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Fisker Karma Plug-In Hybrid to make Windy City Debut at Chicago Auto Show; Two Chicago retail groups to carry the brand

The Fisker Karma, the world’s first premium plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, will make its Chicago debut at the Chicago Auto Show February 12-21.

With the Karma, American automaker Fisker Automotive ( proves that with eco-friendly cars you can enjoy beautiful, distinctive design and thrilling performance with a clear conscience.

The 403hp, four-door Karma plug-in hybrid can go zero to 60mph in six seconds and has a top speed of 125mph, but it can still achieve an annual average of more than 100mpg and drive tailpipe-emission free.

Features include a sculpted body, 22-inch wheels, trunk space for two sets of golf clubs, a 10.2-inch haptic touchscreen control center, reclaimed wood trim and an available animal-free interior trim package.

Chicago retailers include the Fields Auto Group and the Patrick Dealer Group.

Chicago is one of the top five markets in the U.S.,” said Marti Eulberg, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Fisker Automotive. “We have two wonderful retail partners in Chicago. The Fields Auto Group and the Patrick Dealer Group have delivered a premium experience to the Chicago market for years. They will be instrumental in delivering the world’s first premium plug-in hybrid to the Chicagoland consumer.”

The Fisker Karma starts at $87,900. Many Illinois buyers will be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, plus additional state incentives of up to $4,000 under the Illinois Alternate Fuels Rebate Program.

Designed at Fisker Automotive’s world headquarters in southern California the Karma was unveiled as a concept in 2008. Initial customer deliveries are scheduled for late this year, as dealer models begin arriving in showrooms. Fisker Automotive expects to reach full production of up to 1,500 cars per month by early 2011. Nearly 1,600 Karmas have already been spoken for.

The Karma is a series Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) powered by a lithium-ion battery and an efficient 2.0-liter range-extending gas engine. The engine only turns a generator, which sends electricity to two electric traction motors attached to the rear differential.

The Karma has a 300-mile range with a full battery charge and a full tank of gas. The first 50 miles are electric-only and emission free. The battery can be recharged in less than six hours using the same 220v household current that powers some major appliances. The Karma can also be charged using standard 110v power from any electrical outlet.

“The Karma’s plug-in hybrid technology is nearly invisible to the driver in terms of drivability and range,” said Eulberg. “It leverages our existing gas and electric infrastructure to deliver an exciting, eco-friendly vehicle you don’t have to think twice about using for short or long trips.”

Fisker Automotive is a privately owned, premium American car company with a vision to lead the automotive industry into the next-generation of automobiles with high-end design expertise and eco-friendly powertrain technology. Global headquarters are in Irvine, California, USA.

The company was created in 2007 to leverage the design capabilities of Fisker Coachbuild, LLC, founded by auto design veterans Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler, and the PHEV powertrain capabilities of Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. (NASDAQ-QTWW), a major Tier 1 supplier of clean vehicle technologies to the automotive OEMs. Previously, Fisker, CEO, was design director for Aston Martin and president and CEO of BMW’s DesignworksUSA. Koehler, COO, led operations for Ford’s Global Advanced Design Studio and created concept cars for Aston Martin, MINI and BMW.

Fisker Automotive’s first car is the Fisker Karma, the world’s first production Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). The four-door Karma will be followed by two variants and a second line of lower cost, high volume premium green automobiles by 2012.

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