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New Transmission To Give Future Fiskers Veyron-Level Performance?

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On: Mon, Aug 1, 2011 at 9:01AM | By: Chris Weiss

New Transmission To Give Future Fiskers Veyron-Level Performance?

Henrik Fisker. He's a man that I'm beginning to know for two distinctly different reasons. Reason 1: He designs a helluva beautiful car. Reason 2: He tends to make bold (exaggerated?) claims like few other top-level execs that I've seen.

A few months ago, Fisker prophetized that electric cars are poised to be as successful as smartphones and flat-screen TVs. Possible, but way too early to tell. Currently, that just looks like overconfidence and exaggeration.

This week, Fisker made an equally bold, possibly foolish, proclamation: a new gearbox that's under development will one day help electric cars to deliver "Veyron levels of performance."

Before we get into what the new gearbox is all about, let's just analyze the situation. The 400-hp Fisker Karma hits 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and tops out around 125 mph. The Veyron, on the other hand, hits 62 mph in around 2.5 seconds and tops out at a world's fastest 267.8 mph in Super Sport tune. That leaves a whole lot of real estate—say the size of China—between the Karma and Veyron.

Now even if Fisker really believes in its gearbox and future cars, wouldn't it be smarter to go with something a little lower down the totem pole than a Veyron? A Porsche 911, maybe? A Ferrari 458 GTB to latch onto a car that's been hot in the press all year? Even a more general "Lamborghinis" or "Ferraris" could have sufficed. Why choose what's basically the world's highest performing supercar, the face of high-performance exotics?

To make a bigger, bolder headline, I suppose. Still, seems like those words are already haunting him.

The new gearbox would feature several speeds unlike the single-speed transmissions more common in current-generation electric cars, including the Karma. Fisker believes that the multi-speed gearbox will help future electric cars transfer all their torque onto the wheels more effectively and increase acceleration times. Unlike gas cars, electric cars have 100 percent of their torque available from the time you step on the pedal, so Fisker believes that better channeling all that torque will essentially make electric cars superior to gasoline cars when it comes to acceleration.

To be fair, Fisker's full statement as quoted by Autocar is: "With the torque at the wheels increased by the use of a gearbox, Veyron levels of performance should be possible." So, he does term the phrase in the much less definitive "should be possible."

Still, though: Veyron-like performance? Taking off like smartphones? How about tempering the ol' mouthpiece there, Henrik. You'll still impress us if your predictions are a little less outlandish.

Then, again, the way we've watched the Karma's production plod through delay after delay, it could be years or decades before this new gearbox is readied. By that time, the Veyron's performance may be obsolete.


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