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Fisker Recalls 239 Karma Electric Sedans To Fix Battery Pack

 
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2012 Fisker Karma EcoSport

2012 Fisker Karma EcoSport

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Finding out about battery defects was something of a nightmare before Christmas for luxury automaker Fisker, who suddenly had to deal with news that its Karma might be liable to catch fire.

Fisker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have now officially announced a recall for 239 Karma electric sedans currently roaming the streets.

All models made between July 1, 2011 and November 3, 2011 contain misaligned hose clamps for the battery cooling system, which could spring a leak. The NHTSA recall notice describes the possible consequence of such a leak, "If coolant enters the battery compartment, an electrical short could occur possibly resulting in a fire".

Fisker is notifying owners and dealers will replace the high-voltage batter with a new one at no cost to the owners. The recall is expected to begin during January 2012.

The short-circuiting problem isn't unique to Fisker, and is currently one of the factors being investigated in the recent Chevrolet Volt fires, following an NHTSA crash test.

There have been no such fires for the Karma and the issue has been caused by battery pack supplier A123 Systems rather than Fisker itself, but the recall will do nothing to help the image of electric vehicles in light of the Volt's high-profile problems.

Automotive News reports that A123's customer notice, sent out when the issue became apparent, read "We expect this situation to have minimal financial impact on A123, and our relationship with Fisker remains strong".

Fisker and A123 are making every effort to fix the issue before it becomes a problem, ensuring its customers will still have good karma in the New Year.

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Comments (14)
  1. In the 4th paragraph from the bottom, you name Tesla, when I think you mean Fisker.
     
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  2. Ah, well spotted Jason, thank you. Now fixed.
     
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  3. Why write about the Fisker Karma in gcr - it's not a green car. How about those EPA numbers anyway :) Couple dozen miles on batteries? 20mpg on engine?
     
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  4. Do you really trust the EPA?! And besides it's not like it's the only car in the world that didn't meet expectations, BMW canceled the X6 hybrid because it was disappointing. Nothing is ever flawlessly perfect.
     
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  5. I have found EPA vehicle mileage numbers to be very accurate. They may have idelogical issues, but they can do math.
     
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  6. An EPA rating of 52 MPGe isn't too shabby for a car that reaches 60mph in around 6 seconds. By the standards of similarly performing cars, it's significantly greener. Those couple of dozen EV miles will likely be as useful to Karma owners as they are to Volt owners.
     
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  7. Well said Antony.
     
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  8. Actually 52 MPGe is horrible even for a car as heavy as the Karma.

    I crunched the numbers and created a blog post to show just how bad it is.
    http://johncbriggs-electricvehicles.blogspot.com/2011/09/epa-efficiency.html
     
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  9. Agreed, Fisker Karma is not a green car and this should be mentioned at the beginning of every article written about it.
     
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  10. Now, you see, my anger with GM is becoming more justified. They recalled everyone of the Karmas that has the same problem as the Volt, but they did not recall a single one of the Volts that has the same problem as the Karma. The Volt has caught on fire, but the Karma has not.
     
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  11. The Volt's fire problem is really the NHTSA's fault, they wrecked it and then left the car unattended and made no attempt to check the battery afterwards. If the NHTSA had drained the battery either before or after there probably wouldn't have been a fire. The only real problem is the NHTSA's lack of safety procedures for battery packs after a crash.
     
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  12. Actually, I suspect GM will make a design change to reduce the likelihood of a fire in the future. Volt is not the only EV to be crashed by NHTSA, yet it appears to be the only one to catch fire, twice at that.

    However, Chevy will likely get this under control which is a good thing.
     
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  13. I have no doubt that GM will mend the problem, it wouldn't make sence to just leave it. But the NHTSA does need to adopt battery pack safety procedures.
     
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  14. Right, fires are serious that it should be fixed on both ends. Chevy should fix the pack to reduce the chances of fires and NHTSA needs to implement battery drainage procedures and, I guess, make sure towing companies follow them after a wreck.
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