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Consumer Reports' relationship with the Fisker Karma had a rocky start: The pricey plug-in hybrid died with only 200 miles on the odometer.

After 48 hours in the repair shop, however, the venerable publication has been testing out the $108,000 green machine and has released some interesting -- and disappointing -- insights.

CR maintains that the design of the car is "simply stunning," but the praise essentially stops there. The range-extending gasoline engine gets very loud when the 22-kWh battery is depleted. And the Fisker's SUV-like 5,395-pound weight doesn't help with handling. On the inside, CR says the touchscreen is also less than ideal, with a grayscale look and plenty of menu flipping that "makes MyFord Touch (which CR has roundly criticized) look like a brilliant design."

Perhaps the most damning part of the report, however, is the actual owner complaints that have been uncovered, many of which were posted to Fisker news site, FiskerBuzz.com.

According to posts on the site, Karma owners have been suffering from some pretty serious problems. Things like needing a new differential after less than 1,000 miles, a car shutting itself off at 35 mph and lots of trouble with the shifter.

One owner wrote the following:

"Just this weekend, for example, the speedometer and energy meter display disappeared when driving, on top of having several other rogue warning indicators appear last week. It is expected we'll be revisiting the dealership soon. We've had cars in the past that have been troublesome, but never anything like this."

This is an inauspicious start for the company, which has received Department of Energy loans, and is expected to launch a lower-priced model built at a Delaware manufacturing plant.

Fisker suffers from the growing pains that most start-up car companies endure. "There are fewer enterprises more complicated and more fraught than putting a reliable, government-approved automobile on the road," says AOL Autos Editor-in-Chief David Kiley. "I am not sure there is a bright future for small start-up car companies; not when the established, well-resourced companies from Audi to Ford, Nissan, GM, Toyota and virtually every car company today is innovating really top-drawer electrics and hybrids and with established dealer networks," said Kiley.

Check out our Techsplanation article on how gas-electric hybrids work. Techsplanation: "Technology Explained. Simply"

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 279 Comments
      Herbert
      • 2 Years Ago
      $ 108,000.00 for a Car????. Buy a decent Car for $ 30,000.00 and you have $ 78,000.00 left for Gas
      gjterranov
      • 2 Years Ago
      Interesting! The Obama administration gave Fisker a half billion dollar loan to produce this car. And Fisker built a factory in Finland! Way to go Obama!
        jmenor3
        • 2 Years Ago
        @gjterranov
        Yep, I'm sure a car that has been in production for the entire Obama Presidency did NOT require any research or development time (that can take 5 years plus, especially for a brand new product). This company was developing their new car during Dubya's Oval Office time, and the money came from the laws passed during that era. Obama took a bow and gave the Ceremonial Congrats, but he had NOTHING to do with it actually happening. This stuff takes YEARS to happen, the credit and/or blame can almost always be attributed to the former administration.
        jkrublit
        • 2 Years Ago
        @gjterranov
        thats not true1
          Mike
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jkrublit
          Yes it is and Velmet is doing the production. Valmet maks assault rifles not cars as can be seen by the problems. BTW the CEO of Fisker is a big donator to obama and the dem party. The loan was payback.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Toms an idiot. None of these things are inheret to the Chevy Volt. All automobile manufactures recives loans. Yes, please check out what it costs to charge the Volt, do your own research, try www.caranddriver.com. And please don't listen to Tom, he's an Idiot :)~
        Robert Stewart
        • 2 Years Ago
        "None of these things are inheret to the Chevy Volt" you say. Have you heard about the volts battery problems? or maybe the charging system that burns down your house. I would call them definite problems.
        kksm1
        • 2 Years Ago
        Not all companies took the money. One big example is Ford, and guess which American company is doing better than the rest now, yes , Ford. Whenever you get the govt. involved in industry like car building they screw it up, two prime examples are 1) The Yugo from the former communist countrie Yugoslavi and the Russias state made cars. Both cars were unreliable jokes. Think back on all the Yugo jokes. The federal government for the most part is incompetent. Its a self serviing parasitic leviathian. Except for the military which is the good part of government most of the federal government could go away tomorrow and you would watch our economy soar once the clowns have been sent packing.
          jw10588
          • 2 Years Ago
          @kksm1
          I think you should go back and do your research again. GM is selling more cars than ford.
        Tom
        • 2 Years Ago
        This guy sounds like a desparate Volt dealer.
      gmhtv1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Anyone stupid enough to piss away that much money for a damn car deserves to have been had ....JERKS ..... And this green stuff is a bunch of crap. That's my take on all this "new technology " being shoved down our throats.... Bunch of Washington dictators and with too much power, and no common sense
      ron
      • 2 Years Ago
      Electric vehicles are great (??) if you live on an Island & drive 30 miles a day. I still believe for the immediate future Diesel is the way to go. Less expensive than Electric vehicles & FAR more reliable. Europe has many different small diesel veh. All above 40 mpg.
        Danaon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ron
        The problem with diesel is that it's 20% more expensive than gas, and it has a lot more pollutants than gas when burned. And it's not CO2, it's soot and nitrous based emissions, stuff that causes smog and cancer. If you had a gas car that got 40mpg, buying a diesel that gets 50mpg wouldn't save you any money, since you wouldn't save anything at the pump. Not to mention that a comparable diesel vehicle is always more expensive than its gas counterpart. The EU uses mostly diesel because they subsidize diesel to keep it cheaper than gas. Diesel just isn't a good fit for the US since we don't have the same subsidy.
      garmo88g
      • 2 Years Ago
      That is what you get for hugging trees..........SPLINTERS
      rodoner
      • 2 Years Ago
      We need to tap our own oil and dedicate 15 years to development which we should have started in 1973. Right now the key to this nations survival and debt pay down is to deveope our own cheap fuels which we have instead of enriching and empowering those who hate us.....
      danno1400i
      • 2 Years Ago
      to whomever moderates this blog, why wasn't my comment posted.i really want an answer
      grundoboy
      • 2 Years Ago
      obama,,give them more money for your electric edsel....
        hgeorgech
        • 2 Years Ago
        @grundoboy
        Barry is on the algae-powered theme now ... he's not crazy about electrics any more !!
      smileson
      • 2 Years Ago
      another obama car dead on the rails. #1 chevy volt, # 2 Fisker Harma this guy knows how to pick losers
        Richard Goebel
        • 2 Years Ago
        @smileson
        Really? The Volt was in the works two years before Obama came to office. Been watching Faux news again, huh?
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Richard Goebel
          I think that the SUBSIDY is a Barry Obama idea. Quite frankly, if Lutz and GM wanna sell a Cruz-at-twice-the-price, then I'm all in favor of that.
        hgeorgech
        • 2 Years Ago
        @smileson
        so did the American voters .. in 2008!
      xhawk2
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looney George Clooney thinks this is the greatest car ever...when he's not flying around in his private jet or riding around in a limo.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Its really pathetic that these moron right wingers got drugs instead of an education. They don't seem to have the brains to s@'X* so they are full of it!
        kksm1
        • 2 Years Ago
        And one other thing, your liberal Obama mini me god, added insult to injury, the money for the building and developement of the car went to a foreign company so not even American jobs were created from this total down the toilet waste of our money!
        mfgarrison
        • 2 Years Ago
        has anyone noticed that no one on the left tries to defend this boodoggle? all they can do is name call. there must not be any talking points out of media first or politico on this yet. it's just so embarrassing for them ,i'm sure.
        kksm1
        • 2 Years Ago
        Excuse me dude, it was Obama, not exactly a right winger, his energy department gave this pathetic liberal pie in the sky company our money to waste. It will go the way of Solandra. Do you live in a box?
        mfgarrison
        • 2 Years Ago
        i guess you haven't gotten your talking points on this yet, so all you can do is name call.
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