If you have any interest in performance cars or electric vehicles, the Fisker Karma might have popped up on your radar over the last few years.
Most may recognise it from the TV segment with James May and AC/DCs Brian Johnson, who drove the sleek saloon and Brians vintage Bentley in Florida.
Wherever youve seen it before, what you might not know is that the Karma will soon hit UK shores.
But first, heres a science lesson. Pay attention at the back, and stop passing notes to your neighbour.
The Fisker Karma is a range-extended electric car.
Like the Vauxhall Ampera, this means the Karma is primarily powered by electricity – electric motors feeding power to the rear wheels are what make it move – but once the 50 miles or so of electric range has been used up, a 2.0-litre, turbocharged petrol engine kicks in to supply extra juice.
That’s different from a full electric car, which has no backup generator, and different from a regular hybrid, in which the engine can be called upon at any time to drive the wheels itself. You get the best of both worlds – smooth driving characteristics of a full electric car, plus a dash of extra range for those times you need to break beyond city limits.
50 miles may not sound much, but if you think about your average commute, that may well be enough to get you to your destination, and even back.
If you can recharge at either end – with prices expected to start from comfortably over 70,000, well assume you have a garage in which to charge it – then youll rarely sip any petrol. Thats the theory, anyway.
The reality is that with 959 pounds-feet of torque to call upon, you may end up draining that juice rather quickly. The Karma is a fast car. 60 mph passes in only 6.3 seconds.
Karmas have been selling well in Europe – take a trip through the Netherlands (no, not that kind of trip) and youll see dozens of the things.
How will it fare when it hits the UK? Time will tell, but buyers around its London dealership will no doubt be attracted to its unusual looks and low carbon footprint, so it may be common in the capital too.
Fisker says right-hand drive ones will go on sale in 2014. Thats a bit of time to wait, but at least owners of left-hookers will be able to step from their eco-wagons straight onto the pavement.
Thatll offset some of the uncool footprint of counting Justin Bieber as a fellow owner