2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Tesla Model S vs. Fisker Karma

June 12, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

As I drove our 2013 Tesla Model S home last night, I passed a Fisker Karma. After passing the Karma and giving a "Yup, we both love the environment and have $100K to spend on it" nod to the driver, I couldn't help thinking about the vastly different directions these companies are heading.

The Karma is on its way out, while the Model S is the favored new kid on the block (at least in Southern California), but why?

Fisker Automotive has been plagued with troubles like battery supply and recalls, the loss of over 300 Karmas during Hurricane Sandy, and the resignation of its founder Henrik Fisker. In April, Fisker reportedly laid off the majority of its workforce. Speculation for the company's future is bleak at best, and prices on used Karmas have plunged.

Tesla Motors, however, seems to be moving swiftly in the opposite direction. Tesla's government loan has been paid back, their supercharger network is poised for rapid expansion, and their sales are exceeding expectations. Around Santa Monica, Model S sedans are seemingly everywhere.

The Model S is a much faster car than the Karma, but it's also tethered by its range. You can drive it fast, but only for so long. The Karma was marketed as the most eco-friendly car on the planet with solar panels on the roof and naturally-fallen leaves in the door panels. Both cars are luxurious, large and (arguably) stylish. So what do you think is so different about these two companies and their flagship cars? Which car would you rather have?

Travis Langness, Associate Editor @ 4,600 miles

Most Recommended Comments

By tecnamtwin
on 06/12/13
3:18 PM PST

The Tesla Model S is a much better car overall. Just ask Consumer Reports. The Karma had lots of problems and glitches with the infotainment and car systems. It was a prototype that was rushed into production. If they would have spent more time perfecting it, I think that it would have been a fairly good car, albeit with only four seats and limited trunk space. It's like the Porsche Panamera except without the cargo space or blistering performance. The idea was awesome, but the execution was less than stellar. It's a pity that they had battery problems which bankrupted their supplier A123 Systems, and then lost 300 cars to Hurricane Sandy. The Fisker Atlantic concept was a really good looking car, and we can always use more beautiful cars on the road.

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