Karma owners can pay $3,995 for a subscription that gives them a chance to get service consulting for a car whose maker is a little too busy with Congressional hearings (and, likely, a looming bankruptcy). This fee will allow personal repair help from HSS staff, up to and including battery replacement. Or, at least, information on battery replacement. "Parts and special operations are not covered but our time, advice, recommendations; access to our knowledge library and catalogs is available 24/7," HSS says on its website. HSS is also working on an "inexpensive tool" that will allow drivers to figure out what their Karmas are telling them via trouble codes and check engine lights. HSS says, "This will be an improved and more functional (and far less expensive) tool than the $4000.00 original manufacturer specified tool of which is no longer available."
We're not sure who's behind HSS, but we do know it's based in Long Beach, CA (Fisker Automotive is based in nearby Anaheim) and the website says it's the "original and only Karma support team" and boasts 10 "members that have the knowledge on the inner workings of the Karma" who "have been there since the beginning." So, perhaps, that knowledge library runs deep. We've included the HSS FAQ below.
Of course, Leo and the rest of the Karma owners, who are likely feeling the pinch of a crashing used-car market for the vehicles, could save themselves any plug-in trouble by ditching their electric powertrain altogether in favor of a VL Productions Destino, which pulls the powertrail out of the Karma and replaces it from a General Motors-made 556-horsepower V8.
1) What do I get for my $3995? There are many parts and workings associated with the subscription membership to HSS. The following FAQ can answer some of these questions. In a nutshell, our time is paid for. Any work performed or recommended in support of a working technician on your vehicle is aided by a HSS staff member. Hybrid Support Solutions is similar to a boutique physician in operation. Parts and special operations are not covered but our time, advice, recommendations; access to our knowledge library and catalogs is available 24/7.
2) What About my Warranty is this not being administered? Currently and in the previous few months, the manufacturer has not been reimbursing dealership service centers for any warranty work. Hybrid Support Solutions is not a warranty support organization, but a service support, technical publication, and engineering company.
3) How will my vehicle be serviced? Continuing the role as the technical support team, we will further our duties in this role. Primary service and contact should be through your regular Fisker dealership. If your dealership is no longer servicing your Karma, or if you are in a remote location, the vehicle can be serviced by a technician or service center of your choice, provided they have high voltage vehicle safety training. If service personnel or an appropriate service facility are not known we will locate an appropriate servicing center and guide the repair technician in the recommended procedures. If a situation arises where there is no dealership or qualified technician available, an HSS consultant will be made available with travel expenses prepaid to assist the technician on-site where the Karma is to be serviced
4) What if my service facility or technician has not been trained in High Voltage/Hybrid Vehicle Repairs? HSS can provide the appropriate training at additional cost to the trainee, this is also a service we currently offer outside of the subscription fee.
5) What about trouble code and check engine lights after manufacturer support vanishes? In regards to the appropriate computer interface tools (Scan tool,) HSS is currently finalizing development of an inexpensive tool available to the owner of the vehicle, so it may be taken to any service center and used by the technician available. This will allow direct and correct data collection to the support group here at HSS; This will be an improved and more functional (and far less expensive) tool than the $4000.00 original manufacturer specified tool of which is no longer available.
6) What do I do if I have a High Voltage Battery failure? On the open market, new HV batteries are commanding $25,000 to $30,000.00 USD. This is a very expensive replacement. The HSS group has researched, developed and has performed on many occasions HV battery Repair. This is a fraction of the cost of a new battery with the same life expectancy of the equivalent state of health battery when repair is complete. A previously diagnosed faulty battery can be serviced and put into use safely by HSS.
7) I have heard of 'RDM' failures- is my vehicle going to break and what is the RDM? The Rear Drive Module- the two traction motors and the differential are made up of many components, current known failures and this is VIN specific, so there have been constant improvements throughout the vehicle production. HSS is has improvements ready for production and more in development.
8) What about the future of my vehicle? HSS will be here to continually support, improve the vehicle as it was intended. This includes improvements concerning performance, durability as well as aesthetic components.