Fisker to replace Karma's drive battery

Consumer Reports News: March 26, 2012 02:08 PM

Fisker Automotive announced today that it would provide a free replacement of the main high-voltage electric-drive battery on all 2012 Karmas. The company is taking this action after its battery supplier, A123 Systems, found a manufacturing defect in some battery cells that could result in "battery underperformance and decreased durability."

This move comes barely two weeks after Consumer Reports experienced a battery failure on its own $108,000 Fisker Karma test vehicle, which abruptly stopped working after just 180 miles.

After we returned the luxury sedan to the dealership to have it repaired, Fisker officials contacted us about the problem. Consumer Reports' auto-test director David Champion reviewed with Fisker the circumstances of our car's failure, and was informed that we would be getting a new lithium-ion battery pack. This would be a standard production version, identical to the one that came with the car.

It looks like our experience was no fluke. Fisker is including this replacement as part of an "enhanced customer care" program that also extends the warranty for 2012 North American cars from 50 months/50,000 miles to 60 months/60,000 miles. The package involves "a complete battery replacement at no cost for all affected 2012 MY Fisker Karma owners."

In its press release, Fisker also said that a "next-generation" software upgrade will be released in the next few days.

Since having a new battery installed at the dealer, our Karma has been running and charging just fine. But, as we assume that our new production battery has the defect that A123 has isolated, we expect to be getting a notification about the replacement program soon.

Gordon Hard

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