Posts from ‘Fisker’
Bob Lutz has accomplished more in his golden years than most auto execs do in a lifetime. At age 69, Lutz became General Motors’ Vice Chairman of Product Development and helped create cars such as the Cadillac CTS, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Malibu, Buick Enclave, Buick LaCrosse, and Pontiac Solstice. He also championed the electric/gas Chevrolet Volt before withdrawing from an active roll at GM in 2009. Now at age 81, Lutz is launching a high-performance sedan, the VL Destino.
Gilbert Villarreal, a self-made millionaire in the auto components industry, decided that replacing the hybrid powertrain of a Fisker Karma with a Chevrolet Corvette engine was a great idea. Villareal turned to friend and business partner in VL (Villareal Lutz) watches, Bob Lutz, to make it happen. Lutz says he starts with a well-engineered car and adds a well-engineered drivetrain. The German engineering firm that helped bring about the Fisker Karma (as well as the Porsche Panamera) is engineering the changes needed for the engine transplant.
Colleague Ed Piotrowski recently noted seeing more and more hybrid vehicles “flying down the highway with nearly reckless abandon.” I see that here in Phoenix as well, and I’ll bet it’s happening all over the country.
I’d guess these leadfoots think they can afford to drive faster than they otherwise would because of their hybrid’s high mpg ratings. They’re wrong. Hybrid-drive systems by their very nature are most efficient at relatively low speeds, say up to 50 mph. Go much above that for very long and real-world mpg falls dramatically. This helps explain why hybrids typically earn higher EPA ratings for city driving versus highway driving, although the test procedure that yields these numbers bears little relation to how most people actually drive.
It looks like it’s one step forward for Fisker Automotive after a few steps back. The maker of luxury plug-in hybrid electric cars has announced the next vehicle in its expanding family—the Atlantic sedan—at this week’s New York Auto Show.
Though an on-sale date, prices, and specifications were withheld when the design prototype of the four-door Atlantic was unveiled, the company touted the car’s “practical interior” and said it is “aimed at young families who want to drive an impactful, high-end vehicle while making a positive statement about responsibilities.” It was compared dimensionally to the Audi A5. We take all of this to mean that whenever the Atlantic’s tide finally comes in, it will be priced somewhat south of Fisker’s larger flagship Karma sedan, which is on sale now at a starting price of $102,000.
The company said the standard powertrain configuration will be rear-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive optionally available. Power will again come from a plug-in electric motor supported by a 4-cylinder gasoline engine that acts as a generator to charge the lithium-ion batteries that feed the electric-drive system.