The Fisker Karma is a strikingly styled four-door sedan with bulging fenders and an interior lined with luxurious leather and wood. It's built on a strong but lightweight aluminum frame. Fisker Automotive co-founder Henrik Fisker is a designer himself, formerly with BMW.
It's on the market now at a starting price of $102,000. That's not counting a $7,500 federal tax credit, which makes the effective price $94,500, the company said.
Unfortunately for Fisker, the Fisker Karma stumbled recently when Consumer Reports reported that a test car broke down and had to be towed on a flatbed truck before the magazine had even started testing it.
Fisker said in a written response to the incident that its engineers are working with the local dealer to diagnose the problem. "With about 2,000 Karmas built to date -- 1,000 at retailers and 500 in customer hands -- there are many satisfied Fisker owners around the world, driving without incident," the company said.
The Fisker Karma's claim to fame is that it is one of the first plug-in hybrid cars. Like earlier hybrids, it has battery power and a gasoline engine. What's different is that plugging it into household current can recharge it. The Chevrolet Volt works on a similar concept.
Fisker Automotive, based in Anaheim, Calif., says the Fisker Karma has a total range of 300 miles on a single charge and a full tank of gas. That's 51.6 miles on battery power alone, and nearly 250 more miles using the four-cylinder engine to turn an onboard generator.