INHABITAT: So the Karma is the first electric car that you designed; what inspired you to get into electric cars?
Henrik: For me it was not just about electric. It was about thinking about how do people actually drive cars today. You know, in car commercials today you see people going to work on an open road, curvy road. That’s not how we go to work. We sit in traffic, you know? And that’s how we use our car. And rarely do we take it out on an open road.
So I thought it would be great if I would be able to on my daily commute be in electric mode and when I have to go far, being in some sort of gasoline mode, because that’s what you need when you go far. For me that meant that suddenly you actually could create an uncompromising electric vehicle. But I felt it had to be more than that. It also was about the rest of the vehicle, because we want to be an environmental friendly brand as a whole. So it’s not just about the technology.
We have reclaimed wood in our car. We are probably the only car company in the world, which actually doesn’t cut down any trees. All our wood is reclaimed either from the California fires or from places like the bottom of Lake Michigan. And we offer an animal free interior. We offer the biggest solar panel in the world on a car ever done. Those are the types of things where it’s more – it’s about an entire brand. Even our dealers have to use solar powered signs.
INHABITAT: So I absolutely love the Karma. I think it’s the best looking EV out there. What inspired the Karma’s design?
Henrik: To be honest, the essential beauty of cars. So when we talk about beautiful cars we always go back to the ‘50s and ‘60s and so I kind of went back and thought what was it that made us fall in love with the cars. There were these amazing proportions, great sculpture, and just really sexy lines in the perfect proportion. I wanted to bring that back with the Karma and for us the Karma is the essence of the brand, so it had to be very dramatic. I wanted to create a car where you didn’t think instantly about whether it was environmental friendly or not; you thought about, “Wow! I just want that car.”
INHABITAT: So, you’re getting the Corporate Design Award from Global Green tonight. What does that mean to you?
Henrik: This is just a start. We’re coming out, obviously, with a very expensive vehicle. We’re getting a nice, green award for it, but it’s really about creating awareness so when we come out with vehicles that are eventually half the price of the Karma or even cheaper than that, then people start feeling that it started out with a very desirable product and we want to create a really desirable brand. That’s how you create a good brand, by creating this unique first product.
So, for us to be part of this event is just really to create more awareness about that environmental products can actually be really cool.