Fisker Hybrid Luxury Sedan Rated at 67 mpg

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It may not grab headlines the way the Chevy Volt's claimed 230 mpg figure did, but 67 mpg combined isn't too shabby, especially in a car that looks like the Fisker Karma.

Fisker Automotive, the startup automaker that hopes to have the luxury hybrid sedan on sale in 2010, says the Karma will achieve that fuel economy based on testing methodology being developed for the next generation of hybrids by the Society of Automotive engineers. It is a similar claim to the one General Motors made recently when announcing the Volt's impressive city mileage figure.

Fisker adds that the Karma will emit just 83 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, less even than the 2010 Toyota Prius, which is rated at 89 gm/km.

The Karma and Volt use a similar powertrain configuration known as a series hybrid, but cars that use it are becoming more commonly known as extended range electric vehicles.

Essentially, after running in pure electric mode for a short distance - 50 miles in the case of the Karma, 40 miles in the Volt - and depleting the vehicle's battery, a small internal combustion engine kicks in to generate electricity to drive the car. Unlike a more conventional hybrid like the Ford Fusion, there is no mechanical transmission connecting the engine to the wheels.

Coincidentally, the Karma uses a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine sourced from General Motors for this purpose.

While the Volt is primarily intended to be an economy car, Fisker is aiming the $88,000 Karma at high-end sports sedans, offering 403 horsepower and a zero-to-60 mph time of around 6 seconds. Orders are being taken now, and production is planned to begin in the first half of 2010.

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