Fisker Automotive still hasn't seen fit to let more than a small handful of journalists drive its extended-range electric 2012 Fisker Karma luxury sports sedan, and not yet on public roads.

But founder Henrik Fisker continues to wax eloquent about the company's future plans. At the launch of the 2012 Karma, he said that a new--and previously unseen--Fisker model will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and go on sale next year.

This maps neatly to the plans of arch-rival Tesla Motors, which is expected to show the follow-on to its Model S electric sedan this fall. That vehicle is known to be a crossover wagon called the Model X, and it could appear in Frankfurt or at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

Two years ago, Fisker showed a concept called the Karma S, a two-door convertible with a retractable roof. That will go on sale in 2013, the founder said, as will its next model line, a mid-size electric vehicle known as Project Nina.

Ray Lane takes delivery of the first Fisker Karma

Ray Lane takes delivery of the first Fisker Karma

The Nina model will be built at Fisker's factory in Delaware, while the various Karma models come from contract assembler Valmet's plant in Finland.

Other additions to the Karma range will be an all-wheel-drive option (a pair of electric motors now drives only the rear axle) and a two-speed gearbox, to provide better low-speed acceleration and a higher top speed.

Finally, it appears that Fisker is working on details of a plan to offer its buyers a guaranteed buy-back price for the battery packs in the Karma. That would allay concerns over the lifespan of new lithium-ion auto batteries, and inform customers up front about how much they'd receive if they had to replace their pack.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Meanwhile, as automotive media watch with jealousy and irritation, retail deliveries of the 2012 Fisker Karma have started.

The first one went to actor and environmental advocate Leonardo DiCaprio; the second was delivered to noted venture capitalist Ray Lane, who also happens to be chairman of Fisker's board.

Drive reports? Not so much. Fisker is letting royalty drive the car, and now dealers have started to take matters into their own hands. The video below, from Fisker of Santa Monica, is narrated by a gent named Kyle Shields, identified as a "professional driver."

[UPDATE: In response to our query, Fisker Santa Monica identified Shields as an instructor at the Allen Berg Racing Schools. He's also a product trainer for BMW North America and other manufacturers.]

If you can ignore some of the gushing, there's good information on how the Fisker drives and handles. Shields demonstrates Stealth (all-electric) and Sport (engine-assisted) modes (about 0:45) and shows the car's performance in traffic and about 30 seconds of on-road footage (starting about 1:20).

Perhaps, one day, you will be able to read independent evaluations of the 2012 Fisker Karma, absent the hype--if not from us, then from other outlets in the auto media.

But we're not holding our breath.



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