TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Karma Automotive has kept a low profile while building out its California factory and re-engineering the old Fisker Karma, now called the Revero.
While Rivian, Faraday Future, Bollinger Motors and a handful of other startups have garnered headlines as they seek investors for their electric vehicles, Karma Automotive — borne out of the ashes of the old Fisker Automotive — decided to stay out of the news until it had a salable vehicle.
"The way I like to do it is — we are deeds, not words," Bob Kruse, Karma Automotive's chief technology officer, said Wednesday at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars. "We've essentially built the whole enterprise, from a supply chain, through manufacturing, through product engineering. We've got a retail network, a service network and a system to track it all. On a small scale, we are a complete automotive entity. We can talk about what we've done. We can let you drive what we've done. We don't have to make a bunch of promises in a PowerPoint presentation that says, 'Here's what we are going to do if we raise money.' "
Karma Automotive is bankrolled by China's Wanxiang Group Corp. The company's plant is in Moreno Valley, Calif., east of Los Angeles. The plan, Kruse said, is to expand the brand to include crossovers and other vehicles on a new platform the company calls e-Klipse, scheduled for production in 2021. A separate brand will be launched for China. The company has four business units, focusing on vehicles, design, innovation and technology.
The 2020 Revero GT, Kruse says, is the company's core product. While some of the underpinnings can trace their roots to the Fisker Karma of 2012, the new car features a three-cylinder BMW engine that powers a generator providing electricity to two electric motors that drive the rear wheels. The car can travel up to 80 miles on a single charge and around 360 miles on a full charge and full tank of gasoline. The car is expected to cost around $135,000.
Kruse, a former General Motors executive who helped develop the first-generation Chevrolet Volt, said he has recruited former colleagues from GM, and engineers from Ford, BMW and other automakers. "We have a small but deep engineering team," he said.
The company uses additive manufacturing to make some of its parts and builds the complete car at its California plant. Karma will show three vehicles this month at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.