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Fisker Automotive to Use GM Ecotec 2.0L VVT DI Turbo, Other Components in EREV Karma

The 2009 Ecotec 2.0L VVT DI Turbo. Click to enlarge.

Fisker Automotive, Inc. will use a GM 2.0-liter, direct injection, turbocharged four-cylinder Ecotec engine in the Fisker Karma, its Extended Range Electric Vehicle. (Earlier post.) Fisker will obtain the engines through GM’s on-highway integrator Powertrain Integration LLC. Fisker Automotive says that it is also considering the purchase of several additional GM vehicle components to enhance the Karma.

The 260 hp (194 kW) Ecotec will be used to generate electricity when the series hybrid Karma has exceeded its 50 mile electric-only range.

Given General Motors global leadership in the parts and accessories space, the fact that it is already engineering parts for extended range electric vehicles, and its commitment to helping the environment, it was clear that this was the right partner for us. We are confident that this is the beginning of an important partnership between GM and Fisker Automotive in developing the most desirable fuel efficient vehicles of the future.

—Henrik Fisker, CEO Fisker Automotive

GM has opted to use a 1.4-liter naturally aspirated engine for the genset in the Volt. (Earlier post.)

Initial domestic deliveries of Fisker Automotive’s first car, the Karma, will commence in the 4th quarter of 2009 in North America with planned delivery to Europe in 2010. Fisker Automotive’s annual production is projected to reach 15,000 cars, with more than half of sales expected to be overseas.

The advanced design of this engine offers a superior performance-to-weight ratio that makes it the right choice for the Fisker Hybrid Electric Vehicle. As a leader in the automotive industry in the development of fuel efficient and energy diverse powertrains, GM sees significant opportunity in working with Fisker Automotive, a visionary company developing products that embody both exciting vehicle design as well as technology friendly to our environment.

—Tom Stephens, Executive Vice President of GM Powertrain and Global Quality

GM currently uses the 2.0L Ecotec VVT DI Turbo engine in the Chevrolet HHR SS and Cobalt SS, the Pontiac Solstice GXP and Coupe, and the Saturn SKY Red Line.

Fisker Automotive is a privately owned car company with Henrik Fisker as the CEO. Fisker Coachbuild, LLC will be the exclusive design house for Fisker Automotive through the entire range of product development. The company has backing from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Palo Alto Investors and an affiliate of Qatar Investment Authority.



That also indicates that Karma’s Q-drive will be a 150,000W to 200,000W electric motor. Without the battery the generator must be able to match that power level in a quality vehicle although I can easily imagine a few posts saying it is “not necessary”.

Given the fact that GM is not jet saved by Washington and has a 100% chance of being bankrupt sometime in the first half of 2009 if they are not saved by Washington I don’t understand that Fisker is picking GM. Use a financially sound motor producer like Toyota that is able to survive a long-term depression. Even if GM is saved to make it through 2009 they may still fail in 2010. This crisis is going to be very long. It took 10 years with almost zero GDP growth when Japan had a comparable bank crisis in 1990. This crisis is worse and it is also an energy crisis. In other words, US and EU vehicle sales can be down for many years to come.

Why would anyone need an electric 194 kW genset for a car? Are they intending to drive their sportscar above 240 km/h for longer periods of time?

It is a "plug-in hybrid luxury sports car" with a top speed of 200 Kph, so I guess it is designed for high speed cruising - hence the rather powerful ICE.

If GM fails, it will probably be broken up and sold off in bits so the engine may still be available.

If isn't your economy PHEV, it is a "green" trophy car.


Don't look at the peak power numbers! The engine is rated for 194KW peak. It makes 260 lb ft of torque from about 1500 to 5250 rpm. So anywhere in that range it could make anywhere from 55KW to to 194KW. 55Kw would be enough for generator driving only. It is unlikely that the engine would be making anymore than 100 KW. It is also possible that Fisker will tune to engine to be a low smog motor with less power and fuel consumption overall.

Fred H

During high power demand, it is actually more efficient to use the power from the ICE directly rather than first storing it in the battery. So to keep the same level of performance when the battery is empty, and avoiding the less efficient detour through the battery, the ICE would have to be as powerful as the battery. And of course it's not absolutely necessary to have such a powerful ICE, but since this is supposed to be a sports car, I guess the aim is to maximize efficiency even while burning rubber. For non-sports cars in normal driving where full power is seldom used, a less powerful ICE would be adequate, and the few times where full power would need to be boosted with the less efficient detour through the battery wouldn't impact the mileage very much.


Do we kneed more muscle gas guzzzler cars?

Really we don't.


Perhaps Fisker intends to send power to the wheels in the form of engine+battery pack. In other words, at maximum acceleration, 250kw would come from the engine and 250kw would come from the batteries. This allows Fisker to use a battery with a lower power density and a higher energy density to maximize battery only range while maintaining as small of a package as possible.

Very efficient, IMO.


Why would anyone considering a Fisker Karma, give a flying fruitcake about the all electric range?


Fisker is trying to build a factory that will produce 5,000 Karma cars in the first year. This might yield a profit of $3-4M for GM. Probably not enough to pay for one day of retiree pension costs.

We wish them the best of luck and hope they can find people willing to pay $80,000.00 for a hybrid sports car.


With 50 miles electric range the Carma will do much better than 100 miles per gallon regardless of the pick of range extender. Also you don’t need the peak power of the range extender for high-speed long-distance cruising you need it for speedy acceleration (0 to 60mph in less than 6 sec) in city driving when the battery has been drained after a 50 miles drive at the highway. This is a very common situation for many people and you don’t compromise with driving experience in a $80,000 vehicle.

The difference between driving a car with a smile or drive it with apathy is that you drive a powerful car that also looks good instead of an incapable and ugly car that is so common for the EVs we have seen so far. It is the cars from Fisker and Tesla that are going to convince everybody of importance that EVs is the future of vehicle transportation and that this is where most future R&D and tax money should go instead of spending it on the ICE and fuel cells.

Will S

HarveyD asks:

Do we kneed more muscle gas guzzzler cars?

No, the Fisker is a oxymoronic parody of a green car that few would be able to afford.


Fisker is a non-gas guzzling muscle car. In other words, it is perfect if you like to drive an environmentally friendly car without sacrificing the convenience and joy of having 300 hp at your disposal. Personally I don’t know a single car lover that doesn’t value power. But if you hate cars for whatever reason I guess power is also a bad thing.

Another cool car could be an electric Hummer or an electric F150. Just make sure they can do at least 50 miles in all electric mode at highway speed and the average driver will get at least 100 mpg during the year.

Power cars are fun and joyful and Fisker and Tesler are showing they can also be good for the environment. To make Carma even greener I hope Fisker’s range extender will be the newest flex fuel motor with E100 capability. Ethanol also burns will more power than gasoline so it would increase the power to weight ratio of the range extender.


I find it hilarious when people complain about the price of a car with all the latest fuel-saving technology.

Do they really expect plug-in hybrid-electric carbon fibre super cars to be cheap?

It's not such a long time ago that fuel injection and electronic ignition were only available on the most expensive cars.


Henrick and Bernard both make good points. A PHEV muscle car IS fun and DOES impart joy for those who love cars and power driving. And of course the new technology and sexy design will cost a bundle.

But you have to remember that here at the Peoples Republic of GreenCars - fun and joy are forbidden entities. We must have a mass produced, simple low cost, all-green car for the proletariat capable of fornicating with the ecosystem. Anything other than that is to be vilified and dragged to the village square for stoning.

(Stones available at the GCC merch store.)


Bottom line is both Tesla and Karma (when its built) help promote the general public's acceptance of electric vehicles. Let's not begrudge either company or their customers the valuable contribution to the electrification of transport.

I must say I am surprised they will use such a large ICE....still, I won't use it that much as my commute is 38kms each way which is just under the 80kms of battery range...even if I don't charge up at work)

QU Posted by: GreenPlease: Why would anyone considering a Fisker Karma, give a flying fruitcake about the all electric range?

So I can drive further without using any gas...It must have really taxed you to think of that question...

Posted by: DS | Nov 22, 2008 9:11:14 PM

"Fisker is trying to build a factory that will produce 5,000 Karma cars in the first year. This might yield a profit of $3-4M for GM. Probably not enough to pay for one day of retiree pension costs.

We wish them the best of luck and hope they can find people willing to pay $80,000.00 for a hybrid sports car."

When I signed up they had already 674 people on the list this was 6 months ago....and before any real publicity or marketing the way, $80,000 is not a lot of money for a luxury car,(unless you live in the USA of course) a well specced up 530i BMW will cost you just as much....

Fisker has also signed up the factory in Finland that currently makes the Cayman for Porsche, so as far as I know, Fisker will not be trying to build any car factory at the moment.

Fred H

So, I've been looking at

The Karma was apparently designed mainly as an alternative for people who would like to buy an eighty thousand dollar sporty car anyway.

In the standard "stealth mode" it uses only battery power for relaxed, quiet, relatively slow commuting, and steady speed cruising.
Full power quick acceleration requires the ICE, and is only available in "sport mode", which is activated by pulling a paddle behind the steering wheel. In sport mode it also makes cool, futuristic, racy noises. When the battery charge gets low, the ICE is also the range extender.

Most of the time the car will be operating in stealth mode without burning fuel at all. So during normal driving, there is almost no penalty for having the possibility of extra power at your disposal at the touch of a button. In real life every day driving, this energy management strategy should keep fuel consumption to a minimum, and avoid the disadvantages of a pure electric car.

This power management concept is an excellent solution to the problem of cost and capacity vs. power and long levity tradeoffs of current batteries. The cost, weight, and size of the ICE, (I am guessing here), are probably less than that of the additional batteries and/or super capacitors that would be required to achieve similar performance and range.

Considering the role of the ICE in this system, a relatively powerful ICE makes sense. If the main purpose of the ICE were to be a range extender, then 50 kW would probably be enough. But in the Karma, the deciding factor is the function of the ICE to provide extra peak power for acceleration. As GreenPlease already said, that allows the use of a lower power but higher capacity battery, and probably also makes it last longer and require less cooling.

Now that I better understand the power management concept, I think I also better understand why Fisker chose the GM Ecotec 2.0L VVT DI Turbo. The turbo keeps the engine compact, yet powerful. The VVT and DI make it fuel efficient at the lower power levels that are necessary when functioning as a range extender. Being mass produced by GM makes it relatively inexpensive. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be extremely durable, because most of the time it’s not going to be used anyway.

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