2017 Karma Revero (nee Fisker) launch: updates, new infotainment

The 2017 Karma Revero (nee Fisker Karma) was formally unveiled to the public and to Fisker owners tonight at an event in the canyons of Laguna Beach, south of Los Angeles.

Executives of the company formed from the bankrupt wreckage of Fisker Automotive pledged that they’ve fixed the car’s 2012 problems, while maintaining the striking design that gives the range-extended electric luxury sedan such public appeal.

And, they said, the chairman of Chinese parts maker Wanxiang, the new owner, had told them to take the time needed to get it right—so they still wouldn’t say when they intend to put the car on sale, though it’ll likely be within a few months.

DON’T MISS: 2012 Fisker Karma Plug-In Is Real, But Will Company Survive? (Feb 2012)

Four and a half years after a Los Angeles press drive for the 2012 Fisker Karma that exposed some of the car’s developmental flaws, the rebooted Karma Revero looks much the same on the outside.

And it maintains the three elements that dozens of loyal Fisker owners told Karma they loved and that made it special: the low-slung design, the plug-in electric powertrain, and the solar roof covered in photovoltaic panels.

Only aficionados will notice the subtly tweaked front and rear fascias, which design VP Alexander Klatt compared to the most minor “nip and tuck” for a pretty woman.

To improve cooling, the “moustache” grille openings are incrementally wider, the horizontal opening is larger, and the diamond shapes below the grilles have subtly evolved. The rear fascia is cleaner and smoother.

And a darker solar roof now extends from the top of the windshield to the top of the rear window, giving the impression of a single glass sheet covering the top of the car.

The infotainment system and digital instrument cluster are entirely redesigned, with the central touchscreen, processor, and many other components updated after five years of progress in consumer electronics.

ALSO SEE: Karma Revero now in pilot production in CA (Jul 2016)

Its response will be visibly faster, said Jason Schultz, product director for infotainment, noting that the old screens often came in for service cracked after owners poked them too hard in frustration over their lack of responsiveness.

Owners were eager to help and deeply involved in suggesting changes to the car, he said, especially the various menus and aspects of the central touchscreen display.

One owner even brought a 4-page, single-spaced list of changes he felt should be made; others offered to fly themselves to owner meet-and-greet events in other cities, at their own expense, just to help the new company troubleshoot the car.

It’s under the surface that the biggest changes were made, said senior vice president and vehicle line executive Carl Jenkins.

His engineering team beefed up structural reinforcements to meet safety tests that didn’t exist seven years ago, and fitted the sensors and processors required to add both automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning systems.

But their biggest single effort may have been designing and testing an entirely new wiring harness for the vehicle, the old one having been modified and fixed so many times that it resembled a boa constrictor, Jenkins said.

READ THIS: 2012 Fisker Karma – review

Dozens of new, improved, and updated electronic components plus the new harness meant that the body shell itself had to be changed, with holes and fasteners relocated.

More airflow was routed around the engine and electrified components to improve thermal management, the need proven by a test drive by Jenkins and his wife in an existing Fisker when it overheated climbing a mountain grade in 103-degree F temperatures.

The internal structures of the battery pack were redesigned, still employing lithium-ion cells from Wanxiang subsidiary A123 Systems but boosting its capacity from 20.4 kilowatt-hours to 21.4 kwh.

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