Explaining Southern California's economy

Meet Tony Posawatz, the new CEO of Fisker Automotive


Fisker Automotive

The Fisker Karma, an extended-range hybrid EV from Fisker Automotive, based in Southern California. Will a new CEO keep it moving?

Below is video of Tony Posawatz that I shot during the 2009 L.A. Auto Show, when I was covering the car business for Slate. At the time, Tony was in charge of GM's Chevy Volt rollout. He recently retired from GM, but now he's been named the new CEO of Fisker Automotive, the Southern California-based manufacturer of hybrid-electric luxury cars.

Tony knows his way around the specific type of hybrid tech that both the Volt and the Karma use. What's different of course is that the Volt sells for $40,000, while the Karma goes for $100,000. I had the chance to drive both on the same day at the Dwell on Design Green Car Ride & Drive. They're excellent cars. But they are very, very different.

What they have in common is that they've shown a tendency to catch fire (a Karma went flame-on this weekend). This doesn't surprise me too much, as the technologies in both are relatively new and untested over the long haul.


Head downtown to drive green cars in LA this weekend

Molly Peterson/KPCC

CODA Automotive, now based in West L.A., is among the manufacturers participating in this weekend's Green Car Ride & Drive and Dwell on Design in Downtown Los Angeles.

I spent a few hours yesterday morning at Dwell on Design at the L.A. Convention Center. Dwell on Design is a well-attended design show that's put on by Dwell magazine. What I was focused on was the Green Car Ride & Drive. I've driven quite a few cars — I used to write about the auto industry — but I've driven very few electric cars or hybrids.

So the Green Car Ride & Drive was pretty much can't miss for me. And it's definitely worth checking out. It runs through 4 p.m. today. Anyone who attends Dwell on Design can head out in front of the Convention Center and take one of numerous EVs, hybrids, and even hydrogen-powered rides for a spin.

I got behind the wheel of a Fisker Karma, one of the most expensive and luxurious hybrids on plant Earth — as well as a car created by a California company, Fisker Automotive. I also sampled the rather less expensive but no less impressive Coda all-electric car. And I finally got behind the wheel of a Chevy Volt.