I got the chance to meet the car of the future and its creator last week, and all I can say is “they left an impression”.
I wasn’t around when Karl Benz launched the automobile. Nor were you. Neither was I around when Ford worked out a way to bring it to the masses. So was I being given a chance to see history in the making when the Fisker Karma was being unveiled to the Middle East, by the founder himself – Henrik Fisker, who has already etched his name in automotive design chronicles with a few cars that are legends themselves in the small world of sport cars?
Quite like the DB9 or the Z8 he designed, the Fisker Karma too looked absolutely stunning, and had all the makings of being dubbed the “car of the future” with its bat-mobile bearings and electric turbines. Only, the Fisker Karma is not one for the masses. It still remains one’s personal showcase of eco-love for those who can yet afford to practise the values they preach.
“New isn’t easy.” Henrik Fisker unfolds the challenges on the road to creating Fisker automobiles with his partner Barny Koehler, before the car could begin its journey. The idea had takers in the investment world but Fisker had to first convince them the brand wasn’t going the “John DeLorean” way – rolling up in rags before it could win over the rich. This was largely due to the humungous investment in merely setting up base. So, Fisker’s plan on cost cutting was simple – build the car; not the factory. Outsourcing the manufacturing facility thanks to his goodwill from former associations, Henrik Fisker gave shape to the Fisker Karma. Watch the key people talk about Fisker Karma
Accountants that watched over ambitious bankruptcy were not the only ones Fisker spoke to when he built the car. He spoke to people who created fables with the stuff that made the box office tick – Hollywood designers of sci-fi cars. He wanted to make sure that “Karma” looked the part when it laid its claim to driving the future. So, if the Karma looks a bit like a cross between a DB9 and a batmobile, blame it on childhood doodles and DC comics!
The appeal of Fisker Karma is largely about how people interpret “future” as a design language and the undying love for cars, despite the dwindling resource that it now runs on. After all, it’s created by a man who as a child knew he was going to end up doing “something that got to do with cars” and upon the suggestion of folks at Aston Martin, left his home in Denmark and headed for the Automotive design school in Switzerland. Henrik Fisker got his first major break when he was the only one available to take up a “vacation project” of the BMW boss – giving shape to what ended up as the BMW Z8. The rest is a dream that Henrik Fisker has been living.
The Fisker Karma – Is it the future car?
Right now, I would rather call it the bridge to the future. Capable of covering a stretch of 80 km using a one-time electric charge, it should suffice the daily commute of CEOs and entrepreneurs who would like to announce their CSR policy on their way to office and back. If you are driving from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, you could switch from electric to gasoline for the rest of the journey or even save some part of the charge to glide through the city, keeping the emissions low and noise even lower. The Fisker Karma is so silent because it rides on electricity even while using gasoline. The fuel goes to drive the electric turbines, which in turn drive the power to the wheels. But then, I don’t think we are ready to see a sport car as silent as a stealth jet. Well, not yet. So, in order to announce its presence to unsuspecting pedestrians and drooling drivers alike, the Fisker Karma uses “subwoofers” fitted in front and rear bumpers – again they are “exhaust notes” fine tuned by sci-fi specialists of Star Wars or Batman!
Karma is the Indian philosophical equivalent of action that is responsible for its consequences, and I hope this good “Karma” yields only good results. On another note, the Fisker Karma is for those who would like to make an entry into the ballroom or a corporate summit with the opening lines: “The future has arrived. I brought it along.”