The long-awaited Fisker Karma, a car described in marketing materials as "designed to get you hot, not the planet", is about to be released later this month. As a nod to the partial inspiration behind the vehicle's creation, actor Leonardo DiCaprio will be the first to drive away — trumping a list of more than 3,000 impatiently waiting customers.
DiCaprio's celebrity power is a brilliant marketing move, but it was his role as a trendsetter that initially caught the eye of designer Henrik Fisker.
“A couple of years ago it started, by people who were maybe a little ahead of their time,” he told Reuters in 2009. “You saw some movie starts like Leonardo DiCaprio buying a Prius ... He could have bought any car in the world, and I remember seeing that on television and thinking to myself, you know, when you’ve got a guy who could buy any Ferrari or Rolls Royce and he’s buying a Prius, you know something is changing dramatically.”
The Karma, which carries a base sticker price of $95,900 for the basic model and $109,850 for the top model, is capable of running for up to 50 miles on its lithium-ion battery pack, after which a 260-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine switches on to generate electricity. An eco-friendly interior includes recycled and reclaimed materials as well as solar panels and leather-free EcoPremium Suede.
Fisker says that optional leather interior will be available, but much more of the hide will be used; which will include scratches and other blemishes.
Besides Leo, other big names on the waiting list include Al Gore, Colin Powell and Shaquille O'Neal. Fisker hopes to produce 300 cars each week once production starts ramping up later this summer.