The Karma Revero tale is another common one in the luxury electric car space. Here’s how it goes: automaker announces concept or actually builds production models, goes bankrupt, resuscitates with investor cash. See the case of the Lucid Air we discussed.
The Karma Revero started life as a the Fisker Karma launched in 2012. After Fisker’s battery supplier A123 Systems succumbed to bankruptcy with two recalls, Fisker was left high and dry. Cars catching fire added to Fisker’s woes. Bankruptcy followed in 2013.
In a bankruptcy auction the following year, Chinese auto parts supplier Wanxiang Group swooped in and purchased Fisker and their intellectual property assets, including the manufacturing facility in Delaware. The purchase allowed co-founder Henrik Fisker to retain brand and trademarks. In a smart move, Wanxiang Group also picked up A123. Better to fix problems in a battery designed for the Karma then start from scratch with a new supplier. I’m guessing that’s how the logic went.
Granted New Life
Rebranded as Karma Automotive and formed in late 2015, the company relocated to California and quickly debuted the refreshed Revero model in 2016, based on Fisker’s Karma 2012 model. However, outdated electric technology is a turn off in a competitive market. And the current Revero hosts the same technology since 2011. The Revero needed an update. Interestingly, Mr. Fisker himself has established a new company and says he’s working on a new long-range electric, notably with new battery technology. Don’t want a repeat of the A123 experience.
At the upcoming Shanghai auto show from April 16-25, Karma is set to debut 3 new models they hope will tempt consumers, including the Revero. They enlisted two big guns to up the ante, BMW under the hood and Pininfarina of Ferrari and Alfa Romeo fame for design.
BMW Serves Up Performance
The current Revero is already a head-turner with its sensuous lines and long sloping hood. You know the old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s the powertrain that will get more performance from BMW’s turbocharged three-cylinder to act as a generator to produce electricity. It pushes aside the turbo-charged four cylinder engine from General Motors. The new Revero also engages a new twin motor “rear-drive module”. With these improvements, the Revero engine will supposedly increase its performance by a second: 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds.
Life is in the Details
Aiming to compete in the luxury segment against the big boys, the Revero offers unique enticements. Park in the sun and a solar roof will power up the battery. Not sure how long that takes, but it’s pretty cool. Also, the badges on the Revero are hand-painted, which Karma claims is an industry first. We’re not sure about that either, but surely a nice talking point as you show off your car to interested parties.
In addition to the Revero, Karma will reveal the Karma Vision, an all-electric concept car. No details on that one, except for a photo of the car disguised in the shadows. And then there’s the Pininfarina collaboration, also shrouded in mystery, with a teaser image but without a name. However, sporting a Pininfarina design, there’s lots of anticipation for this one.
The Karma story will continue to develop in Shanghai. Find out to follow it in person at the show by visiting the official site.