Send a $107,000 Fisker Karma to the dealer – after an incredibly public breakdown – and get a new battery pack in return. That's the lesson that Consumer Reports learned over the weekend and the repaired vehicle is now "operating fine at our test track" after 48 hours offline.

All that CR is saying about the problem is that the Fisker dealer said that a "fault was found in the battery and inverter cable. Both were replaced as a unit." Also, while lots of dealers wash your car after you take it in for servicing, CR's dealer also charged the brand-new pack. How kind. With everything back on track – for now – CR will get to what it intended to do days ago: put the Karma through its paces.

CR's Karma is not the only one with issues. All Karmas were affected by two recalls (due to a software glitch and then battery issues) and, as we discovered last week, owners are posting about their own problems over on FiskerBuzz.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      Grendal
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds like spectacular customer service to me.
        EVnerdGene
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        I'm curious: Team of engineers from Frisker fly to dealership ? Ship replacement items by FedEx overnight freight removed from a working car ? I dunno,just guessing; but I wouldn't think they'd have service like that if it weren't CR, and press breathing down their necks.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      Big companies can afford to replace whole cars: "Most of us have experienced it at one time or another – the dreaded vehicle recall. It’s usually some minor part, but replacing it ends up being a huge inconvenience for the car owner, even when replacement parts are free. Lexus certainly knows how to take the sting out of that. Although previous recalls had been addressed by sending technicians to the affected customers’ homes to fix the problem on the spot, when the Lexus ES 350 sedan was recalled in 2006, the company decided to ask owners to come on into the dealership. Instead of sitting in a waiting room waiting for their cars to be worked on, customers were given a brand new Lexus instead, no questions asked."
      • 3 Years Ago
      Standardized replaceable battery packs are the only way electric cars will be good for the USA as a whole. Drive up to a station and your car is directed by the machine into a set position for it's brand / model. The machine disconnects your battery pack (from underneath the car) and replaces it with a freshly chaged pack, runs a quick diagnostic to make sure eveything is OK, and off you go.
        marcopolo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @RT If you want to advetize 'Better Place" , take out and pay for an advertisment !
          EVnerdGene
          • 3 Years Ago
          @marcopolo
          whoa Marco, I woulda guessed you'd like the Better Place concept.
        EVnerdGene
        • 3 Years Ago
        why don't we do that with gas-powered cars ? Oh, that's why every car has a different shaped and sized gas tank.
        Ele Truk
        • 3 Years Ago
        Do that, and all the cars will be the same, some choice for consumers. Better Place has a battery swap solution, and you can go to Denmark or Israel where the battery swap station is going to be part of the nations infrastructure. Whether or not this plan will pan out will take at least another 5 years to find out (maybe longer).
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        A swappable battery pack may work for EVs, but it isn't practical for a plug-in hybrid like the Karma. Even for EVs, there are many technical issues that have to be addressed, as well as the issue of various battery pack sizes and designs. A modular battery pack design, allowing different number of modules for different size cars could help.
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      To the Owner's of these Fisker, you guys are Awesome Men [ and women ] of Courage and Discernment. To go up against the right wing hysteria, and see and do what's best for your community and America. You deserve our Respect.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        That is like giving someone a round of applause for buying a hummer H3 in spite of the criticism from the liberals.. Extremely inefficient and heavy car ( 500lbs heavier than the base model Hummer H3 ) that guzzles watts ( double the watt hours per mile as the Leaf ) and gasoline ( 20-25mpg average on a 4 cylinder engine ), yet narrowly avoids the guzzler tax.. Yes, this is the car that will save this green planet..
          Timo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Green of Blue, Karma is not made for saving the planet. It is not made to be sport car if you look at the performance specs and it is not made as family car if you consider the interior space. It is just luxury toy. A bit like Hummer H3, except that you can put more people in Hummer. Fisker should try to reduce the weight of the car more. It is really hurting it. Because of the weight of the car it is has quite poor performance specs and poor mpg figures when ICE is used, and it doesn't help the electric only range either.
          motorhead
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          You forgot made in Finland.
          EVnerdGene
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          So you are saying: the Frisker Karma, like the Hummer, is just an overweight rich-boys toy subsidized with low-interest loans from our DOE, and tax credits for the buyers with money borrowed from China
          EVnerdGene
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @Timo "Be honest, do you really think this is a good car?" are you yanking my chain ? A good car? 5300/5400 pound sports car - an oxymoron. politics or just government stupid ? First question is why the DOE was compelled to invest in a $100k+ car ??? but I digress. I could go on and on; but just looking at the basic premise of the car - a series hybrid - - - - a gas powered auto: engine-drivetrain-wheels - a series hybrid: engine-generator-rectify-batteries-invert-control-drivetrain-wheels (at 20 mpg - proves the point that it is less efficient than the crudest of gas cars) economics of investing hundreds of millions for a very limited production energy pig on 4 wheels ? (that's another subject) my 2 cent opinon: they can never make a profit - simply too expensive to build in small numbers Nina - sub $50k - profitability is a pipedream. Pass the pipe, I want some.
          EVnerdGene
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          this is the blue planet
          Timo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @EVnerdGene, that's right. A overweight rich-boys toy. I don't care about your politics, just look at the specs of the car. Forget the drivetrain and tell me that you would buy a small interior four-seater with small cargo capacity and performance slightly worse than Chevrolet Volt for $100k+? Even VW Golf GTI beats that with TSI engine and gets better mpg in longer trips. Be honest, do you really think this is a good car? Besides its looks it doesn't strike me as viable product. It sells just because it looks good, and only rich people that do not care about capabilities buy cars just because it looks good.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          I am courageously drinking coffee at Starbucks right now. Although nice to see Ford is celebrating the 1% that can afford the Fisker. (he has been on an anti-right wing tear lately - reads story on increased stuffed animal production, 'just another sign evil right wing republicans hate children by blah blah blah). Governments across the planet slaughter people, yet, government is the answer....
          marcopolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @2 Wheeled Menace ...green planet..? Ah, that explains a lot.........
        Danaon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Really? Buying an inefficient, $100k "sports" car is courage? Get over yourself!
          marcopolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Danaon
          @Danaon, Er..not sufferring from a touch of envy.....Danaon?
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Danaon
          I am reminded of a couple of old sayings. First, discretions is the better part of valor, and also, cowardice is th better part of discretion. Therefore, when there is lightning, I will valiantly hide under the bed.
      EV News
      • 3 Years Ago
      News @ 10: Car breaks down! BFD. How many times has something like an Aston Martin broken down while being tested by Top Gear or Fith Gear?? Plenty!! But the blogsphere doesn't carry on and on and on about it...
        Studenorton
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EV News
        No Aston Martin owner ever threatened to destroy my way of life by means of governmental action. Not one ever called me an earth-rapist or a dinosaur. And to the best of my knowledge, none of Aston's research was done with my money. Other than that, of course, you're absolutely right. I did not declare this war; you did. Your champion standard-bearer just went face first into the mud. You're going to have to thrash harder if you expect none of your victims to notice and laugh.
          FreeThinker
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Studenorton
          Don't worry, Fisker hasn't collaborated with Pinky and The Brain to "Take over the world". Sheesh. That you project your fears unto a small-scale boutique luxury car manufacturer says more about you than it does about them. At best, Fisker plans to sell a few thousand luxury cars. In the automotive industry, that's a drop in the bucket. Fisker didn't call you an "earth-rapist." Why do you feel so threatened? You have plenty of petrol-powered cars to choose from at your income level, no matter what that is. Are you just that insecure?
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Studenorton
          "and the oil industry has received billions more tax dollars than any EV endeavor." Right, I looked into that claim. They can depreciate their property as they use it and it loses value... like every other company in the US. But for some reason depreciation is considered a bonus just for oil companies when they use it... And they get a US based manufacturing tax credit of 9%. Wait no, manufacturing does get 9%, but oil/gas companies only get 6% because they're treated specially. So there's a credit for everyone doing manufacturing in the US, and oil companies only get part of it.. because they're working with oil/natural gas and not something else. I'm assuming those are the "billions of tax dollars" you're worried about? One standard policy that applies to every industry, and one tax credit they only get part of where any other company in the US can get all of it? If you have other concerns, maybe clarify what numbers, and how they're getting these billions of taxpayer dollars just for oil/gas companies. I haven't found this magical oil/gas companies getting taxpayer money claim to have a lot behind it... but maybe I'm wrong. Can you show me what you're talking about? Or is that asking too much?
          FreeThinker
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Studenorton
          Oh, and the oil industry has received billions more tax dollars than any EV endeavor. Will you be declaring war and slinging mud at them as well?
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      :D Admittedly it does not look good. In florida, however, there is a lemon law. If your car is a lemon, you get to take it back for a refund. The good part is, it is a government program, so guess what? You can look up which cars have been turned in! Yay! Now admittedly there aren't many, but there are Lexus on the list. Meaning that any care can be a lemon, regardless of reputation. Now - the Fisker really might have some bad design issues in place - I haven't studied the design (and not really my area - just a EE, Systems, and rocket guy), but when I hear of a problem or two - even one that shuts the car down, well, I don't quite flip out, just yet. I have been to the Ford and GM factories - and when I see what they do to not only check the design, but then actual cars....wow. Brutal - and the brutal extends to a certain amount that come off the line. They shoot the cars with high pressure water to check seals, make them go over really high bumpy courses to check the suspension. And prior to being built - individual components have robots banging on them non-stop - doors that open and close 10,000 times, buttons pushed thousands of times. This could be an issue with the Fisker - without vetting of this nature - stuff that works perfectly fine when on closed courses, or with specific cars, may not work out from line built cars, or over the long term. I figure though, may as well give them the benefit of the doubt, until proven otherwise.
      Woody Becker
      • 3 Years Ago
      Mechanical devices fail, end of story, however this was an expensive one that me as a US taxpayer is helping to fund. I want to know what value I am getting out of my investment?
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Woody Becker
        Fisker will pay back the DoE loan, with interest. Also, Fisker is buying parts from US-based suppliers.
      Christina
      • 3 Years Ago
      Any brand new product is going to have it's share of glitches and the Karma is no different; price tag or not. It is a brand new company and this is it's first vehicle release. I think it's ridiculous to expect perfection from any new product. You have to give it a few years for the company to see what works well and how to make improvements. As exciting as this and any new product is, the first phase buyers should sort of expect to also have the inconvenience of experiencing these issues. It's a gorgeous car and obviously Fisker offers very prompt customer service. Give the company credit for resolving the issue immediately, which is what we would expect any car company to do.
      marcopolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      What exactly is this story? A Fisker-Karma developed a fault and was immediately, picked up, the defective component replaced and the problem rectified by the dealer. The dealer wisely elected to replace the entire modular unit, to save inconvenience to the customer. I would imagine that the unit was returned to the factory for examination to discover if this is an aberration, or indication of faulty supply-chain manufacture. Excellent service. So, ABG what's with all the innuendo? "Fisker in two recalls", "owners posing problems", "the saga continues" etc. Just as Eric Loveday displayed an anti-volt bias, Sebastian seems to be developing a negative tone toward Fisker. Perhaps the repeated use of the term, $107,000, may be a indicator of where Sebastian's coming from ..? (But maybe I misjudge Sebastian, many do....) .
        FreeThinker
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        Agreed, excellent response by Fisker. Also agreed on the negativity in tone in the AB article, not the CR news. (Yes, the car stopped working.) I said basically the same thing you just did after Sebastian's original post, only I directed my ire a little more bluntly at him and AB. People mis-interpreted that as a snub against CR, so I was downvoted. Still not a fan of CR--I'm never buying a Toyota Avalon, no more how much CR loves it. So far, Fisker has dealt with every issue quite maturely and gracefully, especially for a new organization. So have most of the early adopters of this new product. The same can't be said about AB: "CR's dealer also charged the brand new pack. How kind"..."CR's Karma is not the only one with issues..." The most insecure people are the first to exaggerate the mistakes of others during a challenging endeavor, and the first to crucify them for it. Could this be the case here? Alas, this is how AB riles us up to maximize reader posts and clicks.
        Danaon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        Sorry, but absolutely ANY vehicles from ANY automaker would get the same treatment from CR if this happened. It's not excusable for a brand new $100k+ vehicle to be bricked in less than 200 miles.
          FreeThinker
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Danaon
          You have obviously never owned a $100k+ luxury or sports car.
          throwback
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Danaon
          What's offensive about the term bricked? The car had a fault and would not run.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Danaon
          But hey, it happens: Cristiano Ronaldo sees his Lamborghini Aventador towed away: This time he didn't crash a supercar Posted On 2012-03-12 "Cristiano Ronaldo's prized possession, a Lamborghini Aventador and only a month old is already in trouble, and had to be towed away just before the weekend. The Lamborghini priced at £200,000 was the Real Madrid football star's birthday present to himself that he purchased only last month. Ronaldo was on his way to his teammate Pepe's birthday bash in the Spanish capital when his car ground to a complete halt. With the only option left to tow it away, Cristiano Ronaldo was disappointed at seeing this brand new prized possession in this condition." http://www.rushlane.com/cristiano-ronaldo-sees-his-lamborghini-aventador-towed-away-this-time-he-didnt-crash-a-supercar-1230972.html
          JakeY
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Danaon
          @FreeThinker "Bricked has a specific meaning: that the battery has run completely out of charge." Actually the meaning of "bricked" is any device that is completely inoperable (can't even start). I have seen it mostly used in the smart phone world for devices that become inoperable mainly from firmware issues. It was only very recently applied to cars/batteries from that whole Tesla battery deal. I have never seen it used in this way until that blog post about the Tesla battery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brick_(electronics)
          FreeThinker
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Danaon
          Bricked has a specific meaning: that the battery has run completely out of charge. No one knew if that was the case when this failure occurred the other day, but they used the term anyway. Now it appears that they were wrong. It appears that the cable mentioned above was the issue, but as has been stated before, I'm sure the engineers will investigate the entire battery pack, ECU, and any fault codes to determine the root cause of failure.
          Grendal
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Danaon
          The use of the term "bricked" is really offensive and inflammatory. A lot of cars have issues when they are first driven off the lot in modern times. Fisker is a start up selling brand new technology. And as Marco said "a Fisker-Karma developed a fault and was immediately picked up, the defective component replaced and the problem rectified by the dealer." You don't know whether whatever was causing the problem rendered the batteries incapable of sustaining a charge. In fact, since we know most of the details, that's extremely unlikely in this situation.
        FreeThinker
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        Agreed, excellent response by Fisker. Also agreed on the negativity in tone in the AB article, not the CR news. (Yes, the car stopped working.) I said basically the same thing you just did after Sebastian's original post, only I directed my ire a little more bluntly at him and AB. People mis-interpreted that as a snub against CR, so I was downvoted. Still not a fan of CR--I'm never buying a Toyota Avalon, no more how much CR loves it. So far, Fisker has dealt with every issue quite maturely and gracefully, especially for a new organization. So have most of the early adopters of this new product. The same can't be said about AB: "CR's dealer also charged the brand new pack. How kind"..."CR's Karma is not the only one with issues..." The most insecure people are the first to exaggerate the mistakes of others during a challenging endeavor, and the first to crucify them for it. Could this be the case here? Alas, this is how AB riles us up to maximize reader posts and clicks.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      i mentioned this on a previous Fisker post - but, Engineer here, and former Rocket Scientist. Brand new stuff has issues. Period. It is unfortunate that this happened during a test with CR, but this is new technology, and a new company. Now excuse me while I have a flashback of a rocket test launch tumbling over the pacific, a minute or so after launch. There is a lot of questions about Fisker's viability, but one problem, does not a lemon make...
        BipDBo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        How many times di it take for you bums to get a man on the moon? Sheldon: My God! Why don’t you just tell them I’m a toll taker at the Golden Gate Bridge? Rocket scientist, how humiliating. Just ribbing you. New technologies will have glitches, but a glitch that would cause them to have to replace such an expensive component may very well kill this startup for good.
      DarylMc
      • 3 Years Ago
      Regular ICE vehicles are pretty reliable from my experience and I doubt battery EV's can match that for a few years yet. Let alone a hybrid from a new manufacturer with both systems. But it should be obvious to everyone that electric drive offers far greater mechanical simplicity. As well as silence and smoothness, lack of whatever fancy transmission you could think of plus the ability to run off renewable energy. Sounds good to me.
      EVSUPERHERO
      • 3 Years Ago
      As long as the warranty work is done ASAP it is as normal as a Chevy product that goes bad durning warranty. Get it fixed and don't make me come back soon.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EVSUPERHERO
        EV SUPERHERO speaks from experience. His own EV conversion had numerous faults and issues, and had to be trucked cross-country for repairs several times. Early adopters should be aware of what they're getting into, and be willing to accept issues that may take some time to sort out. Like EVSuperhero and many of the posters at FiskerBuzz, the opinion is that the benefit far outweighs the pain!
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