For new car fans of all ages and interests you can rest assured that there is a bountifully eclectic and impressively stylish array of cars, trucks, minivans and SUVs on display at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show this year. To be quite honest, it was really only some of the showroom ready “production” versions of certain vehicles that struck me as truly horrifying from a visual perspective. But more on that later.
Since the theme of this year’s LA Auto Show is clearly focused on the “electric car,” most every automaker is touting their new environmentally friendly concepts. Some of these electric and alternative energy powertrains are very, very close to arriving on city streets near you. Yes, even beyond the all-saving Nissan Leaf!
For those of you out there who don’t buy into PR rhetoric, you can at the very least see that perhaps this is just the automotive universe apologizing repeatedly for vehicles like the Lincoln Navigator. Oh, wait. They still sell that, don’t they? Still, someone needs to apologize.
As for me, I tried “downsizing” my usual large French fry order at McDonald’s once and instead opted for a less fattening small order. But I wound up having to go back because I didn’t feel full after finishing the tiny bag. At the end of the day often times when you pay more for less that is the only thing that you will end up with. Now that may seem like a useless analogy but bear with me.
You see, that’s how I feel about a future where I may be/will be forced into owning some sort of electric car. Not only do they have very limited ranges but they take forever to power-up after full discharge. That is one reason why I loved the Honda FCX Clarity when I tested it recently—that hydrogen sedan refills in about 3-5 minutes. And it corners with the agility of any Honda.
I won’t get into my opinions about building and developing a nationwide electric car infrastructure but my biggest concern is that they are impractical and boring. The Nissan Leaf just seems like a pricey Versa hatchback for people with too much money and too much “green guilt.” But when it comes to the electric car concept I was truly in for a shock!
You see, an electric car at the 2010 Auto Show introduced me to an entirely new sensation. I am suddenly lusting after the hybrid plug-in gas/electric Fisker Karma. This is a vehicle from a company that is about as old as Lady Gaga’s career. (Note: In all seriousness, Fisker is actually a bit older as it was founded in 2007.)
Now, not only is the Karma so drop dead gorgeous that it makes a Maserati Quattroporte look frumpy but it is also very technologically impressive. And since the plug-in electric batteries in the Karma are backed up by 2.0 liter 260 horsepower ECOTEC 4-cylinder, you will never have to worry about getting stranded if you run one too many errands.
The lithium-ion batteries have a range of 50 miles but the Karma can travel 300 miles on a full battery/gas tank. Fisker quotes 0-60 in 5.9 seconds when in gas/electric mode and 7.9 seconds when running on electric power alone. Overall combined power readings are impressive at 403 horsepower/981 lb. feet of torque.
Prices and an on-sale date have yet to be announced but the Fisker Karma could have a boat anchor under the hood and it would still sell. Sex sells and this is a very sexy electric car. In fact, it’s kind of the only one ever built to my perverse way of thinking.
Apologies to Tesla’s two-door but it is an affront to the lithe and athletic Lotus Elise that it is based upon. The Tesla is technologically impressive but it has more unnecessary visual mass than Kim Kardashian. You know what I mean.
–All photos provided by Todd M. Allen and TacAir Photography