Written by John Meadowcroft ▼

Fisker Karma goes petrol over pricing worries

Fisker Karma goes petrol over pricing worries

This should raise a few hackles...

Electric car maker Fisker has signed a deal with VL Automotive to provide them with its luxury Karma plug-in hybrid car, but instead they will be fitted with supercharged V8 petrol engines.

The new 'Destino', as it will be named, has been given the green light after criticism of the Karma's price and the fact it uses electric power by the company that plans to strip its engine out and replace it with a petrol powertrain.

VL supremo Bob Lutz twisted the knife further by apparently criticising the Fisker model by saying, "In this price class, very few people want an electric drivetrain.

"They don't want an expensive car with an electric drivetrain; they want a drivetrain that's appropriate to the car.

"I think this will fulfil the desires of a lot of people who are looking for an American high-performance four-door sedan of very advanced design."

Instead of the Karma's low-emission electric technology, the new $180,000. four-door Destino is a performance car fitted with an aggressive 638-hp, 6.2-litre supercharged LS9 V8 engine in place of its eco-friendly hybrid powertrain.

The Destino is inspired by the Fisker Karma hybrid, and is expected to be faster than other four-door models in its class including the Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide. The Destino was revealed at the Detroit Auto Show, and flies in the face of everything Fisker and its followers have ever stood for.

VL Automotive have also added a redesigned front fascia and headlamps. Plans are also afoot to retune the suspension and the chassis, to improve the performance of the V8. Other specifications have yet to be released.

Launched in 2008 the Fisker Karma was one of the world's first production plug-in hybrid electric cars. The project was hit by a number of setbacks, though.

Originally slated for a 2009 launch, first deliveries didn't begin until July 2011. The Environmental Protection Agency only certified the car's emissions and drive range in October of the same year.

Fisker stopped production of the Karma soon after in 2012, citing the need for new investment into the company. Its battery supplier, A123 Systems also went bankrupt.

Fisker, who counted Leonardo DiCaprio as one of its investors, were also part of a legal dispute with Tesla, who claimed that the Fisker Karma was being developed with Tesla technology.

The court found in Fisker's favour in 2009.

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