On the way to Hamburg with the Saab Turbo X to "experience" the Fisker Karma, I wasn't sure what to expect. The constellation of an arrangement of lithium-ion batteries and two electric motors did not want to arouse enthusiasm. Until I saw the karma and was allowed to test it. A lot has changed since then and my attitude towards electric mobility has changed.
The Fisker Karma is a high-priced product and plays in a different league than many of us can afford. But, as we know, revolutions always start from the top. Also and especially in the automotive sector.
Karma is such a revolution. Let us remember the SUV trend. First came the mother of all SUVs, the Range Rover. Those responsible may forgive me, because the big range is actually a serious luxury SUV. But he is the car that started a trend. In the drive, however, the SUV history came only at the end of the 90er years with the BMW X5 and Mercedes ML of the first generation. BMW executives, whom I spoke at the IAA back then, were not sure if the SUV would be a success for Europe. Very carefully, the US market was the main target.
Both SUVs were successful, created an acceptance among the buyers, and as we all know, more and more variants of different manufacturers followed. Today drives a middle-aged customers in the VW Tiguan or BMW X1 or perhaps Audi Q3 through the world and clogs with mindless would-be off-roaders our inner cities. At the bottom of the price category, the Dacia Duster has arrived, and all drivers of these vehicles, perhaps for the first time in their automotive lives, feel like trendsetters. What they are not, because the trend has long become mass taste and thus as stale as the beer from the previous day. Because the trend has long been in Finland and elsewhere from the band.
So today it's almost cool to move a station wagon, and there is nothing that could not be better for a 4WD than an SUV. Not to mention under-consumption! Unnoticed by the general public, the trend is now spurring towards e-mobility. Still as a tender, small, green little plant. Whether with or without range extender does not matter. The startups Tesla and Fisker sell their products to a wealthy public that knows exactly what it wants. A Fisker Karma is not purchased as a first-time charter. It comes as a third or fourth car in air-conditioned underground garages or stands behind high, video-monitored gates and dense hedges.
People who buy karma know what they are doing. They are particularly well informed and want to buy exactly this product. They are the current trendsetters. Fisker is a pioneer with extraordinary ideas and a lot of courage. Like competitor Tesla, these companies are classic startups that rush from round to round of financing until they are established in the market and profitable. They work in niches that will soon be so small.
Acceptance for e-mobility will increase if other important manufacturers jump on the train. Manufacturers who have a certain radiance. When Renault, Mitsubishi or Peugeot build e-cars, that's a footnote under "also ran". This does not spark enthusiasm, because these brands lack the nimbus. BMW, a brand with a great reputation, will be operating under the name from September 2013 BMW i get into the business of electromobility and thus bring the market forward. Immediately after the IAA new products should roll to dealers and customers.
A business model for Saab, too? Theoretically, a new owner at the turn of the year could launch 2013 / 14 electric Saab. The market would be more mature than it is now, and Trollhättan innovations could come at the right time. Entering a new, growing market would be an opportunity for brand restarts and image.
Electromobility can develop quite quickly if you build desirable products. Fisker does it. Because high-tech alone does not make the whole story. A stylish interior, a well-thought-out operating concept, high-quality and authentic materials. This gives the battery car a future for discerning buyers. The celebrities in Hollywood are counting on karma, and there are already some celebrity Fisker pilots in Europe as well. Frederik of Denmark, Saab 9-3 estate driver and by profession Crown Prince, sometime king, is one of the people who have a sense for the future in Europe.
Would I buy an electric Saab or maybe a Fisker? In 2014 the little Fisker Atlantic comes out, which can already be pre-ordered. With a deposit of 5000,00 US dollars you are there, the list price should be between 50.000 and 60.000 €. With that, Fisker is entering a larger market segment, and if you add a shooting brake, then I could be weak. If I could choose, the first choice would be a Saab, because this is the brand that my automotive heart beats for. As an alternative, a Fisker, that would be likely. Because here, too, I feel a lot of individuality. And yes, the electric car is a way into the future and it can generate enthusiasm.
But honestly and completely between us ... on Sunday I would then get my Turbo X or my Saab 9000 out of the garage and in the early morning hours, when the streets in the Spessart are still empty, burn fossil energy with pleasure, listen to the whistle of the turbo and enjoy the incredible Saab sound. Consciously experience every single kilometer. After the ride, enjoy the crackling and crackling of hot metal and the smell of gasoline. In order to be politically correct in the E-Saab or Fisker during the week.