Karma Automotive has a massive challenge ahead of it. The reborn and newly managed electric vehicle manufacturer may already have a product ready for the market, but rivals like Tesla have a massive head start and a loyal following.
While the automaker awaits completion of its new assembly plant in Moreno Valley, California, it has apparently been hard at work to secure powertrain components from a very well-known source: BMW. The two have reportedly inked a deal that will make BMW’s high-voltage battery charging systems and a “wide range of hybrid and EV systems” available for the brand’s planned 2017 EV and future vehicle projects.
Not much else about the partnership is known, but it’s assumed that the BMW components won’t change Karma’s proposal to build a new electric vehicle next year in its California factory. Approximately 150 employees will be hired to build the new model, which will closely mirror the vehicle that went out of production in 2012.
The real distinction between the 2012 Karma and whatever the new one will be called will be in its electric hardware. While the previous Karma used a turbocharged 2.0-liter gas engine, a 20kWh lithium-ion battery, and two electric motors for motivation, the new one will almost certainly use a lighter, more efficient setup from Bavaria’s auto marque.
“The Wanxiang Group is giving Karma Automotive the opportunity to bring a stunning car back to the market, and the partnership with BMW and their outstanding track record is a great fit for the future” said Karma CEO Tom Corcoran. “We will continue to develop beautiful cars with the latest cutting edge hybrid and EV technology.”
Though the rest of the automotive industry is finally starting to catch up to Tesla, it may still be off the pace of the reborn Karma Automotive, who already have a platform which some (Californians) are familiar with. With well-sorted electric components at its disposal, Karma may stand a fighting chance. The question remains as to what other luxury automakers will do in the future (BMW included) to challenge both EV startups.