Henrik Fisker is the man behind the truly outrageous Fisker Karma, a plug-in hybrid that is the current last word in green production cars. Despite being (like the Chevrolet Volt) a series hybrid whose four-cylinder gas engine is there just to generate electricity for electric motors, the 100-mpg Karma is a speed demon: zero to 60 in 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph. It has a claimed 50-mile range in all-electric range, so if you drive less than that you could go years between fill-ups.
But this is not a story about the Fisker Karma. Making its debut at the annual Geneva motor show this year was a far more outrageous hybrid, based on a famous British automotive name, Frazer-Nash (no, not Kaiser-Frazer, that one was American and this one is British).
The Frazer-Nash Namir is over-the-top in almost every aspect. Like the Fisker, it's engine drives a generator, but this one is a tiny 814-cc rotary job that powers up a 400-volt lithium-polymer pack and two huge electric motors with a combined output of 362 horsepower. Crazed statistics? You bet: 0-62 in 3.5 seconds, and almost 92 mpg. In other words, very close to the Fisker, but even faster and more extreme looking.
I asked Henrik Fisker himself what he thought of this radical upstart. He sniffed. "It's easy to make one-off show cars with outrageous claims," he said. "But our car will be crash tested and fully equipped for the market."
I'm writing this on the day that President Obama's automotive task force nixed the recovery plans of both General Motors and Chrysler. The stock market is down more than 250 points on the news. It doesn't seem to be the best time to launch supercars, even if they are totally green. But Fisker has a full order book, and the Frazer-Nash will very likely never leave the show stand. Jalopnik gave it a 99,999,000,000-to-1 chance of ever seeing production. "This is the kind of bet you only take if you're about to die and the only way you can save yourself is to bet that last five dollars on the least-likely horse," the website said.
Here's a video of the car, with some hideous Euro-disco music as a soundtrack:
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