Karma Automotive (Nee Fisker) To Use BMW Electric-Car Powertrains


2012 Fisker Karma from the Rogers' Classic Car Museum collection

2012 Fisker Karma from the Rogers' Classic Car Museum collection

Karma Automotive--the carmaker formerly known as Fisker Automotive--says it will use BMW powertrain components in upcoming production models.

BMW will supply high-voltage battery charging systems and "a wide range of hybrid and EV systems" for the Karma luxury sedan, which the company expects to relaunch in 2016.

Karma did not say whether BMW would also supply the car's range-extending gasoline engine, which was previously provided by General Motors.

DON'T MISS: Fisker Becomes Karma Automotive, To Relaunch In 2016

All Karmas that were part of the original 2012 production run used a 260-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder, which turned a generator to provide electric power.

Actual propulsion came from two 150-kilowatt (200-hp) electric motors--one per axle--and a 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.

The components supplied by BMW could come from a few potential sources.

2015 BMW i8

2015 BMW i8

Some powertrain bits could come from the i8 plug-in hybrid coupe, which uses a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine with an electric motor and 7.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

At its Innovation Days event in 2014, BMW also unveiled a plug-in hybrid test mule--based on the 5 Series Gran Turismo--designed to maximize electric running.

It used a 200-kW (268-hp) electric motor to drive the rear wheels, with a 150-kW (201-hp) driving the front wheels with some assistance from a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

ALSO SEE: New Fisker Targets Mid-2016 For U.S. Production Of Luxury Plug-In Hybrid

Both of these vehicles have somewhat different powertrain configurations to the Karma, but some of their components could find their way into the sedan.

Before Fisker's 2012 bankruptcy, there were rumors that BMW would supply engines for a second Fisker model, called the Atlantic.

The Atlantic was a sedan smaller than the Karma, but had similar styling and also used an extended-range electric powertrain.

BMW 5-Series GT development prototype for Power eDrive plug-in hybrid system, Nov 2014

BMW 5-Series GT development prototype for Power eDrive plug-in hybrid system, Nov 2014

New powertrain components for the Karma will be part of needed updates for the car, which is a fairly old design by industry standards.

While all previous Karmas were built under contract by Valmet Automotive in Finland, Karma Automotive plans to move production to the U.S.

MORE: Fisker Karma Plant In Southern California: More Details Emerge

It is building a factory in Moreno Valley, California--not far from its headquarters in Costa Mesa.

Previous plans to use a former General Motors factory in Delaware have been put on hold.

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