Possible hybrid-bakkie in the making from American electric vehicle maker?
American vehicle brand, Karma (previously Fisker Automotive), teased a double-cab bakkie rendering earlier this year. With many broken promises over the years, Karma’s product deadlines are often met with disappointment, but the future of its bakkie project has just become a bit more real.
The company has now shown a working example of its new plug-in hybrid vehicle platform. Called the E-Flex, it is claimed to be one of the most sophisticated and adaptable hybrid vehicle platforms in existence.
For Karma’s own use the new E-Flex platform will support five different products, which could possibly include a production version of its new double-cab bakkie.
The E-Flex platform differs from the skateboard-type design, which has become the industry standard for electric vehicles of late. Where the clever engineering happens, is in how adjustable it is – being able to change wheelbase and ride height configurations, for different plug-in hybrid applications.
Whilst the industry is rushing to produce pure electric vehicle platforms, the reality is that most customers are more comfortable with hybrids. In the global bakkie market, hybrids are still a complete rarity and with the E-Flex platform, Karma could have an important design advantage to leverage.
Karma claims that 22 vehicle configurations are possible on its E-Flex platform, so it is quite safe to assume a bakkie is one of them. Our indication of the E-Flex’s powertrain output is by scrutinizing the speciation of Karma’s 2020 model year Revero GT sportscar – which is the only production vehicle currently using it.
The hybrids system powering Karma’s Revero uses a relatively modest 28 kWh battery pack, in combination with a BMW sourced 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. With the benefit of turbocharging, the total peak system output is 400 kW and 746 Nm.
Those numbers would be more than potent enough for any future double-cab bakkie project from Karma. And truth be told, the market might be more receptive to a hybrid bakkie transition, for now, than an expensive pure battery-driven double-cab.