Fisker: Good “Karma” for Delaware?

For so much power under the hood — 400 horsepower, 900 pound feet of torque and an estimated 67 miles per gallon — the newly released Fisker Karma is alarmingly quiet.

Black and white versions of the hybrid electric sports car were delivered to Wilmington’s Union Park Automotive Monday, the dealership selling Fiskers in Delaware.

Wilmington Resident Manley Husfelt was among the first Delawareans to take a ride in the environmentally-friendly luxury sedan that looks like a sports coupe.

“You don’t even know you’re ridin’, really, it’s like being in a plane, you’re just, you can’t hear anything, it’s a beautiful car,” said Husfelt.

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The Karma is also fast. Fisker says the $100-thousand car can go from zero to 60 in 5.9 seconds.

Delaware Senators Chris Coons and Tom Carper (both, (D) Delaware) took the car out for a spin. However, both are more excited about the California-based carmaker’s partnership with the state; a partnership they believe comes fully loaded with job opportunities for Delawareans.

Fisker is set to build its less expensive, $50-thousand “Project Nina” vehicles inside the old General Motors plant on Boxwood Road, with production on its second line of vehicles slated to begin in late 2012. The company has already hired about 120 engineers and technicians in the state and Fisker says it hopes to export more than 50 percent of the vehicles made here.

“So my real hope is that this will restore Delaware to its place as not just a manufacturing leader, a research and development and technology leader, but also an export leader,” said Sen. Coons.

Coons also said Fisker’s goal is to eventually manufacture Karma’s in Delaware; they are currently being built in Finland.

“I think we can look forward to a day when the Fisker Automotive Plant will be employing 1500 or 2000 people full time and we can use that to attract a whole suite of other companies that’ll be doing some of the component manufacturing.”

The “Nina” boasts the same technology as the Karma — an electric motor with a gas engine.

“The technology is the most sophisticated out there,” said Jim Ursomarso, Vice President of Union Park Automotive. “So you don’t have to worry about running out of electric power and plugging in. Your engine will automatically take over and it won’t power the car, it’ll provide charge to the battery, so it’s always running on electric.”

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