Fisker Automotive, one of the first companies to produce a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, was the brainchild of car designer Henrik Fisker. The company came up with a sexy, high-style plug-in hybrid that stood in distinction to the all-electrics that were produced by Tesla. On paper, at least, it should have been a better idea: though not as ecological, the car took the range-anxiety worry out of owning a plug-in. Plus, the designs are undeniably beautiful.

When the Fisker Automotive’s Fisker Karma launched in 2011, it instantly turned heads. Just looking at it was enough to get gear heads fired up. Unfortunately, the financial realities of mass production killed the car before it could truly make an impact. When much of its inventory was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, the company filed for bankruptcy. The company’s assets were a few months later purchased by Chinese auto parts specialist Wanxiang Group. Under the new ownership, its name was changed to Karma Automotive.

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The New Karma Revero Hybrid

On Thursday, Karma Automotive revealed pictures and a video of its upcoming Karma Revero. From the outside, the Karma Revero looked almost identical to the Fisker Karma. It wasn’t a bad thing, because the original design was some of Henrik’s best work, considering he’s the man behind the BMW Z8, the Aston Martin DB9, and the one-off Thunderbolt, that’s high praise.

However, the real changes have been wrought under the skin. The Revero will be fitted with a new infotainment system, fast-charging capability, and an updated solar panel built on the roof capable of charging the battery. Others have tried solar panels on roofs, but the power usually went to air conditioning or other systems, not the wheels, so this solar-charging technology is an American first, according to Karma. Other than these few changes, it was not clear what else Karma Automotive has done to the existing platform.

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Necessary Changes

Technology changes aside, there is one key area that has to be better than before, and that’s the build quality. The original Fisker Karma wasn’t quite on par with mass-produced cars when it came to build quality, as if often the case with boutique manufacturers. The fact that they had a tendency to catch fire didn’t help either.

Chief Revenue Officer at Karma Automotive, Jim Taylor, answered this with, “Serving a mass market is not, and never will be, our purpose. The Revero is for a discerning group of individuals who desire beautiful, clean vehicles, and memorable ownership experience.”

Karma Automotive is planning a flagship “brand experience center” in Orange County and buyers can order through 10 dealerships in North America on September 8.

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