Rebadged Relic Undergoes Revamp, Tosses GM Engine

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
rebadged relic undergoes revamp tosses gm engine

With the recent loss of the Chevrolet Volt, the term “range-extended electric vehicle” risks going the way of the passenger pigeon, closing the door on the era in which automakers tried to lure nervous buyers into an *almost* electric car that contained a gasoline engine only for sporadic electricity generation. The Volt had this system, the BMW i3 REx still does (but not in Europe), and the glitzy Fisker Karma popularized the term among the Hollywood elite.

The Karma met a swift end, yet lives on under a slightly altered name, all thanks to Chinese dollars. A new version of the exact same car — the Revero, sold by Karma Automotive — appeared in 2016. The California-based, Wanxiang Group-owned Karma is a low-production automaker, flinging out a few hundred examples of the Revero each year for the tidy sum of $130,000. The current car kept its GM-sourced 2.0-liter four-cylinder generator, which feeds two powerful rear-mounted electric motors. Combined power is 403 horsepower and a stump-pulling 981 lb-ft of torque.

As it prepares to debut a revamped Revero at Auto Shanghai 2019, Karma has detailed some changes to its ultra-lux green car. For starters, GM got the boot in favor of BMW.

Powering the new Revero will be a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder sourced from Bimmer, likely the exact same engine found in the i8. The automaker also added an upgraded lithium-ion battery pack and more powerful electric motors, which should shove the weighty sedan (5,400 lbs!) to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, or nine-tenths of a second quicker than previous.

Detailed specs will have to wait until the Revero reaches the Shanghai spotlight on April 16th, but it’s expected that the upgraded sedan’s all-electric driving range will see some sort of boost. Currently, Karma lists the Revero’s range at “up to 50 miles.” Some styling tweaks are in the cards, as well.

Speaking to Autocar, Karma’s chief revenue officer, Jim Taylor, spoke about the current Revero’s roof-mounted solar panels, which can trickle charge the battery on sunny days. The new car, spied with panels up top, may afford drivers more solar range.

“Our solar panels are twice as powerful as the original [Fisker] ones,” Taylor said. “We’re still a long way off from being able to charge it up significantly in a few hours, but if you left your car parked in an airport car park for a couple of days, you’d see more energy.”

[Image: Karma Automotive]

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Apr 05, 2019

    I saw few of them on the road (I live in Silicon Valley) and every time they look absolutely stunning out of this world. It is very sad that Fisker failed and his company became Chinese owned. It should be BEV and more attention paid to QA and production process.

  • 4drSedan 4drSedan on Apr 06, 2019

    I always thought these were stunning, as in stunning how they blew $529 million of our tax dollars and had nothing to show for it.

  • ToolGuy VW (marque not group) and Tesla very nearly switched positions on a YTD basis.
  • RHD Inexpensive gasoline appears to be a thing of the past. ILO is correct - we have enough sunlight, wind and emerging ocean wave energy to power the entire country and then some. Clean air is nice, and being free of the whims of OPEC, geopolitics and hugely profitable oil companies will do all of us a world of good.
  • Raymond Segura Can you tell me where I can get the rear bumper for 69 impala?
  • Art Vandelay some of the crazy numbers I get. Percentages look bigger with any fluctuations with low volume makes and brands leaving the market will see massive month over month changes. But what’s with Buick? I still see the occasional ad on TV and yet the drop is disproportionate even compared to all the other GM brands.
  • Master Baiter "There is no mandate for consumers to buy EVs, not in any country or state. That’s made up."Right. And you are not mandated to purchase a toilet that only uses 1.6 gallons/flush. You could choose to not have a toilet--just go in the woods, like the bears do.