So You Can't Afford: Fisker Karma
402-hp (drive motors), 260-hp 2.0-liter turbo generator
The inexpensive imitator: Chevy Volt
Despite advancements in technology and a rebirth of the electric car, plug-in hybrids are still rare machinery on the streets today. There are only a mere handful for sale by large-scale manufacturers. The Chevy Volt may have been the one to break that ice, but it's the Fisker Karma that wants to command the room. The Karma's proportions are sensual and gorgeous, to be sure. And its powertrain will propel the sexy four-door to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds.
But Maybe You Can Afford: Chevrolet Volt
149-hp (drive motors), 84-hp 1.4-liter generator
Both cars are plug-in hybrids. The Volt might be cool and techy on the inside, but it's no luxury car. It is more efficient, though. The Karma was certified by the EPA for a 52-mpg equivalent. It has an electric range of 32 miles and returns 20 mpg when running on gas. The Volt returns 93 mpg-e, has a 35-mile electric range, and returns a fuel economy of 37 mpg on gas.
The Fisker will certainly be the more compelling vehicle to drive, and the one that draws the larger crowd. But the Volt is backed by one of the world's largest and oldest auto companies—GM. And that's comforting when so much of this technology is so very new.