SoCal start-up Fisker has just completed its first production car (in Finland), but already they are talking about future cars. One idea; use of a dedicated, 3-cylinder range extender rather than the 4-cylinder EcoTec car engine currently under the hood.
The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid with a GM-sourced turbocharged 4-cylinder engine operating as the range extender. Using an already-built production engine has saved Fisker countless millions that would come with designing their own engine. But since this gas engine is optimized for driving a car, rather than operating as a generator, it isn’t the perfect system. Perhaps the biggest issue is weight; the GM EcoTec engine weighs in at 360 pounds, not exactly a featherweight.
Fisker seems to think that a dedicated 3-cylinder range extender could shave at least 100 pounds off of that number, and any weight savings for the hefty Fisker would be a boon for both performance and range. Lotus has developed a dedicated, 1.2 liter 3-cylinder range extender that could be just what Fisker is looking for, and it weights just 124 pounds. There’s money to be made in the range-extending engine business it would appear.
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.