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Karma comes back to life with 2017 Revero plug-in hybrid

The Karma Revero, a plug in hybrid luxury sedan, is the first car to be assembled in California in more than two decades
The Karma Revero, a plug in hybrid luxury sedan, is the first car to be assembled in California in more than two decades

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It’s baa-aack — just like you’d expect for a car with a name like Karma. The bankrupt car company formerly known as Fisker is back in business. And last night in Orange County it pulled the wraps off its very first car: The Revero.

Every bit as sexy as the original Fisker Karma, the new Karma Revero is also a very expensive, very luxurious plug-in hybrid electric sports sedan. In fact, the two cars look identical except for new badging. But pop the hood, and there have been multiple upgrades.

Gone are the batteries that were recalled in 2012 for poor performance. The lithium-ion cells in the new Revero are made by the same company -- A123 Systems -- but they're upgraded to be more durable. Operating on battery power alone, the Revero has a range of up to 50 miles; a gas-powered generator enables a range of about 300 miles. It takes 24 minutes to recharge the battery to 80 percent.

As the Revero, the car is now faster, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds compared with 7.9 seconds for the original. And it also costs more. The Revero starts at $130,000 and can be purchased at 11 retail locations across the country, including one in L.A.

Like Fisker Automotive, which was based in Anaheim before going bankrupt, Karma Automotive is also based in Orange County. Its current headquarters are located in Costa Mesa but will soon move to a larger facility in Irvine to accommodate an expected staff of 1,000 by the end of the year. When Fisker was purchased out of bankruptcy in 2014, it had just 22 employees.

Now owned by the Chinese conglomerate Wanxiang, Karma Automotive, as it's been renamed, is building the cars locally at a manufacturing facility in Moreno Valley. Karma representatives declined to give a specific delivery date for the new car, saying only that it will be available "when it's ready," according to Karma Automotive Chief Marketing Officer, Jim Taylor. Production began in April.

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