Rackermobile: My Final Days
(Cont. from http://termitewerks.info/rackermobile-my-first-few-days-with-the-fisker-karma/)
Well, it’s over…
In a week’s time, we enjoyed 472.2 miles together. I’ll tell you this, I take back some of what I initially thought about this car. We had a lot of fun together, turned a lot of heads, and I would absolutely have this as a family car! Well, there’s that pesky maintenance thing to work out, but we’ll discuss that further along. Long or short rides, this car is a joy to roll in. The lack of tread in the front, on this one, was no problem once I got going, and held the turns on back country roads like a champ! Color me impressed.
While she did have a good deal of torque, I still would not compare her to the joy of a V8. Beyond that, the constant power delivery was noticeable, even uphill she handled without a struggle. It was quite satisfying.
The Family Car?
Would I ever own one? Well, The Wife fell in love almost immediately, and you know what they say… “happy wife, happy life.” We have many conversations in our travels around town; repeatedly, this came up. With the prices as they are now, being that they company went belly up, I’d almost consider it. (UPDATE 2014/02/19: Wanxiang plans to immediately restart production of the Fisker Karma) There are a number on ebay for aroun $50K, with a third the miles of Graham’s. We found a black on for $55K with 9500 miles. There’s just one problem, continued maintenance. Now, you might say, “but Dale, you buy old cars all the time, and make them go.” True, but most of them are still in business, there is an aftermarket for them, or they have parts that are not requiring custom computers to diagnose and program them. This car is a HUGE difference, but I did find an enthusiast forum.
The forum actually helped me troubleshoot a quirk I discovered when you unplug the car after opening the driver door. The fuel gauge was skipped in the boot sequence, and it showed no fuel, even though I knew the tank was full. (http://www.fiskerbuzz.com/forums/13-fisker-karma/859-low-fuel-warning.html) Well, also didn’t help that I think I hit the accessory on before unplugging too. Anyway, it was a fluke, and doesn’t happen often. My only cause for concern was that the battery only charged to 4 miles worth, and I wasn’t sure I’d make it to get gas if it was indeed empty. Plus, I was worried that it had some monitoring system that wouldn’t auto-switch to the generator if the tank showed empty. Wasn’t willing to risk it, so I made sure to reboot the car, and let it go through the sequences again. Yay!
Long trips? No problem. You could easily run the car on gas alone, pull over, shut it off, fill up, and go on gas alone again. The battery is just a nice-to-have low emission mode. (I take back all I said in the previous post about questioning long trip.)
But, yes, I would absolutely be willing to own one of these, and we are considering it…
So much technology… but what is that?
There is so much to be said about how well thought out this car was, for being the first (and only) production run. The quality of the interior and attention to detail is right up there. I’d wouldn’t say they plucked someone off the Bentley line to do the work, but it is up there. The suspension has the right feel of stiffness and comfort. The placement of the mirrors to the curves of the rear fenders. This does not feel like a concept car at all, and so it shouldn’t. All that said, I did notice ONE MINOR oversight… or was it? LCD’s everywhere. HIDs and LEDs in the front. The rear lighting is nice and clean. The whole car is high tech to itself. Then, you look at the map lights and vanity lights… Incandescent, really?! Ah well, someone could easily swap those out for newer LEDs. I’m just picking now.
If you get easily jealous, don’t drive/buy one of these cars. We talked about turning heads earlier, and she did more than just that. People were not only looking, they were waving me down to talk and ask questions, walking up to have a look, and a group of early 20’s guys followed me into a neighborhood to have a look and take pictures. Yes, I was visiting a Racker who thinks he’s Clark Griswold and covers his house in lights. While admiring the decorations, a car pulled up and they told us, “sorry, we followed you. Do you mind if we take pics?” ‘Not at all. Have at it.’
A few of us went to lunch and a group of Airmen (I think) made an about-face for the car. We opened her up and answered all their questions. They were excited to see something they’ve never seen before.
Over the weekend, we went to breakfast after my nephew’s basketball game. Looking for a safe spot to park, I noticed the grouping of cars that were obviously together. Plus, I knew they’d respect the car next to them when they leave. Turns out, they may have worked there, since the cars were still there when we left. So, no enthusiasts were circled around her, but a bunch of random people did stop and take pictures with it. Boy, she sure is getting filthy…
The gift that keeps giving
I am super lucky to be rolling around in this machine for even just a week, and am more than happy to give others a similar experience! While I’m not allowed to let them drive it, the next best thing is to simply ride in it. All week, I was taking people to lunch, or making quick trips up and down I-35. This took some scheduling and moving things around, but I made it happen. Of course, my wife had the most time out of anyone else in the car…
My wife and I did everything from Christmas shopping to grocery shopping in this car. I think that could take us back to the previously discussed family car thoughts… Yea, it would work. Even has hooks for baby seats in the back. We tested it with one of our nephews and his car seat. He wants us to keep “the Iron Man car”. Well, not quite. That was an R8, little guy. But, he doesn’t really know any better yet.
There was a moment I was EXTREMELY angered, while in the car though. Having made a trip to Central Market, specifically because they have charging stations, and we often go there anyway; there were non-EV cars parked in every CPS Charging station. It’s not like there was a lack in parking spaces either, and the parking garage was almost empty. Ah well. That crappy Honda, with it’s fart can, and all the other cars there felt they needed to be there I guess.
On top of friends and co-workers, I also gave another special person in my life a ride. As a Big Mentor for Big Brothers, Big Sisters, I often get to share experiences with my little brother from time to time. This experience was not one to miss. First, I dropped by his High School and sat in the extremely busy pick-up lane. You should have seen the looks on the faces of some of the other kids, as he got in the car. It was priceless. Then, on the last day of driving her, we went for a roll through the hill country, and then a slow roll through The Shops at La Cantera. La Cantera is an outdoor mall, and there were plenty of people to ogle over the car. On the way to drop him off, we stopped at a Sonic to grab some frosty’s. Plenty of questions came from that stop as well. He enjoyed every minute of it.
Like my momma always said…
No, life is not a box of anything. Life is what we make of it, and there is plenty of room outside the box. What my parents DID instill in me is a sense of respect and pride when borrowing something from someone else. Either you give it back exactly how you got it, or in better condition in this case.
Through my time with the Fisker, I was constantly irritated by the swirls all over the car. It’s like someone took sandpaper to the clear, and ran an orbital over it. Not to mention the micro scratches that go through to the primer… So, what do you do? You take out your stock of Meguiar’s, and go to town. (Unfortunately, I ran out of time to do the interior and tires. All I got done, before I had to leave, was the outside.)
I don’t even think this thing has had a proper detail ever. (Come to find out, it hasn’t.) Looked like it never was waxed either. The swirls were in the clear, and I now wish I had time to compound it too…
So, here’s a list of what DID get done.
Bug and sap
Carnauba wax (hand, not orbital)
Wheel clean (not tires)
Sadly, I also didn’t have time to do as many coats of wax as I wanted to. This is the before and after of only one coat. While there was a considerable difference, and the clay did make her glass smooth, she could still use some more work for those deeper swirls. It would have been cool to dive in with some compounds and sealer. Maybe “next” time. 😉
She was dang sexy afterward though, and that glass finish shows! So if you also want your car to look good like this you may try How to remove oxidation and see the results after. Now, she should hold against a few rains and dust for about a month maybe, before starting to dull. Hell, the first week should be simple as rinse and dry…
Thank you Graham!
Graham, I truly appreciate you lending me your toy for the week. This was truly an honor to enjoy! I’d even say, in my case, something more meaningful than oh say a straight-jacket or other award of distinction.
Power is great, but not OMFGAwesome
Brakes are responsive and stop on a dime
Suspension is sporty stiff, without being bladder killers
Interior is amazingly well put together, and still smells of leather after over a year
Fun to drive
Good for long trips (with the extended drive mode)