Back in the 1980s when underground rap started making its way into the mainstream, one of the forefathers of the genre was Tracy Marrow, better known as Ice-T. After releasing successful albums in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Ice-T turned his attention to the acting world. Since then, you’ve seen Ice-T in films such as “New Jack City”, and he’s been playing NYPD Detective Odafin Tutuola on the long running series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since 2000.
Ice-T already has a nice collection of vehicles, but decided to go more eco-friendly in 2013 when he showed the world his Fisker Karma, which he called his “space shuttle.” Ice-T posted a photo of the vehicle getting waxed in Las Vegas, telling fans that “You can’t front. 100 (percent) electric…It’s a unique car.” People were interested to hear about the Fisker Karma, as not many knew about it beforehand, and not many have heard of it since.
As the electric vehicle market has started to boom, the leader of the industry has been Tesla. Finland based automaker Fisker Automotive tried to get in on the action in 2012 when they started to produce the Karma, and only around 2,400 were produced and 1,800 of them were sold. A vast majority of them ended up in the United States, including in the hands of celebrities such as Ice-T. There were three different types of Karmas created, including the base model ($102,000 MSRP), EcoSport ($110,000 MSRP) and the EcoChic ($116,000 MSRP).
With both an electric motor and an engine, the Karma used both options to present the maximum amount of mileage while also being environmentally friendly. When running on pure electricity, the Karma was able to get an estimated 32 miles according to the Environmental Protection Agency, with a 230 mile total range. When using fuel only, the Karma was only able to get 20 miles per gallon, but a combination of the two which was used showed an impressive 52 miles per gallon.
The expensive ride is quite sporty, but it doesn’t offer much in terms of room. Still, the Karma was great to look at, and also fun to drive. Unfortunately, the good times for Fisker didn’t last long as they had to bow out of the electric market. When the batteries started to malfunction, massive recalls were issued, and it happened on two occasions. The battery supplier that was creating the 20.1 kwH lithium-ion batteries could no longer supply them, meaning that Fisker had to shut down operations.
The automaker eventually declared bankruptcy, selling off its debt and then sold many of the other assets in the company to Wanxiang in China. This has made the Karma a collector’s item in just a short amount of time, although an updated version called the Karma Revero was recently introduced. If you can get your hands on a Karma (and the battery holds up), what kind of performance can you expect?
The Karma is actually quite heavy compared to other electric cars, weighing in at 5,300 pounds. Using 255 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, you could try out a couple of different options. The Karma has the standard operation that uses the battery until it’s depleted, which could get you from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just under eight seconds. If you wanted a bit more speed (or ran out of battery power), you could reach that same speed in just under six seconds.
Overall, the top speed for the Karma was 125 miles per hour, which is considerably lower than other high performance cars, even in the electric category such as ones made by Tesla. The transmission was just one-speed despite having an engine that could use fuel, which hampered a bit of its performance. The Karma ended up costing Fisker more than $600,000 to produce just one, and speed was one of the reasons it sold at such a loss for the company.
Looking at the Karma was likely the biggest selling point for the vehicle, overall, as designer Henrik Fisker drew inspiration from BMW and Aston Martin, two of his previous employers. On the Karma, Fisker said that the Maserati Quattroporte was the basis of the design, making it simplistic yet gorgeous. There’s a certain shine to the Karma, as it was the first vehicle to use glass-flake paint, using recycled glass to be more environmentally conscious.
Driving on sunny days became economical with the Karma, as the panoramic roof acted as a solar panel that could increase the car’s electric range, adding up to 200 miles per drive. Thus, the Karma actually wasn’t too bad if you were looking for an electric vehicle that you could take on long road trips while wowing other drivers. It was also a quick getaway, as the Karma would start if you were nearby and had the key fob in hand.
On the inside, the Karma used recycled wood grain on the dashboard and along the trim, while the seats were made from fine leather, giving it an elegant and classy look that would remind you of sitting in a study. A 10 inch touch screen controlled all of the elements of the Karma, but it wasn’t overbearing like you see in some luxury cars. There’s not much room inside of each Karma, but you’ll feel much classier when sitting inside.
The Karma is no longer in production, which might make you think that the price for this collector’s item is through the roof. In actuality, you can buy one of your own for less than $50,000 on the used market, with some selling for under $40,000, and that’s even for the sportier option. People are more interested in the upgrade to a Revero these days, but you’ll still spot Ice-T driving around his “space shuttle” once in awhile, taking the Karma out for a spin.