Published October 18, 2012
By Jeff Cobb
Some advanced-tech automotive enthusiasts may be more than a little skeptical of Fisker Automotive in light of its roller coaster publicity ride to date, but its Karma series hybrid has just racked up four more awards in New York, California, Germany and Sweden.
The luxury plug-in sedan was acknowledged with an Innovation by Design Award Tuesday in New York by Fast Company magazine for bringing to market a product design worthy of edging out competitors that included Boeing’s 787 airliner, the Faraday Bike and Ford’s Fusion.
A panel of independent judges including a senior creative from Nike and PepsiCo named the Karma one of the best design-driven innovations of the year.
And on the other side of the country, Motor Trend magazine named the Karma one of its Top 10 Future Classics based on timeless elements it perceives in Henrik Fisker’s design.
“The Karma is significant to Fisker and the automotive industry as the Karma is not only the first vehicle Fisker has ever built,” said Motor Trend, “but it’s also the first luxury extended-range electric vehicle…the Karma is a striking vehicle automobile to look at, and it’ll likely look just as good as it does today, 20 or 30 years from now.”
Also on Tuesday this week, in Germany, the Karma scooped up another design award based on merits Motor Trend had acknowledged.
There, Auto Bild magazine gave its Golden Steering Wheel Award to the Karma as “Classic Car of the Future” – limousine category. This award was not the subjective opinion of a few, but voted for by readers of the respected publication in a country proud of its own engineering and design.
“As the only non-German car to win an award tonight, in the heartland of BMW, Porsche, Mercedes and Audi,” said co-founder Henrik Fisker, “we are extremely proud to be considered in such high esteem just months after bringing our new brand to this very competitive European market.”
And in Sweden, one of the more progressive countries at the forefront of embracing electrification and environmental sustainability, the Karma was voted by Auto Motor Und Sport magazine as the Environmental Car of the Year for 2012.
The Karma was noted for its ability to combine both desire and environmental compatibility while making a statement in automotive development. Its smooth acceleration and sharp road holding paired with near silence in all-electric “stealth” mode were also mentioned.
“These latest awards for the Fisker Karma rightly recognize both the stunning design and technological innovation that this car has brought to the market,” said Fisker CEO, Tony Posawatz, “We truly are bringing customers tomorrow’s car today.”
Last week also, Posawatz announced a projected $55,000 MSRP for the delayed Atlantic series hybrid, estimating also its production date for 2014 or 2015.
The latest awards notwithstanding, skeptical views by some on the sidelines are understandable, as Fisker has been hit hard for issues including recalls due to A123 System batteries – a final straw for A123 that now sees it announcing bankruptcy and liquidation this week.
The six-figure Karma has also come in over budget from earlier high-five-figure projections, and has been scrutinized severely for receiving Energy Department loans that were later frozen due to production delays.
But the company has kept its head down as well as it could, and been hiring industry veterans – among them being Posawatz who successfully ushered the Chevy Volt through development into its first year post launch.
Consumer Reports has also sharply criticized the car’s functionality based on its own criteria, but Fisker Automotive said it topped $100 million in revenues in May, actual owners, venture capitalists and now four more major auto publications add to a growing list of those who say this car and company yet have plenty of promise.
Undoubtedly Fisker has had misfortunes and taken missteps, but it has received praised for risks taken to create an environmentally sustainable auto company based in the U.S., and with all its ups and downs, its story is still very much ongoing.