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PHOTO CAPTION: Fisker Karma has electric range up to 50 miles

Dan Neil Meets Fisker's Karma, 'World's Most Interesting Car'

Wall Street Journal's auto reviewer turns his wicked whit on Fisker's luxury electric hybrid.

Published: 19-Feb-2012

This car might be your worst nightmare. A plug-in hybrid electric luxury sedan that costs more than $100,000, from a California company—Orange County, but still—which has borrowed $169 million from taxpayers as part of the Department of Energy's advanced-vehicle-technology loan program; a car built not in the heartland but the socialist paradise of Finland; a car that, with the arithmetic all in, averages 52 mpg-e (that's the EPA's metric for plug-in hybrid EVs), which means that for all its fancy-dancy lithium-iron-phosphate star drive, it gets about the same fuel economy as a conventional Prius hybrid.

Me? I love it, but then, everybody knows I'm in the bag for Finland.

Meet the world's most interesting car. Every square centimeter of the Fisker Karma riots with clarity and design intent and vested individuality and scorn for convention the likes of which we haven't seen since the Tucker Torpedo. Which is to say, the Karma is radically different from any other car. "Different" might strike you as an empty accolade, but believe me, in the global car business, the forces of homogenization (fuel economy and crash standards, aerodynamics, limited supplier base, material costs) are almost irresistible. That's particularly so in the premium luxury segment. Yes, the BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Lexus full-size sedans and four-door coupes are great, but they are for the most part interchangeably great. A car so far outside the mainstream as the Karma is nothing less than a Nietzschean act of will. And cojones.

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