Fisker Automotive, karma.fiskerautomotive.com

The Karma, a four-door hybrid sports car from Fisker Automotive, Irvine, Calif., has been rescheduled to go on sale next year, which would make it the first luxury hybrid on the market. But the company has already missed several deadlines, including the promise that the car would go on sale last year.

The 5,000-lb car carries a 22 kW-hr lithium-ion battery pack that lets the car travel 50 miles in its most economical, all-electric Stealth Mode. That should be enough to handle the daily driving needs of 60% of Americans and Europeans. Owners can plug their hybrids into household current to recharge overnight. When more range is needed, a 2.2-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine from General Motors kicks in and turns a generator, letting the car travel another 250 miles.

And when the driver wants performance, a switch to Sport Drive mode brings a second electric motor online and boosts power to a reported 400 hp. This is enough to take the car from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 sec and give it a top speed of 125 mph. For the truly eco-conscious drivers, an optional full-length solar roof generates electricity to keep the car interior cool when the car is parked. If the panel is used to recharge the batteries, it can add two to three miles per day, if the sun shines. The car will cost an estimated $87,000, but buyers will be eligible for a $7,500 tax credit, taking the price just below $80,000. The company says it will be making 15,000 Karmas annually within two years of its launch.

© 2010 Penton Media, Inc.