Until the early 1960s many of them were built with structural wooden rear frames, making them some of the most exclusive and luxurious “woodies” ever built.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Station_wagon


  11. 11
    nasaman

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (10:43 am)

    James:

    “Fisker is, by-and-large, a big unknown. This makes it both easy to write-off, and simultaneously interesting and exciting. In other words, Fisker is “dangerous”… Right now, Project Nina is vaporware – yet it’s promise is enticing…”

    I don’t disagree, James. But we need to remember these things…

    1 – Fisker has an established reputation based on his factory in Finland (Valmet Automotive), which is producing Karmas (and cars for other makers such as Porsche)

    2 – Fisker has purchased GM’s former Pontiac Solstice / Saturn Sky assembly plant in Wilmington, Delaware to produce Nina project vehicles

    3 – Fisker’s EREV drive train is designed by their partner, California company Quantum, who supplies military EV’s to the US DOD

    4 – They have over $1 Billion in the bank, including a U.S. DOE loan for $528.7 million for Nina


  12. 12
    James

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (10:44 am)

    Hey Jeff, feel free to delete my post #8 ( and this one ) – from the “Department of Redundency Department”. I must’ve pushed the button twice!

    James


  13. 13
    kdawg

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (10:52 am)

    I’ll believe it when they are for sale at a dealer. Sorry, i just have my doubts. Fool me once…


  14. 14
    DonC

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (10:53 am)

    I think james nailed it when he says that Fisker is “both easy to write-off, and simultaneously interesting and exciting.” I’d like to see them succeed though the odds are daunting.

    Fisker has a couple of things going for them. One is of course that Fisker is known for design. Two is that he has a lot of contacts in the industry.

    It’s quite possible that the deal with BMW is the first step in a sale. We know BMW is moving forward with trying to develop and EREV and at some point, if Fisker has a technological lead, it may make more sense to buy the tech than to develop it.

    Also of great interest for me is Fisker’s earlier announcement of its new transmission. Transmissions are a key sticky point for EVs. People like to say that electric motors produce maximum torque at 0 MPH, but what they mostly produce is heat, and the fixed step down transmissions used in cars like the Leaf are not very efficient. I’m interested to see what Fisker has come up with.

    Fun times!


  15. 15
    DonC

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (10:55 am)

    kdawg: I’ll believe it when they are for sale at a dealer. Sorry, i just have my doubts. Fool me once…

    Years ago I put down a deposit on a Karma. At the time I think the deposit was $1000 and the car was $65K or something. I thought it was a good deal and so did Bob Lutz. He said something like “closer to $100,000″. I guess he was right.


  16. 16
    Jeff Cobb

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (10:56 am)

    Raymondjram:
    Hi Jeff!

    Are there any pictures of the Fisker Nina to post here, so we can see what the Volt-competition looks like?

    The sad news is that Fisker will not be using an American engine in the Nina. Oh, well, we can’t win them all!

    Raymond

    Hi Raymond,

    Look up. … :)

    I replaced the middle picture with one just released.

    Jeff


  17. 17
    nasaman

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:01 am)

    Jeff Cobb: I replaced the middle picture with one just released.

    Hey Jeff, was the Fisker guy you got that new photo from named Darth? :) :) :) :)


  18. 18
    James

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:03 am)

    nasaman: I don’t disagree, James. But we need to remember a few things…1 – Fisker has an established reputation based on his factory in Finland, which is producing Karmas (and has assembled cars for other makers such as Porsche)2 – Fisker has purchased GM’s former Pontiac Solstice / Saturn Sky assembly plant in Delaware to produce Nina project vehicles3 – They have over $1 Billion in the bank, including a U.S. DOE loan for $528.7 million for Nina cars4 – Fisker’s EREV drive train is designed by their partner, a California company & US DOD EV supplier

    All these points are very true – and the result is that the Karma will make it to market. What these points don’t bear out is the nearly unfathomable costs of producing a new model automobile, let alone an entire new brand.

    Here’s an excerpt from Motor Trend’s article entitled, “Is Elon Musk The Next Preston Tucker?”

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————-

    “Tesla has about $180 million to invest in Model S production, after brokers’ fees and Musk’s share, notes AutoTrends analyst Joe Phillippi. The entire $226 million would pay for a high-volume car’s mild face lift, says 2953 Analytics’ Jim Hall, though tooling for the 50,000-unit Model S is cheaper than tooling for a 250,000 per-year car. Tesla’s $465 million in government loans could fund the tooling in Tesla’s newly acquired NUMMI plant, but it also needs to fund dealership establishment, warranty fulfillment and the Model S’ validations.”
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————-

    My point is that any new make and model car ( especially one with a whole new drivetrain ) has to reach profitability before all the aforementioned funds dry up – no simple task. In fact, no domestic automaker startup has been able to show sustained profitability and survive since the establishment of the “Big Three” automotive companies many moons ago. The costs are just too staggering. After that article was written, Tesla recieved a major transfusion of Toyota cash at the expense of nearly half ownership. Perhaps this too will be in the cards for Fisker, we’ll have to wait and see.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  19. 19
    Jeff Cobb

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:09 am)

    nasaman: Hey Jeff, was the Fisker guy you got that new photo from named Darth? :):):):)

    No, I sheepishly reply, his name was Edmunds – which only posted an hour ago … :)


  20. 20
    KUD

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:16 am)

  21. 21
    Jeff Cobb

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:18 am)

    Mark Wagner: Fisker should provide a basis or evidence for his claim that “…BMW is known for producing the best and most fuel efficient gasoline engines in the world”. Personally I don’t know that to be true. In fact I have never previously heard a claim that BMW makes the most fuel efficient gasoline engines or that they are known in the U.S. for any 4 cylinder engines. I can’t even find a BMW with a 4 cylinder engine or a BMW that gets better than 28 mpg on bmwusa.com.

    It may be a dubious claim, but that BMW knows how to put together a four-banger is without question. It has extracted 1,200 reliable horsepower from an F1 racing 1.5-liter turbo based on a 1960s block. Its new 1-Series goes back to a four-cylinder like the first gen M3 had, and that is the new hot M to get in that category.

    If it wanted to go for mpg, that would be do-able. I don’t know if these coming to Fisker will deliver “the best” mpg either, but they are probably very good.


  22. 22
    Jason M. Hendler

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:36 am)

    Jeff,

    I take exception with your assertion that GM went bankrupt due to mismanagement. GM went bankrupt due to unsustainable legacy costs stemming from exhorbitant union contracts. No management can work around such crippling loads.


  23. 23
    Noel Park

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:37 am)

    kdawg: I’ll believe it when they are for sale at a dealer. Sorry, i just have my doubts. Fool me once…

    #13

    Yup. +1

    BMW had better work on a COD basis IMHO, LOL.


  24. 24
    Jeff Cobb

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:40 am)

    Jason M. Hendler,

    No offense intended. Others have said this before I did. No doubt your points hold water too.


  25. 25
    Noel Park

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:42 am)

    Jeff Cobb: It has extracted 1,200 reliable horsepower from an F1 racing 1.5-liter turbo based on a 1960s block.

    #21

    Any idea what the mpg was, LOL. It was a truly impressive piece of history and won the World championship for Nelson Piquet, but fuel economy??????????????


  26. 26
    Jeff Cobb

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:47 am)

    Noel Park,

    Sheesh, I dunno. Maybe it was about 3 mpg? LOL.

    We think 100 hp/liter is an accomplishment. Some have said this 1.5 qualified with just shy of 1500 hp, so that’s almost 1000 hp/liter.


  27. 27
    James

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:49 am)

    DonC,

    No kidding, huh? We remember the story of the Tesla Roadster’s gearbox ( Talk about risky business! ). It was said that Tesla contracted with about every major transmission company – Tremec, Magna, etc. and four manufacturers later, Tesla had to ship it’s first Roadster customers a two-speed sports car with one gear permanently locked out! Eventually we know Tesla scrapped a multi-speed answer completely and just sells the Roadster with a compromise one-speed, Borg Warner sourced unit!

    VOLT – IT’S MORE FREEDOM THAN ELECTRIC! ,

    James


  28. 28
    Jeff Cobb

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (12:00 pm)

    DonC,

    Here’s another EV transmission company working toward proving and selling a 2-speed and multi-speed.

    http://www.hybridcars.com/news/vocis-road-testing-multi-speed-ev-transmission-30934.html


  29. 29
    Loboc

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (12:26 pm)

    Jason M. Hendler:
    Jeff,

    I take exception with your assertion that GM went bankrupt due to mismanagement.GM went bankrupt due to unsustainable legacy costs stemming from exhorbitant union contracts.No management can work around such crippling loads.

    Who signed the contract?


  30. 30
    Jackson

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (12:44 pm)

    “Fisker’s Karma-inspired Nina extended-range vehicles – to ultimately consist of a mid-size sedan, coupe and crossover – are to begin production in a former GM plant in Wilmington, Del., by the end of next year.”

    I know where Fisker can find another former GM plant — in Doraville, Ga.

    Also, Georgia is a “Right to work” state.

    No, I don’t know why GM abandoned us. Could be the age of the facility, around 70 years; though GM kept the plant relevant with modernization during that time. It wasn’t just GM, either; Ford had a plant in nearby Hapeville. Today, the only automobile manufacturing in the State belongs to Korean-owned Kia.

    “This small outside-the-box company has very rapidly moved into U.S. territory, building on the ashes of GM’s former mismanagement.”

    Lots of ashes around. They’d better hurry, though; if Doraville is any judge, there will be a lot of local pressure to raze them.

    … wouldn’t it be ironic if …


  31. 31
    Raymondjram

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (1:04 pm)

    Loboc: So it’s a compact two-door sport wagon like a Chevy Vega Kammback. I always thought Vega was ahead if it’s time!

    Thanks for the memory. I had a 1975 Vega Kammback (metallic copper color), and I sold it in 1984 to a car racer who replaced the 2.3 L engine, transmission, and rear end with a set from his crashed Camaro, which he used it to race again (and won prizes). So it had a second life!

    Raymond


  32. 32
    Raymondjram

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (1:16 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,
    We think 100 hp/liter is an accomplishment.

    I believe 100 HP per liter is easy to achieve. I remember strolling into a Jaguar dealer with my father around 1968, and seeing a blue XK6 there. It had a 2-liter inline-six engine with six carburetors, and the sign near the car said that the engine generated 200 HP.

    Raymond


  33. 33
    Raymondjram

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (1:20 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Hi Raymond,

    Look up. …

    I replaced the middle picture with one just released.

    Jeff

    Isn’t that vehicle called the Surf? Then, what happened to the Nina? Is the Nina similar to the Karma or different?

    Raymond


  34. 34
    Jeff Cobb

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (1:41 pm)

    Raymondjram: Isn’t that vehicle called the Surf? Then, what happened to the Nina? Is the Nina similar to the Karma or different?

    Raymond

    Oh, is that what you meant? I found no pictures for the Nina line.

    Yes, that’s a Karma variant.

    I hear the Nina will be based on the Karma.


  35. 35
    kdawg

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (1:47 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: I replaced the middle picture with one just released.

    Though a limited view, I actually like the looks of the Surf more than the Karma.


  36. 36
    kdawg

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (1:53 pm)

    Loboc: Who signed the contract?

    The person that prevented the strike.


  37. 37
    kdawg

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (1:57 pm)

    OT:

    A123 stock up over 10% today, and GM up almost 6%


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    Sep 7th, 2011 (1:58 pm)

    Expect the Surf and every other vehicle from Fisker to look great. Puts some extra competitive pressure on GM to come out with even better-looking designs, ala the Converj. Come out with a POS now, and you’ll get crushed. Me likey a lot.


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    James

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (2:46 pm)

    While I don’t recall anyone claiming BMW the high mileage 4 cyl. champ – they can make very good engines, no doubt. Scan the data on this link for award winners from the last few years – included are “best green engines”, and “Best Economic Engine”,…. Many of BMW’s award-winning ICEs seem to be the larger displacement type and, of course, diesels. The cache of an expensive sedan toting a BMW mill does, however, have big perks on the sales floor.

    http://www.ukipme.com/engineoftheyear/previous04.html

    Since refiners in North America primarily produce gasoline and not diesel, for our shores it would seem a no-brainer for someone to produce an EVer, EREV or PHEV with a genset by the leader in home/recreation generators: Honda. I own a Honda generator and it’s so quiet and smooth compared to any I’ve seen or heard.

    I’ve seen the EVs with genset trailers – but I’m still waiting on some ingenious do-it-yourselfer to emerge out of his/her garage with a lightweight lithium ion or poly EREV ( Maybe a 1st gen Honda Insight, CRX or basic Civic? ) with space underhood for a little Honda generator they can switch on when needed.

    VOLT – IT’S MORE FREEDOM THAN ELECTRIC! ,

    James


  40. 40
    Jason M. Hendler

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (2:55 pm)

    Loboc: Who signed the contract?

    What choice did GM management have when the union was striking or threatening to strike? Of course management will “kick the can down the road”, knowing such promises won’t be kept decades in the future. You keep acting like management had any choice.


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    Loboc

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (4:12 pm)

    Jason M. Hendler: What choice did GM management have when the union was striking or threatening to strike?Of course management will “kick the can down the road”, knowing such promises won’t be kept decades in the future.You keep acting like management had any choice.

    Management that kicks the can isn’t managing. For the corporation to survive, it needs a workforce. If the people of Hoffa aren’t them, then move on. Don’t kill your company over it.


  42. 42
    Loboc

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (4:16 pm)

    James: I own a Honda generator and it’s so quiet and smooth compared to any I’ve seen or heard.

    The problem is it’s not powerful enough for sustained driving. Ya need some KW to do the job.

    The Volt genset is about 53KW. That’s enough to run an entire house (all circuits) with some left over.


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    shaun

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (4:48 pm)

    Mark Wagner,

    Maybe you should look at BMW website and not BMWUSA. They offer 4 cylinders in the 1,3,5 series if you live overseas.


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    Loboc

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (4:51 pm)

    Raymondjram: I believe 100 HP per liter is easy to achieve.

    Not all that easy. That’d mean a 5.7l engine (350cid or small-block Chevy or small Hemi) would produce 570 hp! The current big Hemi (and SS Camaro) are around 470hp with over 6l displacement.

    Back in the day, HP wasn’t calculated the same. All the supplemental (but necessary) components’ draw such as alternator, water pump, etc. were not counted in the HP calc thereby inflating the reported HP rating.

    100HP/100cubic-inches is relatively doable. 100HP/liter is pretty out there for a streetable engine.


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    shaun

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (5:11 pm)

    Loboc,

    Think they where saying its easy if GM and other US auto companies wanted to. Doesn’t the Corvette still use an old push rod 2 valve engine design? The last time i purchased a push rod engine was 1994. All cars after that where OHV of DOHV engines with 3,4 or 5 valve per cylinder.

    Audi engine are 100hp per liter and are very streetable…


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    DonC

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (5:40 pm)

    Jason M. Hendler: I take exception with your assertion that GM went bankrupt due to mismanagement. GM went bankrupt due to unsustainable legacy costs stemming from exhorbitant union contracts.

    One word will tell you Jeff is right: FORD. Ford faced the same problems as GM, only more so, and survived. The only difference was the guy at the top.


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    DonC

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (6:10 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Here’s another EV transmission company working toward proving and selling a 2-speed and multi-speed.

    That’s an interesting cite but I confess being intrigued with YASA motors. The motor is tiny, maybe 1/10th the Volt’s motor/transmission in volume, yet it produces 3x the torque. The possibilities are large. Even better, it seems to work! LOL


  48. 48
    Noel Park

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (6:18 pm)

    Loboc: 100HP/liter is pretty out there for a streetable engine.

    #44

    Motorcycles do it every day. The latest Kawasaki 1000cc Z10 has something like 147 hp.

    Edit – 162.8 hp at the rear wheel on an independent chassis dyno. And the BMW S1000RR made 185.2 hp! Scary!


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    Noel Park

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (6:25 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Some have said this 1.5 qualified with just shy of 1500 hp, so that’s almost 1000 hp/liter.

    #26

    With about 60 psi of boost! They probably changed engines after qualifying, LOL. I assume that the expected engine life was just about the length of one Grand Prix, or maybe 200 miles.

    Years ago BMW was the honored marque at the Monterey Historics. They gave us a book about Nelson Piquet and his experiences with that engine. Fascinating stuff. Your reference to it brings back a lot of memories. Thanks.


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    pat

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (6:29 pm)

    hmm Amazing someone who spends $100K on karma and worried about the trunk size? I see many sole drivers – driving the van which can accomodate 8-9 but yes thay want to buy a car with everything this and that legroom, headroom, can take 8-9 passengers and room for clubs, groceries and oh yeah the stuff they bought at HD… lol


  51. 51
    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (8:16 pm)

    Noel Park: #44

    Motorcycles do it every day.The latest Kawasaki 1000cc Z10 has something like 147 hp.

    Edit – 162.8 hp at the rear wheel on an independent chassis dyno.And the BMW S1000RR made 185.2 hp!Scary!

    Yeh but it’s probably a “peaky motor”


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    Jeff Cobb

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (8:46 pm)

    Noel Park,

    Yeah, no doubt. Don’t want to be near that thing if it blows up either. My impression was they just dialed the boost back and the engine survived surprisingly long. Not sure how often they D & E’d it or did rebuilds.

    Glad it brought back good memories.


  53. 53
    Jeff Cobb

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (8:52 pm)

    George S. Bower: Yeh but it’s probably a “peaky motor”

    Relatively peaky but not bad. Torque might be between 78-82 pound feet more or less for a liter sized sportbike.

    Double that to a 2-liter, and you’d have somewhere around 325 hp, 160 pound-feet torque with no turbo or supercharger needed.

    They make the power by revving. I think BMW’s redline is around 15,000 rpm.

    I rode one at Willow Springs, and it was a blast.


  54. 54
    George S. Bower

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (8:58 pm)

    My K12S motor puts out 155 HP to the rear wheels (550 lbs), but has a pretty flat torque curve. If you remember to be in 2nd or so,, you can be pass someone over a yellow in about 0.5 seconds.

    Having an accel rate at your fingertips that is 1 second better than the Tesla roadster (0-60).

    What could be better!!!!.

    GSB


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    Jeff Cobb

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (9:09 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    I know. The toys keep getting better and better. My old 435-pound ’98 R1 with tuned carbs and an Akra ti pipe put down 148.4 on a dyno. It can lift the front wheel straight up at 80-plus mph.


  56. 56
    evnow

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (9:26 pm)

    stuart22:
    Among the boutique companies, it sure appears that Fisker has taken away the traction from Tesla, who seems to be simply treading water. I would have thought Tesla was much closer to getting their own sedan into the market than was Fisker, but no – Fisker has stolen the spotlight.

    What ?

    Tesla is a proven company with thousands of EVs on the road, partnerships with two auto majors, contract to develop drive trains for RAV4 EV – and most importantly – a very appealing & highly anticipated EV coming out next year.

    All that Fisker has are iffy reviews.


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (9:41 pm)

    evnow: What ?

    Tesla is a proven company with thousands of EVs on the road, partnerships with two auto majors, contract to develop drive trains for RAV4 EV – and most importantly – a very appealing & highly anticipated EV coming out next year.

    All that Fisker has are iffy reviews.

    Totaly agree and they have Toyota backing. I think the S at 60K is a better deal,,,but the Volt at 40 takes the prize.
    GSB


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    theflew

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (9:47 pm)

    Loboc: The problem is it’s not powerful enough for sustained driving. Ya need some KW to do the job.

    The Volt genset is about 53KW. That’s enough to run an entire house (all circuits) with some left over.

    I think a lot of people don’t understand this. The largest Honda generator is ~ 7KW. Get 8 of those and you could power the Volt. How loud is 8 Honda generators and how much gas would they consume.


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    Eco_Turbo

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (10:14 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    Listen to the sound about the middle of this video. I guess Quimera knows about the multispeed benefits.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jIcWBe2_4w


  60. 60
    Jeff Cobb

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (10:44 pm)

    Eco_Turbo,

    Hmm. He is using a standard style shifter. No paddles. Still, they are on the right path.

    Neat video. Max visceral effect. The car is pretty. What’s the range?

    Since I started riding and covering E bikes (and now cars) about a year and a half ago, and talking to manufacturers, I did not ever quite buy the arguments in favor of one speed. I get the max torque at 0 rpm thing, but that’s kind of like like saying I have 454 c.i. Chevy, and it can run in third gear all the time.

    Yes, this is true, but imagine what a gearbox would do …

    Fact is, it costs more and that’s the real crux of the matter. EVs are are already having to be subsidized to be semi competitive, and the batteries and control electronics cost so much! But don’t try and sell me on why a gearbox would not help it … That is just a line to justify keeping costs down. In time, as economies of scale increase, multispeeds ought to catch on in one form or another. Even a CV trans is better than one ratio.


  61. 61
    nasaman

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:13 pm)

    evnow: All that Fisker has are iffy reviews.

    You must be kidding! Or else the reviews you’ve read so far were on very early prototypes, not on a very refined “production prototype” Karma like I drove/reported on here last week…

    http://gm-volt.com/2011/09/01/driving-impressions-fisker-karma-vs-chevy-volt-vs-nissan-leaf/

    /Note that my criticisms were about picky stuff —not about driveability (excellent), performance (neck-snapping), smoothness/quietness/etc. The Karma is a highly-refined, high-performance grand-touring-car par-excellence! Be sure to view the excellent video by an Autocar reviewer!


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    kdawg

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:16 pm)

    evnow: and most importantly – a very appealing & highly anticipated EV coming out next year.

    Again, I’ll believe it when it’s for sale at dealers. All we have so far is promises and delays.


  63. 63
    evnow

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:16 pm)

    James:
    After that article was written, Tesla recieved a major transfusion of Toyota cash at the expense of nearly half ownership.

    Where are you getting your “facts” from ? Are you talking about the small stake Toyota gets for their $50 Million investment ? Or the large Billion dollar contract to supply RAV4EV drive train ?


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    evnow

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:20 pm)

    kdawg: Again, I’ll believe it when it’s for sale at dealers. All we have so far is promises and delays.

    No we also have Alpha cars on a tour – and invitation to people to come to the NUMMI plant to ride in the Beta cars.

    More than what GM showed of Volt at this point.

    Anyway, there is a 1 Million bet between Musk & Dan Neil about this. When that kind of bet makes mainstream press, it is a good day for Tesla.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-autos-telsa-20110906,0,4638023.story?track=rss


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    evnow

     

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    Sep 7th, 2011 (11:34 pm)

    nasaman: You must be kidding! Or else the reviews you’ve read so far were on very early prototypes, not on a very refined “production prototype” Karma like I drove/reported on here last week…

    http://classicdriver.com/uk/magazine/3600.asp?id=15288

    flooring the throttle creates a significant noise from the engine, but power delivery is delayed due to its having to be sent through the electric motors before reaching the rear wheels. The lack of acceleration combined with the aural drama from the exhausts (mounted directly behind the front wheels for stylistic reasons) can be somewhat confusing at first, as though you’re accelerating in neutral in a car with a traditional gearbox. This may be one of the rare occasions where a new silencer would be a, er, sound investment…

    My source for all things Karma, may be biased, though.

    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/870-Fisker-Karma/page90

    ps : Interesting their use of the word Karma – which has negative connotations.


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    Mitch

     

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    Sep 8th, 2011 (9:49 am)

    DonC: One word will tell you Jeff is right: FORD. Ford faced the same problems as GM, only more so, and survived. The only difference was the guy at the top.

    While I agree the guy at the top made a difference, Ford was not “even more so” GM has more retirees than ford has retirees and current employees.. legacy costs for GM are more than Ford and Chrysler combined by a factor of about 1.5. I am not anti union, but the mis managament at the “big 3″ allowed the union to received great contracts in the good years, but NEVER gave back when it was bad, it was always more more more, and the management agreed. This si why the UAW has such a BAD rep, and HAD to agree to contract changes. Ford also did not go the same route as GM and Chrysler because they got funding befre the crisis. Remember everyone was amazed they mortgaged EVERYTHING including the blue oval for 23 Billion. If they had not I woud GUARANTEE they would have needed governement bailouts as well. Ig GM and Chrysler could have followed Ford inobtaining credit by mortgaging everything after the market went s**tsville, they would not have needed it. The government funded because the financial world COULD NOT.
    no one can point and say “this is why…” one reason…


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    jeffhre

     

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    Sep 8th, 2011 (11:38 am)

    Jason M. Hendler: I take exception with your assertion that GM went bankrupt due to mismanagement. GM went bankrupt due to unsustainable legacy costs stemming from exhorbitant union contracts.

    And the folks responsible for setting the vision which became the company’s goals, and executing those goals, including negotiating contracts with unions and employees were…space zombies who ran amuk…oops, I meant to say management?


  68. 68
    JeremyK

     

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    Sep 9th, 2011 (11:54 am)

    I saw a Fisker two days ago while driving home from the Warren Tech Center. Very cool looking auto. I had to do a double take because I didn’t recognize what it was at first. East-bound I-696 Metro Detroit area.