Fisker Surf: Electric Fortitude
There are only a select few oddities in society that make absolute sense. Manufacturing a luxurious and attractive sports wagon with plug-in hybrid technology is one of them. Introducing Fisker’s new Surf, the “flying carpet” of the automotive eco-friendly movement. Porsche pulled it off with the Panamera, Ferrari is making strides with its FF model, and now the Surf adds another performance utility option to the luxury elite class.
It’s absolutely amazing that this American auto manufacturer was non-existent just three and a half years ago. Yet, they continue to add to their cadre of fascinating green energy vehicles including vehicles such as the Karma. Sharing the same platform, design scheme and technologies, both the Surf and Karma have a 50-mile all-electric range (Stealth mode) and a 250-mile gasoline range (Sport mode) from the 260-horsepower and turbocharged 4-cylinder engine borrowed from General Motors. With a single gear, there is no conventional transmission. The gasoline engine will continuously charge the electric battery, but no more than 50%. At that point you have to plug it in to attain the full charge. Switching the thumb input on the steering wheel allows blipping between modes with only a very slight notice of transition. Sport mode automatically kicks in, should the battery die.
I drove the four-door Karma in the rain and was highly impressed with its interior lavishness and acceleration. To my surprise, the 22” designer wheels rotated with no hesitation and the Brembo brakes served their role well in the wet conditions. In Stealth mode, a set of speakers set on the vehicle’s rear bumper engages the Pedestrian Warning System so it can be heard when approaching. A solar panel on the roof provides an additional source of charging and cockpit materials incorporate high-end natural ingredients such as wood from fire-damaged trees and not from the living forest for added eco-friendliness. Expect a price tag of $100,000 at one of 45 U.S. dealers for the Karma or Surf. Colin Powell is a proud owner of a Fisker, as is Leonardo Dicaprio, who is also a shareholder and promotes the vehicle freely. Additionally, Ashton Kutcher’s character on Two and a Half Men drives none other than a Fisker Karma. Nifty branding strategies.
And no, the Green Anthem is not a Marvel comic book character, but rather a conscious trend toward sustainable mobility.