A123 Systems said some the batteries it made for the Fisker Karma may cause the extended-range plug-in to short circuit because improper alignment of the batteries' hose clamps may cause coolant leaks in "certain rare circumstances," an official statement from A123 says. Fewer than 50 Fisker Karmas may have the problem and A123 is in the process of fixing the malfunction, which will have "minimal financial impact" on the battery maker and has not affected any vehicles already on the road. Fisker said it has already "developed a confirmed repair for this situation" and "a fix has been developed and corrective action is well underway."

The malfunction marks the latest challenge in the relationship between A123 and Fisker. Last month, A123 laid off 125 workers at two Michigan plants because of Fisker's delays in launching sales of the Karma. Those layoffs may be temporary, if Fisker keeps its goal of selling 15,000 vehicles next year.

Last month, A123 also cut its 2011 revenue forecast because of fewer-than-expected Karma orders. A123 reduced its 2011 sales forecast by $45 million to between $165 million and $180 million. The battery maker, which went public in September 2009, has reported losses every quarter since 2008

Fisker pushed back the initial delivery date for the Karma at least four times since the September 2010 deadline company co-founder and chief executive Henrik Fisker set for first deliveries. Fisker, which has secured a $529 million federal advanced technology vehicle program loan and more than $600 million in private financing, is supposed to start building its Nina line of plug-in cars, which will include a sedan, coupe and crossover utility vehicle with pricing expected to start around $48,000, next year. The company unveiled a crossover version of the Karma at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September and said the model – dubbed the "Surf" – will be available to the public for the 2013 model year, the same year as the Nina.
You can read Fisker's statement on the battery situation after the jump.

Show full PR text
A123 Systems Issues Warning on Fisker Karma Battery Pack

A123 Systems is committed to designing, developing and manufacturing batteries and energy storage systems that deliver both high performance as well as exceptional safety.

We have determined that some of the battery packs we produce for Fisker Automotive could have a potential safety issue relating to the battery cooling system.

Specifically, certain hose clamps that are part of the battery pack's internal cooling system were misaligned, positioned in such a way that could potentially cause a coolant leak. Over time, it is possible that in certain rare circumstances, this coolant leak could potentially lead to an electrical short circuit.

There have been no related battery performance or safety incidents with cars in the field. However, A123 and Fisker are committed to safety and are taking immediate, proactive steps to prevent any issue from occurring.

We have developed a confirmed repair for this situation. In the short time since recognizing this potential safety issue, the root cause was quickly identified, a fix has been developed and corrective action is well underway.

In total, fewer than 50 customer cars are involved in this action. We expect this situation to have minimal financial impact on A123, and our relationship with Fisker remains strong.

We remain vigilant in our quality assurance efforts and confident in our ability to deliver safe, reliable products to our customers.

Thank you for your continued support of A123 Systems.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      The more i read about issues like this, the less i am 'for' plug-in hybrids. The only time you need to really liquid cool a battery.. is when you are pushing a small pack to it's limits on a regular basis. .. which is pretty much how all plug-in hybrid vehicles tend to work.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        The Tesla Roadster battery pack is liquid-cooled, as will be the Model S battery pack. No need for citations... you knew that about Teslas, right 2WM? I'll refrain from repeating what Musk said about air-cooled batteries...
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          http://lmgtfy.com/?q=what+Musk+said+about+air-cooled+batteries...
          DarylMc
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Feel free to say it since I would like to hear
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        I don't think that the issue should be exaggerated. Sure you have to get the engineering right for the smaller pack, but that does not mean it can't be done. For me a 12/13kwh pack combined with a range extender is still a compelling approach to range limitations if you need more than 100 miles or so. I am not a great believer in very large packs.
          DarylMc
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Hello DaveMart You own a Roadster corrrect? The Model S packs are quite large. What is the problem you see with them?
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      so how many cars have they actually delivered to customers...
        DarylMc
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        My resolution for 2012 will be not to respond to trolls
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        I heard it was about 50.
        uncle_sam
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Why you are ze trolling?
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        It's a valid question. If this amounts to a redesign or recall with only 50 cars on the road, difficult to even call it news. Yes, clamps on a $100,000 car seem odd, but I would be mildly curious myself. Not like it is an F-150 recall where 2,000,000 vehicles are involved. Just cause Dan asks doesn't mean it's wrong.... :)
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          @Ezee, "Just cause Dan asks doesn't mean it's wrong" No, you are correct, on those occasions he's not wrong, he's just plain crazy.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Most of the affected 230 or so (US) cars haven't yet been delivered to customers; less than 50 were already in customer hands. Due to the manufacturing issues, many of the already-spoken for cars that have deposits laid down on them by eager buyers aren't being built in order. Many standard EcoSports were put together while Valmet was sorting out issues with Signature Editions, leading to the strange situation that dealers are getting cars that they can sell to anyone who walks onto the lot while buyers who have already waited a couple years are forced to wait a little longer. Some are being patient, some are modifying their orders re: paint and leather colors, others are just buying the Karmas that show up...
        EVnerdGene
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        who cares
      • 3 Years Ago
      One thing that worries me is if you have a bad accident and you can't get out of your car, if the crash is hard the L-ion battery will catch fire from whats been shown in tests, what do you do, just go up in flames with the car!! This fisker has a design flaw IMHO, it has push button door locks and if the electrical is down how do you open the door. With the posted electrical problems with this car i'm not sure if I trust it.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        There is a mechanical system that allows a driver to open the door in the event of an power failure.
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