The original arch nemesis of the Tesla Model S is back - here's what it's like to drive
- The Fisker Karma was the original Model S rival.
- But Fisker Automotive went bankrupt in 2013, leaving Tesla the victor of the electric-car space.
- Now the car is making a comeback; this time it's called the Karma Revero
These days it's the world versus Tesla. Audi, Porsche, Mercedes, Aston Martin, and just about every other major luxury automaker with a heartbeat is working on a future rival for Tesla's Model S.
But that wasn't always the case. Back in 2012, the Tesla Model S burst onto the scene as a four-door electric sedan with the performance, range, and luxury to actually compete against conventional premium sedans. But it wasn't immediately crowned king of the hill because there was a rival lurking in the wings. The Fisker Karma. The stunningly beautiful Karma sedan was the brainchild of famed car designer Henrik Fisker. While Elon Musk bet on all electric setup for the Model S, Fisker went with an in-car gasoline generator that relieves any potential for range anxiety.
Both cars vied for the hearts and wallets of the eco-friendly elite. And for a while, Fisker held its own. Leonardo DiCaprio had a Karma. In fact, the Oscar winner wasn't just the company's brand ambassador; he was an investor. "Fast and Furious" star Tyrese Gibson owned one as well. As did Justin Bieber, whose car was wrapped in chrome.
Yet Hurricane Sandy, a parking lot with several hundred flooded-out Karmas, and a defunct battery supplier teamed up to doom the budding car company. By November 2013, Fisker Automotive was bankrupt, leaving the increasingly capable Model S as the victor. Now the Karma is back. In 2014, Wanxiang America, the Illinois-based subsidiary of China's Wanxiang Group, purchased the intellectual property and assets of the defunct Fisker Automotive for $150 million. Soon afterward, Karma Automotive was created. In 2017, the company began customer deliveries of its first model - the resurrected sedan formerly known as the Fisker Karma.
Last summer, Business Insider spent a day with a 2018 Karma Revero test car clad in an eye-catching Corona Del Sol paint job. The 2018 Revero starts at $130,000 and tops out at about $140,000.
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