|The Fisker Karma, plaything for the rich|
The Karma’s interior is a welcome departure from the chrome-and-black scheme found in so many luxury cars. Various shades of leather—produced by an eco-friendly tannery in Scotland—surround key areas of inlaid oak, mahogany, or walnut (the latter salvaged from 2007’s California wildfires). These earthy aspects contrast with the sleek mid-dash and center EcoLucent polymer consoles that cradle the information and entertainment systems—“a very cool effect when they’re lit up at night,” Fisker says.The Fisker Karma comes late to a luxury market in which rival Tesla Motors is struggling to sell its pricey $109,000 electric roadsters and while relative bargains the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf only sold 281 and 67 vehicles last month, respectively. Most US electricity production comes from coal or natural gas, negating the claimed environmental benefits of plug-in vehicles, not to mention the large amounts of energy required to mine rare earth minerals and in manufacture of the batteries, which die within 6-8 years. Do US taxpayers really need to subsidize the manufacture of luxury sports cars reserved for hypocritical movie stars and the rich?