Seeking closer ties to its component suppliers, key infrastructure elements and a host of specialized human resources, fledgling luxury electric car maker Fisker Automotive, Inc. has opened a 34,000 square-foot Engineering and Development Center in Pontiac, Michigan. In making the announcement, COO Bernhard Koehler noted that "While Fisker Automotive will continue to be headquartered in Irvine, California, the new facility will allow us the opportunity to collaborate with our Michigan supplier base and have everyone under one roof." Currently, Fisker anticipates a staff of about 200 engineers and designers will be working in Pontiac.
A privately held company begun by renowned designer Henrik Fisker, the operation still plans to bring its plug-in hybrid luxury sport sedan, the Fisker Karma, to market by the fourth quarter of next year. The heart of the Karma is the firm's proprietary Q-DRIVE system. Developed by Quantum Technologies, it integrates an electric motor, a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack and a small gasoline engine, allowing the Karma to travel a claimed 50 miles in electric mode and to deliver over 100 mpg on extended trips where the two operating systems can interface most effectively. Although the Karma's 125-mph top speed will be limited to 95 mph when running in the latter configuration, its 6.0-second 0-60 mph capabilities should serve this striking $80,000 grand tourer well in most daily driving duties. And given the fairly modest mileage numbers most owners are likely to run up, Fisker contends that refueling stops at the local gas station could fall to once-a-year levels.