Zazzle Shop

Screen printing

Thursday, July 14, 2011

First Fisker Karma To DiCaprio, 3,000 Orders Behind Him, CEO Says


By John Voelcker

Fisker Automotive says it will, finally, deliver its first 2011 Fisker Karma range-extended electric sports sedan later this month.

The lucky recipient, it turns out, will be none other than actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

He's the man who kicked off the whole hybrids-for-Hollywood-stars trend, by showing up at the Academy Awards red carpet several years ago not in a limousine but driving his own humble Toyota Prius.

And DiCaprio is at the head of a list of 3,000 Fisker buyers, according to founder Henrik Fisker, that includes former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, General Colin Powell, and other luminaries.

Early production at the Valmet plant in Finland is now just five cars a week, but that will rise to 300 cars each week once the assembly line is running at full speed. Fisker estimates that production is sold out through early next year.

The 2011 Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid that runs on power from its lithium-ion battery pack for up to 50 miles, after which a 260-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine switches on to generate electricity.

The rear-wheel-drive luxury sports sedan is powered by a pair of electric motors, one ahead of the differential and one behind. The car's space frame is aluminum and it competes in roughly the same class as the BMW 5-Series, Cadillac CTS, and other mid-size luxury sedans.

Only a handful of journalists have driven the Fisker Karma thus far, and only on a closed track.

Drivers thus far, in fact, would indicate Fisker has a taste for royalty. First, His Royal Highness Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, had an had a brief drive back in December 2009.

More recently, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco drove two laps of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit with Fisker in the passenger seat.

We look forward to more comprehensive drive reports from mere mortals.

Last December, Fisker raised the price of the 2011 Karma sedan. For DiCaprio and other early buyers, the car will have a base price of $95,900.

This story, originally written by John Voelcker, was originally posted on, an editorial partner of Talking Points Memo.