Fisker Karma

Fisker CEO Tony Posawatz is a big believer in extended-range electric vehicles. In fact, he's willing to bet the technology is not simply a bridge to more powerful batteries and quicker charging stations--he thinks they're here to stay.
"It's a technology that will go long into the future and sustain customer needs and wants for a long time," Posawatz said at a luncheon with the media this week.

Posawatz, former head of development for General Motor's Chevy Volt, has been CEO of beleaguered Fisker for just five weeks. The Volt and the Fisker Karma use similar powertrain technology--a large battery pack that powers the car, and a gas engine that fuels a generator once the battery pack depletes.

Other companies, like Nissan with its all-electric Leaf and Tesla with its battery-powered Model S, are relying simply on battery packs with no gas engine backup. So far this year, Nissan has sold 5,212 Leaf vehicles. Chevy has sold 16,348 Volts.

Numbers for the smaller automakers, like Tesla and Fisker, are harder to come by. But Posawatz said the message he's hearing from consumers is clear:

"The market is signaling today that the concern over charge and range is very real," he said. "The market has already given us a indication of what they prefer."

Tesla, on the other hand, is betting that the ability to charge cars quickly with superchargers will help entice customers to its brand. But Posawatz said building out the infrastructure across the country that would support electric-only cars will take "multi-decades."