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Fisker Karma Production Begins

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On: Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 2:30PM | By: Tim Healey

Fisker Karma Production Begins

Production on the long-awaited Fisker Karma has finally begun. The $88,000 plug-in hybrid sports car will be built in Finland, with U.S. and European deliveries expected to begin next month.

The Karma is capable of traveling up to 50 miles on electricity before a 2.0-liter, 260 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine kicks on. Including the two 201.5 horsepower electric motors, total horsepower is claimed to be 403 ponies and total torque is said to be a whopping 981 lb-ft.

Contract assembly of the car began Tuesday at Valmet Automotive's plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland. Fisker is based in Irvine, California, but it has contracted Valmet—which also builds cars for Porsche—to build the Karma.

The company says it would like to have over 7,000 deliveries this year, but it will ramp up production slowly in order to ensure quality.

Designer Henrik Fisker started the company, betting on a market shift to alternative-fuel vehicles, but the Karma isn't the first high-end plug-in or electric car in the game. The Karma will have to compete with Tesla's $109,000 electric roadster. Mainstream buyers of lower means also have plug-in and electric choices, such as the battery-powered Nissan Leaf and the plug-in extended-range electric Chevrolet Volt.

Fisker is considering an initial public offering this year. Just this past January, the company received $150 million in financing to build other versions of the Karma, and to work on the $39,000 Nina sedan, which will compete with the Volt.

By officially bringing the Karma to production, Fisker now can begin to silence critics who thought the car might never appear. On top of that, if the high-end Karma gets good reviews and sells well, it could provide a nice base for the Nina, which will likely be aimed at a much more mainstream audience.

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