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EV startup Karma launches GS sedan range, announces GX SUV

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2021 Karma GS-6

California electric-vehicle startup Karma Automotive is in the process of expanding its lineup beyond a single sedan.

This is the company born out of the remains of the original Fisker Automotive, and whose first model, the 2017 Revero, was an extended-range electric sedan whose stunning design was borrowed from the original Fisker Karma. The company has since launched updated versions of the Revero, the latest of which is a much more affordable version dubbed the “GS-6” that arrives for 2021.

2021 Karma GS-6

The GS-6 is an extended-range electric sedan just like the previous Revero but is priced from $83,900, versus the Revero which started above $130,000. Karma said the Revero nameplate will stick around but will be reserved for more high-end models in the future.

The powertrain in the GS-6 features two electric motors at the rear axle for a combined 536 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque. There’s a 28-kilowatt-hour battery that can deliver about 60 miles on a charge, and to add charge on the go the vehicle also packs a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3 that serves purely as a generator. It’s the same engine found in the BMW i8.

2021 Karma GS-6

2021 Karma GS-6

Three grades will be available for the GS-6: Standard, Luxury and Sport. The Sport is expected to have a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds versus about 4.5 seconds for the Standard and Luxury grades. The Sport will also come with 22-inch wheels as standard, instead of 21 inchers on the other grades, along with torque vectoring and vented brake rotors.

Later this year, Karma will add a battery-electric version dubbed the “GS-e6.” It will be priced from $79,900 and have a range approaching 300 miles on a charge, according to Karma.

Karma GX-1 patent drawing

Karma GX-1 patent drawing

Karma GX-1 patent drawing

Karma GX-1 patent drawing

And in 2022 Karma is expected to launch an SUV dubbed the “GX-1.” Like the GS-6, the GX-1 will offer buyers the choice of extended-range or battery-electric powertrains. Official patent drawings alleged to be for the GX-1 that were dug up by Motor Trend hint at a design blending elements from the Aston Martin DBX, Maserati Levante and Porsche Cayenne.

Karma currently handles all production at a plant in Moreno Valley. The plant has a capacity of about 15,000 vehicles per year. As volumes grow, Karma will look to build a second plant. The company is currently investigating locations in China, Europe and Vietnam but is yet to make a decision.

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2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer set for Mar. 11 reveal

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2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

The Jeep Wagoneer’s return is imminent.

Jeep will take the covers off a new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer on March 11, with the reveal scheduled for 12:00 p.m. EST.

Both SUVs arrive as 2022 models and should be at dealerships in the fall, though exact timing hasn’t been announced.

Both will be full-size, three-row SUVs but the Grand Wagoneer will be an extra-plush option, designed to target the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. The regular Wagoneer will be more your Chevrolet Tahoe or Ford Expedition alternative.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

There will also be the choice of a stretched body similar to what rivals are offering, though this option could end up limited to the Grand Wagoneer. In range-topping guise, we could be looking at a price tag nudging $100,000.

The teaser video above doesn’t reveal much but our own spy shots of prototypes and last fall’s reveal of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept hint strongly at what’s to come. The SUVs will be big and bold and characterized by Jeep’s signature seven-slot grille and squared-off wheel arches.

Underpinning the vehicles will be a modified version of the platform from the latest Ram 1500 pickup. An independent rear suspension should contribute to a smooth ride and air suspension will be available for those that desire extra comfort. All Wagoneers will feature an 8-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive will be standard, and four-wheel drive will be available.

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

Powertrains should be the familiar 3.6-liter V-6 and 5.7-liter V-8 found in multiple Stellantis vehicles sold in North America. Mild-hybrid tech may be standard and a plug-in hybrid is expected at some point, perhaps as early as next year. We’ve got our fingers crossed that the Hellcat 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 makes its way into a Trackhawk.

Production will be handled at Stellantis’ Warren Truck Assembly plant in Warren, Michigan.

Note, Jeep fans looking for a three-row SUV have another option this year with the introduction of the 2021 Grand Cherokee L. It starts sales this summer with a base price of $38,690, including destination.

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Porsche lifts stake in Rimac to 24%

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Mate Rimac

Porsche’s board on Monday agreed to increase the company’s stake in Rimac to 24%, up from the current 15%.

The transaction will cost Porsche 70 million euros (approximately $83 million) and the increased stake won’t exercise a controlling influence. Porsche first invested in Rimac in 2018 and previously increased its stake in 2019.

Other key investors in the Croatian electric-vehicle technology company include Hyundai Motor Group, as well as its own CEO and founder, Mate Rimac, who has the biggest stake.

Porsche hasn’t ruled out further increasing its stake. There have been rumors since last September that Porsche’s stake could be increased to 49% in a deal that would see fellow Volkswagen Group brand Bugatti transferred to Rimac. While there was no mention of Bugatti in Monday’s announcement, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume only in February said Bugatti and Rimac were a good fit.

However, comments made by Rimac on Monday suggest that Porsche and Rimac may prefer to stay independent.

Mate Rimac

“With many car manufacturers across the world being Rimac customers, it is important, both for Rimac and Porsche, that we remain an entirely independent business,” he said.

Rimac is arguably best known for its Concept_One battery-electric hypercar which will soon spawn a successor code-named the C_Two. However, the company’s main business is supplying EV technology such as battery and drive systems to other firms, including Porsche in the near future. Porsche has confirmed that it’s placed its first order for components with Rimac.

“Mate Rimac and his team are important partners, especially when it comes to supporting us in the development of components,” Lutz Meschke, head of finance and IT at Porsche, said in a statement. “Rimac is well on its way to becoming a Tier 1 supplier for Porsche and other manufacturers in the high-tech segment.”

But Porsche isn’t the only side benefiting from the growing ties it has with Rimac. Rimac also benefits from Porsche’s production and product development expertise.

The latest announcement comes just weeks after it was reported that VW Group is considering a Porsche spinoff. According to reports out of Germany, VW Group is considering floating up to 25% of Porsche to raise funds for its extensive EV and software development programs.

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Aston Martin plans electric sports car, SUV from 2025

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Lawerence Stroll

Aston Martin unveiled a battery-electric version of its former Rapide sedan in 2019 but has since dropped plans for the model and will instead focus on new electric vehicles due on sale from 2025.

In an interview with the Financial Times published on Sunday, Aston Martin Chairman Lawrence Stroll said the company is planning a sports car and SUV with electric power and that both vehicles will be built in the United Kingdom.

He said the sports car is to be built in Gaydon, England, where Aston Martin builds its current sports cars consisting of the Vantage, DB11 and DBS Superleggera, while the SUV is to be built at the new plant in St Athan, Wales, currently home to the DBX SUV.

Lawerence Stroll

Stroll described the sports car as a vehicle like the Vantage and DB11 and said the company is unsure whether it will stick with the “DB” tag, the initials of previous Aston Martin backer David Brown, on future models. It’s been rumored that Aston Martin’s replacement for the DB11 will be an EV.

The electric sports car could ride on Aston Martin’s aluminum-intensive platform found in its current sports cars and which debuted in the DB11. The brand engineered the architecture to support electric power for the future.

However, developing an EV is a costly endeavor and as a result Aston Martin may call on major investor Mercedes-Benz which has developed a dedicated EV platform debuting shortly in the EQS sedan. The German automaker owns 20% of Aston Martin and already supplies the company with V-8 engines and some in-car technology. Closer ties are planned between the two companies, with Stroll in his interview with the Financial Times stating that Aston Martin may source batteries from Mercedes.

2020 Aston Martin Rapide E

2020 Aston Martin Rapide E

For anyone still with gasoline in their veins, Stroll said Aston Martin will continue to offer models with internal-combustion engines well beyond 2030, the date when the U.K. plans to introduce bans on the sale of non-electrified cars.

A few years ago Aston Martin looked at launching the DBX with electric power but by 2018 decided to revive fellow historic British marque Lagonda as a dedicated EV brand. It then ran into some financial difficulties, even prior to the Covid-19 crisis, and was rescued in 2020 by investors led by Stroll.

In 2018, Stroll led a team of investors in a buyout of the Racing Point Formula One team. The team has been rebranded as Aston Martin for the 2021 season and counts Stroll’s son, Lance, as a driver. Also driving for Aston Martin is four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. The team last week revealed its new race car for the 2021 F1 season.

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