Last week, our $107,850 Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid flashed an error message and locked in gear with just 180 miles on the odometer. The disabled car was taken on a flatbed truck to the dealership where we bought the car. Now, after 48 hours at the shop, the Karma has experienced a rebirth, and it is operating fine at our test track. (Read the original post: “Bad Karma: Our Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid breaks down.”)
Our problem occurred during routine speedometer calibration runs on our test track, part of the standard procedures for checking in new vehicles. This exercise involves running the car up to 65 mph to check the accuracy of the speedometer. With the warning light on and chime sounding what would become a death knell, we coasted to a halt next to our maintenance garage, where the car went into Neutral, and would then only move from Neutral to Park. After letting the car sit for an hour, we were able to restart and move the vehicle, but the error message reappeared and it again locked in gear when parked.
The dealer’s repair invoice says the problem was “duplicated repeatedly.” A “fault was found in the battery and inverter cable. Both were replaced as a unit.” In other words, we now have a brand-new lithium-ion drive battery pack provided under warranty, though likely costing as much as a small, fuel-efficient car. Throughout the process, the dealer’s service department kept us up to date on the progress. And they were courteous enough to wash the car and charge it up before shipping the luxury sedan back to us.
With the car back, we will continue with our check-in procedures and begin logging break-in miles before the formal testing begins. Rest assured, we will share our experiences and findings in the weeks ahead, leading up to the formal road test. And hopefully, we will have better karma.