Rebadged Relic Undergoes Revamp, Tosses GM Engine

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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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.

  • KOKing "One of the most interesting parts of this situation is that Stellantis, and by extension, the Chrysler Group, is increasingly considered a foreign company instead of a traditional American automaker."Does that mean Simca and Hillman are coming back?
  • Redapple2 34 yr in Michigan salt?
  • Mike-NB2 Zero. Not interested at all. I often don't have my phone with me, and if I do, I completely ignore it. Unless it were to catch fire, of course. But I'm old, so that has to be taken into account too.
  • Urlik It’s only important to me for navigation. OEM’s do Nav all wrong and charge for the privilege. While once they charged big money for map updates, they charge subscriptions for the privilege of a worse Nav than you have on your phone.The other stuff mirroring brings is mere gravy.
  • Rna65689660 Zero interest