How the Fisker Karma Works

Fisker Karma: Exterior Design

The 2010 Fisker Karma is available in three different trim levels.
The 2010 Fisker Karma is available in three different trim levels.
Fisker Automotive

When looking at the Karma, the first standout in the design is the roof. It's formed from one large, curved piece of solar glass that helps recharge the batteries on sunny days. It also serves to improve the cabin's interior climate by absorbing and using that same sunlight rather than simply allowing it to heat the interior air. The solar roof on the Karma will add an estimated 4 to 5 miles (6.4 to 8 kilometers) of battery power per week. A larger, stationary solar array will be available for mounting on a house or garage. The array will supplement power from standard electric outlets and defray some of the charging cost.

According to the company's literature, Karma buyers can choose from three different trim levels: EcoStandard, EcoSport and EcoChic. EcoChic is the most environmentally friendly, and is based on a luxurious and animal-free approach. Leather is replaced by 100 percent Bamboo Viscose, a soft hand textile. EcoGlass trim frames authentic fossilized leaves. EcoGlass is made from recycled sand. Karma's EcoSport series incorporates hand-wrapped premium leather using a 100 percent sustainable manufacturing strategy minimizing the number of hides required and highlighting natural markings.

The Karma's controls bring a futuristic approach as well by introducing the first haptic touch screen available in a car. A haptic touch screen provides feedback senses to the user so if they push a screen button it feels and sounds like a real button was pushed. This screen allows the driver to control climate, audio, and other vehicle systems. Liquid crystal display (LCD) screens provide speed readouts and battery power levels.

For the Karma to succeed it needs more than just cool fossils in the window glass and eco-savvy. The cars are slated for delivery in 2010, but will Fisker have the momentum necessary to break into the ever-competitive (and ever-shrinking) car market? Keep reading to judge for yourself.