Karma Automotive LLC, a Chinese-owned car maker, announced online that it is creating a hybrid sedan, the Revero, to compete with Tesla’s Model S electric car. The twist with this model, is that it will have a solar panel on the roof that can charge the battery. The car will be able to go 50 miles in pure electric drive before a gasoline engine kicks in.
Karma is one of the first to use solar panels to charge a production car’s high-voltage battery that powers the car. The Fisker Karma used solar panels to charge the 12-volt battery that is used to power lights and other accessories, the Toyota Motor Corp has used solar power in the Prius to run ventilation systems, and Toyota’s new Prius Prime plug in will have an optional solar panel to charge the batter for buyers in Europe (Renewable Energy World). Solar is also a big part of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s vision. Musk wants his buyers to be able to buy his cars and then charge them with solar power at home and several of Tesla’s fast-charging stations are also solar-powered.
The Revero will cost more than $115,000, to start, as Karma is working to get back to to car production since it predecessor company, Fisker, defaulted on a U.S. government loan and went bankrupt in 2013. The plan is, as Karma rolls out its electric-drive technology, it will add smaller plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars to its lineup. Karma wants to use the Revero to start building its capabilities and intellectual property so that the company can eventually build cars in higher volume (Renewable Energy World). Although this model is on the more expensive side, it could be the gateway to another big electric car company that will help ease the tension gas powered cars put on the environment.