More Fisker Bad News: EPA Calls 20-MPG Karma A Subcompact

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2012 Fisker Karma

2012 Fisker Karma

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It's been a tough week for Fisker.

The startup electric-car company finally got its car approved for sale, many months late, only to have the EPA rate its gas mileage at just 20 mpg in range-sustaining mode.

Now, a new wrinkle to those ratings has come out: Based on the volume measurements it uses to allocate cars into different size classes, the EPA calls the 2012 Fisker Karma a "subcompact" (the category for vehicles with 85 to 100 cubic feet of interior space).

That's probably irrelevant to early buyers of the range-extended electric luxury sport sedan, mind you. The EPA could call the Karma a minivan or a tractor, and they'd still be smitten by its sexy lines, the emission-free plug-in travel (for 32 EPA-rated miles), and its performance in Sport mode.

And the Fisker Karma is hardly alone in being bucketed into a non-obvious EPA segment. The 2011 Bentley Continental GTC--which weighs almost 3 tons and whose 6.0-liter turbocharged W-12 produces 550 horsepower--is rated a subcompact as well.

And the Bentley is only rated at 13 mpg combined by the EPA, making the Karma look fuel-efficient even at 20 mpg.

2012 Fisker Karma

2012 Fisker Karma

Enlarge Photo

But the news is the latest in a series of blows Fisker Automotive has taken in very public view.

Right after the EPA ratings for the 2012 Karma came out, the company admitted that volume production of its next car, the "Project Nina" mid-size plug-in sedan, won't begin until mid-2013--though Fisker insists some cars will be built before the end of 2012.

Then a segment by ABC News all but accused it of using U.S. government loans to export jobs to Finland. The real story is a bit more nuanced, as we wrote yesterday.

At this point, we're just wondering if there are more shoes to drop.

Does the Karma also kill baby seals, perhaps?

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