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The Consumer Reports Fisker Karma test vehicle which broke down on them last week has now been returned to the fleet after spending 48 hours at a Fisker dealerhsip.
During a routine speedometer test the Karma began to flash a warning light and a chime to alert the driver that something was amiss. Once the car came to a stop the Consumer Reports testers could not get the vehicle to shift into any gear other than park and neutral.
The nearest Fisker dealership was alerted of the issue, and sent a flatbed to pick up the car. Consumer Reports says that the dealership found a fault with the battery and the inverter and both of them were replaced.
With a new battery and new inverter cable the car has been returned to the test fleet problem free… for now.
Watch the video below of the Karma breaking down on Consumer Reports.
Well this is just embarrassing. American electric automaker Fisker has had some pretty bad months recently, starting with a recall back in December, to reports of the company running out of funds, that has lead to the delay of Project Nina and then possible reports that the Karma could brick.
The automaker was probably hoping some good press would come with Consumer Reports putting the Karma to the test, looking to prove to the world that it is indeed a formidable plug-in hybrid especially at its hefty $107,850 price tag. That can just go out the window now, as Consumer Reports has reported that with less than 200 miles on the odometer their Karma has broken down.
The breakdown occurred while Consumer Reports was doing a speedometer calibration run on their test track, something they do for every test car. The calibration simply has the vehicle driving at a constant speed of 65-mph between two measured points. During one of its runs, “the dashboard flashed a message and sounded a ‘bing’ showing a major fault,” according to Consumer Reports.
They promptly took the vehicle off the track and parked it, rummaging through the owner’s manual to determine what may have occurred. Unfortunately after that, the Karma refused to let them shift the vehicle into any gear. The electronic shifter would only allow Park or Neutral.
The vehicle sat for about an hour before they restarted it hoping for better luck. This time around, it allowed them to put it into gear but it only moved a few feet before the error message appeared again and the Karma disabled itself. The dealer promptly sent out a flatbed tow truck to pick up the disabled Karma, which was almost 100 miles away from the dealership.
It’s disheartening to see all this funding going towards the Fisker brand and very little positive news has surfaced from the vehicle. It will be interesting to see what Consumer Reports publishes if they ever get the vehicle drivable for more than a couple of days.
Watch their video below
Fisker Automotive, an electric car manufacturer based out of Southern California announced that it had laid off employees and contractors at both their headquarters and assembly facility in Wilmington, Delaware as they attempt to renegotiate terms from their $529-million loan from the US Department of Energy.
Fisker spokesman, Roger Ormisher, recently told the Associated Press that Fisker Automotive hopes that they can “reach a resolution soon” with the Department of Energy on revised terms on their low-interest loans. Recently, Fisker missed critical deadlines on the development of their second vehicle which is currently called Project Nina. Project Nina is supposed to be a mid-sized, plug-in sedan to complement the already existing Karma model.
Even though Fisker claims that much of the design, engineering, development, and testing has been done on Project Nina, the automaker said in October that production wouldn’t begin until mid-2013 though some production would occur before the end of 2012.
The Fisker Karma hasn’t been a huge success either, marketed as a range-extended electric luxury sport sedan. It had several delays in its launch and recently went through a recall to prevent a potential battery-pack leak. The layoffs that were announced included 40 employees and contractors in Anaheim, California and 26 workers at their Wilmington plant. Fisker Automotive is currently looking to conserve its cash while renegotiating their loans.
GALLERY: Fisker Karma
[Source: Associated Press]
The world’s first luxury electric car, the Fisker Karma, is currently on display at the one of the world’s most famous department stores, Harrods in Knightsbridge, London. The Karma will be on display throughout the busy winter sale period until February 4th, 2012.
Those interested in purchasing a Fisker Karma will be connected with international dealers for test drives but will be able to take a tour of the vehicle at Harrods and offered the chance to virtually configure their own model.
The 2012 Fisker Karma is priced from $102,000 and is the world’s first true luxury electric vehicle. Harrods offers the finest merchandise with unrivaled choice and a bespoke personal service, attracting loyal customers from all around the world.
“Harrods is one of the most prestigious retail sites in the world, which is perfect for our car,” said Henrik Fisker, co-founder and CEO of Fisker Automotive. “The landmark store attracts hundreds of thousands of customers from all over the world during January, and we look forward to introducing them to Fisker Automotive.”
The “potential safety issue” announced by Fisker automotive earlier this week has now become a fully fledged recall.
The recall will affect approximately 239 vehicles that were built between July 1st, 2011 through to November 3rd 2011 , says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA). Fisker says that the problem is caused by certain hose clamps connected to the cooling system that have been positioned incorrectly. When these clamps fail it has the potential for a coolant leak directly into the battery compartment which would cause a short circuit and inevitably a fire.
“Our quality check procedures have enabled us to identify a potential battery coolant issue at the factory and initiate a rapid response program to address it in the marketplace” said Henrik Fisker, chief designer and CEO at Fisker automotive in an open letter posted on the companies website addressed to all customers. “As a precaution we are replacing battery packs in the 50 cars already in customer hands with brand new ones, and are making modifications to address the issue in the more than 1,200 Karmas already produced and in production”.
The recall will begin during January of 2012 and will be free of charge to all clients. Anyone interested in more information can contact Fisker consumer affairs at 1-855-575-7577, option 2, 6am – 7pm (PST) Monday through Friday.
Fisker is interested in BMW’s new turbocharged four-cylinder engine for the “Project Nina’ mid-size premium sedan. The “Project Nina” sedan will be built at a former GM plant in Wilmington, Delaware by the end of 2012. The contract signed between BMW and Fisker allows for the supply of up to 100,000 engines per year.
“The BMW engine was an obvious choice for us, as BMW is known for producing the best and most fuel efficient gasoline engines in the world,” said Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker. “We are very pleased to have signed this agreement with BMW.”
Currently, Fisker uses a General Motors turbocharged 2.o-liter engine for the Karma, but nothing has been mentioned as to whether the vehicle will also receive BMW power in 2012.
GALLERY: Fisker Karma
Expand the idea to a full-size vehicle, and the results are certainly thrilling. So far, all fully-electric vehicles have had a drawback, their single-speed gearbox, which tend to neuter the driving experience.
No one has been able to adopt a multi-speed gearbox to work reliably with an electric motor, but Henrik Fisker is working on just that for his Karma plug-in hybrid sedan.
Fisker believes he has a solution, which if it works reliably, would offer Karma drivers “Veyron levels of performance.” That means that the four-door sedan could accelerate from 0-60 mph in under 3-seconds.
No timeline has been given as to when this system will become available, but with such impressive performance figures, we can hardly wait.
However, it now seems that the project is finally well on its way to hit the open road, as the first Karma is set to be delivered later this month, to none other than Hollywood A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio.
Other notable names on the order list of this plug-in hybrid super sedan include Al Gore and Colin Powell.
The Karma as many of you know, is powered by two electric motors, which can power this car for about 80-miles on just battery power alone. Once the battery runs out of juice, a GM sourced 2.0-liter, turbo-charged, four-cylinder engine will come into play to take you the remaining distance. The idea is, you get green motoring without any mileage limitations.
Fisker says they have secured about 3000 orders for the Karma, which is being built by Valmet in Finland. Currently only 5 cars a week are rolling out, but that number will jump to 300 per week from November.
Henrik Fisker, the CEO of the company has said, “Our sales are split 50:50 between early-adopting car enthusiasts and total non-car enthusiasts who just like that we are bringing something totally new to market. They recognize the infrastructure isn’t there for electric cars, and see we offer a stylish, stress-free alternative with no range compromises.”
The Karma sedan is priced from around $100,000. Later, a convertible and wagon version will also be offered.
With much of the electric car attention being drawn by the first mass-produced Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt, many have ignored the 2011 Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid luxury sports sedan.
Fisker dealers in Los Angeles previously claimed the first deliveries to paying customers would take place in March or April of this year. But the cars never materialized, and the date was pushed into the third quarter of this year.
The first arrivals will likely take place sometime in July, according to Fisker, for a retail price of $95,000
[Source: Green Car Reports]
Just a year and a half after it was first unveiled as a concept car the Fisker Karma is set to take to the road track during the Monterey Peninsula’s Classic Car Week. On August 15th, the plug-in hybrid Karma will run two laps of the world-famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca course at 11:10 a.m on August 15th, during the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Race.
“The Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races is the best stage in the world for great moments in automotive history,” said Fisker Automotive CEO, Henrik Fisker. “Fisker is honored to be a part of it.”
Using a 260hp GM-sourced Ecotec motor and two 201.5hp electric motors, the Karma’s Q-Drive powertrain allows the plug-in hybrid to travel 50 miles on pure electric power before the gasoline engine kicks in to recharge the lithium-ion battery packs. But it’s more than just a plug-in hybrid, it’s a full-on luxury sedan and can even perform with a 0-60 mph time of 6.0 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph.
The Karma will also be on display the day before at Concorso Italiano, alongside the Karma Sunset hardtop convertible concept. The Karma Sunset will also make an appearance at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, August 16.
GALLERY: Fisker Karma
Official release after the jump:
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It’s the Fisker Karma like you’ve never seen it before. This video (no doubt leaked on YouTube to keep up the marketing buzz surrounding the luxury hybrid) shows the Karma sliding through pylons and screeching its tires. Until now all we’ve ever seen are carefully crafted beauty shots and auto show snaps.
With just over 400hp, Fisker is apparently out to prove that the Karma can not only deliver luxury wit reduced damage to the environment, it can also deliver performance.
Fisker recently announced that it has arranged for 32 retailers to sell its vehicles in North Ameirca. The Karma can achieve 100 mpg and retails for a starting price of $87,900.
Plug-in luxury hybrids almost ready to go on sale
Fisker Automotive is a company that continues to prove doubters wrong. Not only did it beat the world’s largest automakers to developing a plug-in hybrid, but now it has secured a dealer network throughout the United States.
Fisker recently announced that it has arranged for 32 retailers to sell its vehicles, starting with the Karma plug-in hybrid luxury car. Fisker claims the Karma can achieve 100 mpg while producing 408hp and retailers will sell the car for a starting price of $87,900.
The dealerships cover a wide geographic area with locations in New York, Miami and Orange County. Less traditional luxury market swill also be served with retailers in states like Alabama, Minnesota and Colorado. There is even a dealership in British Columbia, Canada.
Leading the charge in solidifying the dealerships was Fisker board member Vic Doolan who worked for both BMW and Volvo in the 1990s and 2000s, helping them set record sales.
“Our retail partners are our most important assets,” he said. “To our customers, they are the face of the company. For that reason, we’ve chosen those who will give Fisker owners the comfort and confidence to drive the future.”
Fisker says the showrooms will reflect the company’s concern for the environment, using natural and sustainable materials. They will be, ” Eco-facilities, not Ego-facilities.”
For more on the Fisker Karma see the company’s website here:
A full list of Fisker dealerships is located after the jump:
Plug-in Hybrid Karma S will do 50 miles on a charge and make 408hp
After unveiling the luxury plug-in hybrid Karma Concept at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit last year, Fisker is set to show another concept as well as the production version of the Karma.
The production Karma S, has been developed with Quantum Technologies and boasts a plug-in Hybrid system that allows drivers to drive 50 miles on a single charge. Once the battery power runs out, the gasoline engine will kick in and the car will operate like a conventional hybrid.
Because of this innovative system, Fisker says that owners who drive less than 50 miles per day will achieve a yearly average fuel economy of 100 mpg.
The Karma will be powered by a GM-sourced 2.4-liter Ecotec engine that has been updated with direct injection technology. The engine alone makes 260hp and when combined with the two electric motors will make 408hp. Fisker claims this is enough for a 0-60 mph time of 5.8 seconds. Top speed is rated at a respectable 125 mph.
The stunning looking (both inside and out) Karma S will be priced at $87,900. The first deliveries are scheduled for November 2009 and apparently models are sold out until mid-2010.
Impressively, Fisker has arranged for the Karma S to be produced at the Valmet Automotive plant, a state-of-the-art facility where the Porsche Boxster and Cayman are manufactured.
Fisker Karma S:
Official release after the break: