By Kelly Bai
With me are two young international students awaiting to test drive a Karma Revero at the sales center. The thought of buying a Revero crossed their minds as it looked quite flashy on the street. Its long curved front face with a highly recognizable split grille, coupled by smooth and tensioned lines definitely make this car an eye catcher. But the fact is, it is simply a replica of its predecessor Fisker Karma with no significant changes to its exterior. Let’s learn more about its history.
Fisker Karma, Karma Revero’s predecessor, was launched by Henrik Risker in 2012. Risker was the CEO of Fisker Automotive, and the designer of Fisker Karma, who designed classic cars like Aston Martin DB9, V8 Vantage, BMW Z8. His design is certainly remarkable, but mechanical failures led to poor sales. Fisker Automotive declared bankruptcy in 2013. It was acquired by China’s Wanxiang Group in 2014 and was renamed Karma Automotive, using the Karma Revero to rebuild its brand.
Revero’s overall design and powertrain are virtually the same as Fisker Karma. However, there are slight modifications made in key areas. The 20.8 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack has the same capacity as Fisker Karma’s pack, but with a new battery-cell chemistry. Karma used a new computer control system while Revero supports DC fast charging capability, and a built-in 4G LTE connection that allows updates to be done remotely like Tesla. These two major features were not previously available.
Equipped with an extended-range electric powertrain, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine, two electric motors and a 21 kilowatt-hour battery pack, the Revero gets 80 kilometers of pure electric range and 480 kilometers total range. It recharges to 80% full in 24 minutes at a DC Fast Charging station. Its solar roof also provides supplemental electric power.
At this year’s Washington Motor Show, Karma Revero was named Green Car Journal’s 2018 “Luxury Green Car of the Year”. Competitors competing for this award include BMW 530e, Cadillac CT6 Plug- In, Lexus LS 500H and Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. The Revero has three drive modes: Sport, Stealth (pure EV), and Sustain (gasoline generator). Depending on the mode, it takes between 5.4 seconds to 7.3 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers. Its fastest speed in Sport mode is 125 miles or 200 kilometers per hour, which isn’t as fast as a sports car, nor does it matches up to those in its class, like Tesla.
The Revero features a new infotainment system with a 10.2-inch touch screen display. The system is more fluent, more responsive, and supports Apple CarPlay. Moreover, it is equipped with a two-zone automatic climate control system, brakes by the famous Italian company Brembo, 240 volt Level 2 AC and CCS DC charging functions, rear view camera, front and rear parking assist systems.
Like its predecessor, the Revero has been closely followed by many since its rebirth. At the same time, it faces many criticisms from the automotive industry and the media. Not only is its performance being compared to its rivals, its positioning in the car world is also under fire. Karma Automative branded Revero to be an ultra-luxury vehicle, produced in small quantities and owned by few people like Rolls-Royce or Bentley. Yet Jay Leno, an American car collector and famous talk show host, jokes after seeing the Revero at a recent event in Beverly Hills that “It’s just a Volt in a tuxedo, isn’t it?”
The young international students asked me over WeChat about my experience test driving the Revero. I replied him: This is a novel and trendy car that is very eco friendly. If you are an eco-friendly person, who wants to become the focus of the road and do not mind sacrificing some excitement of driving, then the Revero is your choice.