Even though Fisker Automotive handed over the keys to a couple of production Karmas, the extended-range electric vehicle is, technically, not actually ready to hit U.S. streets.

Sources at Fisker told Ward's Auto that deliveries of dealer-demonstration Karmas will commence as soon as the plug-in vehicle gets certified by the federal government. Without EPA certification, the Fisker Karma cannot be registered or driven on public roads here in the U.S.

Fisker says it's still waiting on emissions approval and that those demo Karmas should ship out by the end of September. But, according to Ward's Auto, some Fisker dealers do not expect to to receive Karmas that can be sold until the first week of November. Should this be interpreted as a delay?


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      seems like a bit of a fumble by Fisker. bureaucrats may also carry blame. nothing like bureaucrats to make a 5 minute job take 6 months.
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        The only indication it is a bureaucratic problem is what Fisker is saying. We have nothing close to proof it isn't a problem with Fisker and they're just blaming the EPA. See Mahindra.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          "We have nothing close to proof it isn't a problem with Fisker and they're just blaming the EPA." Except for the obvious situation that Fisker has already brought over cars, and that the EPA site has no info about the Karma. Do you think Fisker hasn't given the EPA a Karma for testing? http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/byfueltype.htm
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          "There are many circumstances that could cause the current situation and you deny they can be the case because they don't fit your desired outcome." LOL. Likewise, you're willing to ignore the possibility that the EPA is at fault.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          Yeah, so there are plenty of possibilites: Like it could be Fisker hasn't even submitted the cars. Or that Fisker submitted the cars, they were rejected because they didn't pass and Fisker is working on modifications. Neither of these would be the EPA's fault, it would be Fisker's. Your failure to even consider these situations shows you don't seem to have much of a grasp on the process or possibilities.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          Let me repeat my answer again. Yes, I think that is a possibility. Why would it be? Well, first it could be because Fisker knows it isn't ready to pass yet. Another possibility is they don't want to get a Munroney for the car yet, because the Munroney is going to be a big disappointment and they want to roll up some more pre-orders before showing their hand. I don't know where you get the idea this engine has already passed this test. When GM uses it, it is in continuous operation. That means the catalytic converter is heated the whole time by exhaust. Fisker is going to turn the engine on and off. This makes it more difficult to pass emissions. Additionally, there is more to emissions than the engine. The fuel system has to not leak, you have to pass non-running evaporative tests. These are entirely in Fisker and they are not trivial to pass. For a hybrid (ATh-PZEV) it is apparently very very difficult, apparently even "new car smell" will make you fail. There are many ways this car would not pass these tests even though the same engine can pass in other cars. These would be Fisker's fault, not the EPAs. That Examiner article means absolutely nothing. It's a puff piece. It is already known the Karma will not have good mpg figured in ER mode. Serial hybrid just isn't efficient. It's just an article from a cheerleader writer who has nothing to go by but Fisker PR pieces. "Your failure to even consider these situations shows you don't seem to have much of a grasp on the process or possibilities." Sorry you don't like it, but it is true. There are many circumstances that could cause the current situation and you deny they can be the case because they don't fit your desired outcome.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          So I repeat my question again: "Do you think Fisker hasn't given the EPA a Karma for testing?" You seem to suggest it as a possibility. I disagree. Then you suggest that the Fisker has actually already failed. Certification isn't really pass/fail at this point, especially considering the nature of an already type-certified engine (it's not like the Karma has a raging V-16 diesel). I could believe that the numbers aren't as good as Fisker might like, but that's not what you suggest, nor is that supported by the Karma's SAE test methodology. http://www.examiner.com/green-transportation-in-national/fisker-s-karma-to-have-among-the-best-fuel-emissions-and-fuel-economy-of-all-passenger-vehicles I think the simplest explanation is that some bureaucrats are taking their sweet time. "Your failure to even consider these situations shows you don't seem to have much of a grasp on the process or possibilities." Thanks, love you too...
      Nick From Montreal
      • 3 Years Ago
      No problemo. Just more time to fine tune the car & production. At this point it's almost in the pocket. Two months. That's all.
      Pete K
      • 3 Years Ago
      This happened to the Volt and LEAF last year too...
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      Fer crissakes, EPA.
      masteraq
      • 3 Years Ago
      When magazines tested the Karma earlier this year they all complained about the harsh exhaust sounds from the gas engine. Fisker said they had redesigned part of the exhaust system to fix the noise problem. Could the EPA delay be related to the redesign of the exhaust system?
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Rotation, LTW, when in doubt go to the source. The EPA's method of certification require all vehicles to pass a number of tests with a typical production vehicle, not a prototype. The EPA says that due to an unusually heavy demand on it's testing facilities, the Fisker-Karma must wait its turn! It's that simple! (At least that's what the EPA, bureaucrats say). My own theory, is that some unfortunate EPA official has confused Danish born Henrik Fisker, with a traumatic encounter involving another Danish "engineer"! The effect of this encounter left him so bitter he is now clutching the Fisker applications in a basement at Ann Arbour, muttering," Light and aerodynamic,..I'll give him light and bloody aerodynamic!". and giggling insanely. The applications and the official haven't yet been located, and an embarrassed EPA, keeps delaying while the officials colleagues try to lure the maddened bureaucrat out with tantalising copies of Poindexter's '10002 Regulations to Order New Photocopier Paper', (the edition with all the amendments and forms) ,on a long piece of string. We can only all await developments.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Thank you.
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Thanks for the info. How did you get it? Does the EPA just answer emails or what?
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          Asked DEF to use his influence!:) I'm sorry, I couldn't resist it! Yes the US EPA, does reply to emails and enquiries from anyone with bona-fide accredited press credentials, authorised international governmental information exchange, or a six-pack of beer. (or all three). (It helps to know someone at the EPA testing facility.) Despite all the extra work involved in so many new type of vehicle applications, in recent years, the EPA has suffered badly from cutbacks, both in resources and personnel. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and EPA are responsible for policing new requirements (May 2011) for a fuel economy and environment label that is mandatory for all new passenger cars and trucks starting with model year 2013, and voluntary for 2012 models. This includes new labels for alternative fuel vehicles for the US market. ( plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, flexible-fuel vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, and natural gas vehicles etc). So I suppose we should cut the bureaucrats a little slack, and ask the legislature for a bit more funding for a very important government service.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        When faced with a choice of believing either a conspiracy theory (Fisker is lying, they're trying to cover something up) or that there's a bureaucratic tie-up, I'll generally go with the bureaucratic tie-up as the most logical reason.
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not a surprise. It fits right in with what Fisker has done so far. The good news for them is by delaying getting approval further they can continue to produce more concepts and still have them seen as green despite what likely will be disastrously low mpg numbers in RE mode. Fisker seems to really have no idea how to get through this process. Remember, these same folks say they are going to switch out engines next year (GM to BMW). Ask any company who has had to go through this process once, doing it again next year just for another vehicle which could have used the same engine as this one just doesn't make sense.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        The NINA would need separate certification even if they did use the same GM ICE. It's an entirely different car.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I don't know what is the best possible engine. My point is that it is expensive and difficult to qualify a new engine. As such, often a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. The ICE in the Fisker is already qualified for a totally different use. It has not been used in a serial hybrid. I elucidated how this presents new problems, these are non-trivial. As to this being different than Mahindra because Mahindra was intentionally delaying qualification and Fisker isn't, I pointed out why Fisker may actually be intentionally delaying qualification. "You think the Karma can't pass certification; the only reason it would fail was if it weren't clean." I never said that. You made it up, if you have problems with this statement, then you are only complaining about your own statement. I never said the Fisker Karma cannot pass qualification. Ever. "You think Fisker is intentionally delaying certification to delay sales, for no stated reason." I actually stated why I suggest it may be possible. But note that them intentionally delaying certification is not a necessary condition for this delay being Fisker's and not the EPAs. "OTOH, we have seen circumstances where the EPA spent an inordinate amount of time releasing certification info, generally in the case of adv. tech vehicles (PHEVs), and specifically in the case of the Volt. First, the EPA screwed up entirely (remember when the EPA calculated 230mpg?), and then the EPA still managed to be late, not having the certification ready when the Volts were." The 230mpg was for an interim suggestion of a test, it has nothing to do with final EPA testing at all. What is the other PHEV you are referring to? In the case of the Volt, the EPA certification was ready in time for the intended ship date of the car, it didn't delay the Volt. Additionally, GM indicated they had a lot of problems getting the car to pass (witness the final trace emissions figures not being all that great). Finally, even the source you list in no way says an EPA screw-up was responsible for the sticker date being what it was. It only says that GM was waiting for the final certification. We all know certifications take time, the difficulty would be if they take longer than they were supposed to. There is no information in your source stating this was the case. So saying the EPA screwed the Volt up is again presumptive.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "I never said the Fisker Karma cannot pass qualification. Ever." You suggested that exact scenario as a possible reason for the delay: "Yeah, so there are plenty of possibilites: Like it could be Fisker hasn't even submitted the cars. Or that Fisker submitted the cars, they were rejected because they didn't pass and Fisker is working on modifications." You suggested that the Fisker couldn't pass, and that modifications were needed.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I don't know where the other reply went, but I was talking about the Surf. However, reading closer, it appears the Surf doesn't use a new engine, it is the Nina that does. So my comments about the timing are wrong. Fisker won't be re-certifying next year, presumably not until the year after. Still, re-certifying with an engine you already made pass is a lot easier than making a new engine pass.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Thanks for correcting yourself; the Surf will use the same engine as the Karma. I'm not sure how long the first-gen Karma will continue to use the GM-sourced unit, but I would imagine for simplicity's sake Fisker will keep it for the entire first-gen run. You appear to think this will happen quickly, "...presumably not until the year after.", but I think Fisker might let the Karma go four years before a complete re-do. Styling tweaks are much more typical for mid-cycle refreshes than drivetrain-related overhauls. After that, a second-gen Karma would undoubtedly take advantage of new ICE possibilities, and likewise need to be recertified anyway as well. "Fisker seems to really have no idea how to get through this process." This statement seems unfounded. What evidence do you suggest shows that Fisker can't get their car certified? All signs point to the EPA as the feet-draggers.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "My comment that Fisker doesn't know how to get through this process is based upon them certifying a new engine when they could presumably continue to use the GM one." So, you're saying that the GM ICE is the best possible choice to use in the NINA, and that the Fisker designers don't know what they're doing based on you outside observation? I'll stick with the judgement of the Fisker designers on ICE choice. That decision still has no bearing on certifying the first ICE - which you've already implied might not pass. I remember Mahindra, and that's a totally different case, for two reasons. One, they were trying to certify an engine that had *never* been meant for US sale, unlike the GM ICE. Two, Mahindra was intentionally delaying certification because they were trying to wait out a time restriction on a dealership contract. The comparison to Fisker is absurd, because they've no reason to delay distribution (unlike Mahindra, which would have lost huge profits), and because the ICE in the Karma is already certified for use in other US vehicles. Simply put, there's no way you're going to convince me of two things, both of which I think you've based your opinion on. You think the Karma can't pass certification; the only reason it would fail was if it weren't clean. You think Fisker is intentionally delaying certification to delay sales, for no stated reason. OTOH, we have seen circumstances where the EPA spent an inordinate amount of time releasing certification info, generally in the case of adv. tech vehicles (PHEVs), and specifically in the case of the Volt. First, the EPA screwed up entirely (remember when the EPA calculated 230mpg?), and then the EPA still managed to be late, not having the certification ready when the Volts were. http://www.autoblog.com/2010/11/17/chevy-volts-ready-to-ship-just-need-official-epa-mileage-sticke/ It boils down to I trust Fisker, and you don't. I think the EPA has shown they're taking a little more time with these newer cars than usual, and that extra time is resulting in delays in certification.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I'm talking about the Surf.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          My year after comment is that the Nina uses the new engine and it comes out in two years, so they have to certify the BMW engine before then. My comment that Fisker doesn't know how to get through this process is based upon them certifying a new engine when they could presumably continue to use the GM one. They haven't even certified one engine yet and they already are thinking they'll start over with another. Typical Fisker, they're talking about two cars down the road (Nina) and can't even get the Karma out. As to your last portion, there is absolutely NO evidence that points to the EPA being feet draggers. The car isn't certified yet. There is no information which says this is an EPA problem instead of a Fisker one. Remember last time the EPA was said to hold a car up? With the Mahindra truck? Turns out that was all Mahindra. This could be the case here too.
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