In recent months we have seen as a practically unknown brand and, with hardly any sales as Karma Automotive, heir to the late Fisker, announced great plans for the future. With an ambitious platform and even an aggressive introduction in the autonomous vehicle sector with its own van.
But now the Jalopnik portal, citing an internal source of the company, has revealed that we could be facing a vaporware campaign from a manufacturer without developments or plans.
According to this source, Karma will announce the dismissal of most of its employees in the first two weeks of May, with the staff reduced to 27 people focused on the communication department. Something challenging for a manufacturer who hopes to put a wide variety of vehicles on the market, including a pick-up that would compete with the Tesla Cybertruck and the Rivian R1T.
But it seems that this will not happen and that everything has been allegedly a set-up to desperately try to attract investors to offset the imminent departure of the hitherto leading supporter of the brand, the Chinese group Wanxiang. That of whom would have reduced its investment in the past year from 400 to 100 million dollars, and now looking for a way to sell its stake.
According to internal sources, the E-Flex platforms that have been presented a few weeks ago are simple assemblies, with only one really capable of being used. Prototypes that really were nothing but the veteran production chassis of the Revero GT that has been modified, and not a new platform that apparently is just computer-made recreations.
But even with this alleged functional model, there are some doubts. A proposal that will have two versions, one with 75 kWh and 320 km of autonomy, while the second will increase the capacity of its battery to 100 kWh. Enough to achieve 480 km of autonomy. Figures that even for a prototype are quite modest.
From internal sources, it is ensured that these figures are entirely theoretical and that there is no prototype to carry out the necessary tests to obtain the published data—a model whose arrival on the market is set for the spring of 2021.
The Karma worker’s accusations do not end there since he assures that the brand-new presentation of the autonomous van, which they announced could reach a Level 4 of autonomy, is also all smoke since it is nothing more than an adapted Revero platform. The one with the bodywork of a Dodge Promaster installed has only the external sensors installed. Still, it doesn’t have any of the actual hardware or software needed for anything approaching autonomous driving.
Something that can fit into the usual future product announcements of many brands, which show mockups. But in the presentation of this model, Karma assured that: “it is a test vehicle built on the E-Flex platform: an electric van with a level 4 autonomous driving system.” Something that, as we see, is not true.