Published on March 2nd, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Fisker Karma — Justin Bieber’s 18th Birthday Present (VIDEO)

March 2nd, 2012 by  

Justin Bieber got a $100,000 plug-in hybrid with a solar panel roof, the Fisker Karma, for his 18th birthday. I imagine most of our readers don’t listen to Bieber’s music, but I thought this news might be a bit of an item of interest for you. And it’s Friday, after all, so why not have a little more fun?

Justin Bieber's new electric car, as presented on Ellen.

Justin Bieber's new electric car, as presented on Ellen.

If you’re interested in the birthday details, Scott Braun, Bieber’s manager, surprised Bieber with the car on Ellen (the Ellen Degeneres Show) yesterday.

“We wanted to make sure, since you love cars, that when you’re on the road you are always looking environmentally friendly,” Braun said as DeGeneres stood on the side and smiled large.

“And we decided to get you a car that would make you stand out. I think you know where I’m going, and you’re kind of freaking out right now. That’s a Fisker Karma.”

Bieber looked pretty surprised, as you can see in this video:

The Fisker Karma is a bit contentious in the green car scene. On the one hand, it is a plug-in hybrid, and it’s got a super sexy design, even its critics will note. However, the car only gets about 30-50 miles on electricity alone.

Chris DeMorro of sister site Gas2 thinks a lot more government support should be going towards Tesla Motors’ cars than Fisker Automotive’s. Basically, he recently called for the DOE to drop its support for Fisker and shift it over to Tesla.

“If anything, Obama needs to cut off Fisker’s funding and double down on Tesla. I know that sounds harsh, but so far Tesla is the only company with the means to build electric cars with the range and performance of conventional gas-powered cars.”

Chris was a lot more into the Karma back in March 2011. At that time, he wrote: “It seems like its been a decade since Fisker first introduced the world to its super-sexy plug-in hybrid, the Karma (though it’s only just over three years). Finally though, the first Karma is complete, with more to come…. This has been a long time coming, and the Karma is at the top of the list of cars-I’d-give-up-beer-but-not-bacon-for. Never giving up bacon (and there’s always whiskey!)”

But Fisker has run into a number of problems that, he thinks, show it’s not as worthy of support as Tesla.

What are you thoughts? (And what are your thoughts on Justin Bieber getting the car and what that could do for broader public appeal, if you have any?) I have to say, I’m not an expert on Fisker or Bieber.

h/t LA Times

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • This is clearly a marketing play right? They either gave or paid Justin to cruise around in their new Fisker?

    • Bob_Wallace

      The story is that his manager gave it to him as a birthday present.

      Some people have lots of money.

  • biggest fan

    i think Justin deserves this present

  • Pingback: 12 best electric cars and hybrids of 2012 | Earth and Industry()

  • rkt9

    Either car is basically a luxury car, only affordable by a small percentage of people. Even the less sexy ones are not that affordable. Frankly I don’t know why the DOE would support either company. Rather than shifting government support from one to the other, we would be better served to support development of cheaper, stronger batteries, that can be used in all the different makes.

    Was it the car that came with the solar panel roof, or was the solar panel roof in addition to the car, installed on his house?

    Cars with $20,000 worth of batteries that last 5 years, are not going to get us off oil. A $15,000 car with a range of 150 miles, would have us off foreign oil rather quickly. The savings would likely be spent on installing solar PV cells on homes, and businesses, which could have us off domestic coal.

    • Bob_Wallace

      You support them at this point in time because it’s a way to build an electric car company. People with deep pockets will buy these machines which will be produced in only small numbers. And because the prices are high, manufacturers can recover some of their development expenses.

      Everything that is learned at this rarefied level will transfer down to the “everyperson” EV. Starting with the “everyperson” would have produced a car that no average Joe or Jane would have been willing/able to purchase.

      Tesla has laid out their route.

      Start with the $100,000+ Roadster. Build a few hundred and show that EVs don’t have to be short range golf carts with windows. (Done)

      Build a moderate-luxury EV with very usable range and sell if for considerably less than the Roadster. (Done)

      Build an ‘affordable’ EV for the folks who might otherwise by a Civic or Camry. (That’s to happen in a year or so.)

      BTW, battery prices are coming down pretty quickly The batteries for a Nissan Leaf are probably now under $10k. And battery life is a lot longer than 5 years. The Toshiba SCiB batteries that Honda is using in its Fit EV should last about 400,000 miles. (4,000 full DoD cycles in a 123 mile range EV.)

      My guess is that a $25,000 car with a 175 mile range gets us off both foreign and domestic oil very quickly. If we can offer drivers an EV that costs them no more than $100/mo during the loan payoff period and then saves them $100 – 200/mo we’re going to see a lot of guzzlers heading to the crusher sooner than normal.

      • rkt9

        I appreciate your reply, and the upbeat information you provide. I read another article today, I think it was Yahoo, but I can’t find it now, it said the cost of the batteries for a Leaf was about half the cost of the car, and only last 5 years. I agree a $25,000 car, 175 mile range, with batteries that can last 400,000 miles will be a game changer.

        The last car I bought was 4 years ago, it was 10 years old when I bought it, and it had low miles. I paid $3500, and it runs great. I don’t put that many miles on a car, so it would not make sense for me to spend $25000 on an electric car.

        Even if the batteries are under 10K it is going to be a tough sell to people like myself. Now if gas were to go to $10 a gal. then I might reconsider.

        I’m not against public funding of Tesla or Fiskar, I am just wondering if it wouldn’t be better to fund batteries instead? That might be the quicker way to energy independence.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Short years back EV batteries were $1,000 per kW. The number most seen today is $400/kW. The Leaf has a 24kW battery pack which would mean $9,600 for batteries.

          Prices have changed very quickly, you have to check to see when an article was written. Something written two years ago, or with two year old numbers is going to be out of date.

          Prices, as I understand it, fell considerably in the last year. That drop in battery price is not reflected in the show room price of the Leaf (and Volt) because manufactures had already signed 2012 purchase contracts before prices dropped. We should see quite different prices when the 2013 models arrive.

          GM is guaranteeing the Volt’s batteries for 8 years or 100,000 miles. But think about how many gasmobiles have a 30,000 mile guarantee yet we commonly get over 100k with no problems.

          After 100k the Leaf batteries will still have a lot of life left in them. They should hold at least 80% as much power as they did when new. If your driving style allows you to go 100 miles between charges when new you should still get 80 miles.

          Utility companies are planning on buying these used “80%” batteries for grid storage. I suspect that someone buying a Leaf today might well replace the “100 mile” battery pack with a significantly longer range battery pack several years from now, for a lot less than $5k, and have a utility company pay a hunk of that $5k for the old battery.

          You can’t really compare a used car with a new car. Almost always you’re paying a premium in order to be the ‘first driver’. My father always bought cars when they were three years old and sold them when they turned six. He let the first driver eat the largest part of the depreciation and let the third driver deal with repairs that were going to start after 60k – 70k. (That was back when cars didn’t last much more than 100k.)

          I set up a spreadsheet and compared a full priced ($32,500) Nissan Leaf with a 30MPG $20k gasmobile. For the first five years (while paying off the loan) you would pay between $100 and $200 more per month to drive the Leaf. Once the loan was paid you would save between $100 and $200 per month over the gasmobile. At about ten years of ownership they cost the same. After 12 years the Leaf owner would save about $6k over owning the gasmobile.

          And that assumes that gas goes up only 3% per year over the next ten years. (12k miles per year, $0.08/kWh electricity, 4% interest.)

          Battery research and manufacturing is being supported. A lot of the stimulus money helped build battery factories in the US and that’s a large part of what has brought down battery prices.

          Battery research is going on at many universities and often/generally funded by government grants.

          Private industry is also spending vast amounts of money on batteries. It’s clear to many that we’re going to be moving to electric cars if/when we have a battery that can hold enough power and brings the price of an EV down to not much more than a gasmobile.

          The company/companies that develop those batteries are going to make fortunes. I don’t think funding for battery tech is underfunded at all.

Back to Top ↑