Fisker To Replace Karma Battery That Quit During Consumer Reports Testing

Consumer Reports couldn’t even get their $108,000 Fisker Karma test car through its first round of tests before its battery went kaput. And now, Fisker says they’ll be replacing said defective parts in the luxury electronic vehicles.

Fisker Automotive says they’ll provide free replacements of the main high-voltage electric-drive battery on all 2012 Karmas. Its battery supplier, A123 Systems, discovered a manufacturing defect in some battery cells that could result in “battery underperformance and decreased durability.”

Just two weeks ago, our wise elder siblings at Consumer Reports had barely begun putting their vehicle through its paces on the test track when it sputtered out after 180 miles. They usually buy and test around 80 cars a year, and this was the first time they had a car that was undriveable without having completed even the most preliminary tests.

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.

After the dealer installed a new battery, Consumer Reports‘ Karma has been running and charging fine, but since it’s a defect that has been identified in the battery, a replacement should guarantee they can test the car to its fullest ability.

Fisker to replace Karma’s drive batteries [Consumer Reports]


Edit Your Comment

  1. gman863 says:

    $108,000? 60,000 mile battery warranty?

    Hyundai has a lifetime (no mileage limit for original owner) battery warranty on the Sonata Hybrid.

    Oh, and did I mention the Sonata Hybrid costs about $80,000 less?

    • dwtomek says:

      The key to selling luxury products to the excessively wealthy is to remember that it’s hard to spend all of that money. Thus, you provide them with ample opportunity to rid themselves of those funds. This functions fine so long as the money is simply wasted. You only run into problems when attempting to get them to waste those funds on the betterment of their fellow man. That proves to be the breaking point in wasteful spending.

    • Jack T Ripper says:

      Yes, but you have to leave your balls as a deposit and try to get excited about having a Hyundai sitting in your driveway. You can tell the value of a vehicle by how many old beat up ones there are still on the road. Hyundai and Kia make disposable cars meant to look good for the first owner for 40 or 50 thousand miles, and then after that they cost more to maintain than they are worth. It is tough to shell out 10% of the value of your car each time you have to get a new set of tires. Sure the battery might have a great warranty on it, but every other material the car is made of would melt in high heat or dissolve if it got wet. POS cars…

  2. Bladerunner says:

    $108,000 should have paid for a heck of a lot of testing and quality control, neh?

    • oldwiz65 says:

      Don’t forget the millions the government paid the company to build the d*** car to “promote jobs in the U.S.”, but the car isn’t made in the U.S. anyway.

      • HeadlessCow says:

        You mean the millions that they paid the company to build a completely different car in the US…

  3. Jawaka says:

    Meh, shit and errors happen. Even to $108,000 cars. At least the company admitted the defect and is taking responsibility towards fixing it.

  4. fontman2008 says:

    Humm- Battery bad , sounds like QA issues . should have never the factory . blame it on the supplier how lame . Car is a fail .

    • Olivia Neutron-Bomb says:

      Speaking of lame, I think you a word.

    • Sarahlara says:

      The *battery* may be a fail, but I think the car has still yet to prove itself. At least the company is working on the problem quickly. Given time, every car manufmacturer has a recall of some sort.

  5. bbf says:

    Yeah, CR got a replacement battery, but now that Fisker *knows* it’s a CR test mule, who says they didn’t put a “special” battery in the car. To keep the the neutral bias in its tests, CR should immediately sell the Karma and have another “mystery buyer” purchase another new one for testing.

  6. sspeedracer says:

    I thought CR was above the mudslinging. Poor attempt to grab headlines.

    • Jack T Ripper says:

      Mudslinging?? They bought a car that they couldn’t even test because of what I would call ‘catastrophic failure’. Kind of hard to test an electric car without a functional battery, wouldn’t you say? They weren’t slinging mud. They were just noting that they bought a six figure car that they were only able to drive for 180 miles before it was rendered a huge paper weight. That isn’t slinging mud. Slinging mud would have been taking shots at the company or suppliers or whatever. RTFA.

      • sspeedracer says:

        What Consumer Union did is wrong on several levels. 1) it violates their own test method by revealing their identity to the manufacturer prior to testing 2) publish review prior to completion of test 3) is statistically irrelevant n=1 sample size 4) extends through its sister company The Consumerist a skewed negative review of a startup company.

        The original CR report was an obvious attempt to garner site traffic at the expense of Fisker, nothing more. Google rating indicate CR was successful and Consumerist is riding coat tails. Also GFYS.

  7. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    So they’re making themselves out to be awesome for fixing a brand new car that is under warranty in the first place?

  8. Press1forDialTone says:

    I hope the 1% like their epic fail electric exoti-car.
    CR should be ashamed to even paying attention to this product.
    CR should always be for the 99% rest of us. Period.
    I have a love-hate relationship with CR. I will see them
    going in a direction and cancel my subscription, then
    I will review my decision later on and try another year.
    They seem to have become much less “in-depth” than
    in past years and I have read them a long time, 20+ years.
    It seems to have become more “USA Today-like” which is
    a terrible shame.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Oh, so because the product is not intended for the mjority of the market, it is beneath the attention of Consumer Reports, and therefore should remain untested and, as a result, leave the public — rich and poor alike — oblivious to potentially expensive defects like this?

      Do you listen to yourself when you talk?

  9. chemmy says:

    Replacing them in all 2012 models, huh? What is that, 3 or 4 cars?

    • Jack T Ripper says:

      People buy hundred thousand dollar cars all the time. You probably see them on the road all the time too, but you just don’t realize the cost of some of these things. Go price out an M3 sometime and you’ll be shocked what a (near) six figure car looks like. They aren’t all twin turbo Porches and SMG Mercedes. Some of them look just like normal cars. Visibly there isn’t a lot of difference between a six figure Corvette and a 50K version.