While many automakers are developing plug-in hybrids, the first model sold in the United States is likely to be the Karma, made by the startup Fisker of Irvine, CA, and scheduled for its first sales in the summer of 2010. (Toyota says it will lease 500 plug-in Prius models worldwide for testing this year, including 150 in the United States, and GM says its Chevy Volt will go on sale in November 2010.) Once the Karma has been plugged in to charge, the luxury four-passenger sedan can run on batteries alone for 50 miles. After that, an onboard gasoline generator kicks in to recharge the battery, extending the range by 250 miles. Two 150-kilowatt electric motors together deliver 403 horsepower–enough for the car to reach 60 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds in “sport” mode, which uses power from both the battery pack and the gas-powered generator. “Stealth” mode relies exclusively on electricity.
Companies: Fisker Automotive