Fisker to replace batteries in all 2012 Karmas

Problems in the cars’ battery cells could cause the cars to perform poorly or result in decreased durability.

The electric car company which is retooling the Boxwood Road manufacturing plant in Newport, Delaware has been taking criticism in recent weeks over the performance of its high-end Karma sedan.  

The latest sting to Karma’s reputation is a manufacturing defect found in some prismatic battery cells produced by A123 Systems in Michigan.  In response to problems with the battery packs that provide much of the power for the Karma, A123 is replacing all the battery modules and packs for the 2012 model year Karmas.

“As a new start-up company, we have stepped up to many challenges in our history,” says Fisker’s new CEO Tom LaSorda.  “The entire Fisker team is committed to the complete satisfaction of our customers and their experience with our vehicles.”  

LaSorda says the company has delivered more than 630 cars to buyers in North America and Europe since the start of sales at the end of last year.  “These ‘early adopters’ have the vision to embrace this new technology and become brand advocates.”  In an effort to reassure those customers, the company is also extending warranties for all North American customers from 50 months or 50,000 miles to 60 months or 60,000 miles.  

Fisker’s quality team is also working on upgrades to the car’s software that’s designed to improve customer experience. That update is expected to be released in the next few days.

Rumor control

Fisker is also fighting back in response to reports that the company rushed the Karma to market.  The San Francisco Chronicle quoted a former worker at a Fisker dealership named John Hoffman.  Hoffman told the paper the Karma “is a phenomenal car, but it just wasn’t ready to come to market.”  That quote was picked up by a number of tech websites including GigaOm.com, where Hoffman was originally identified as a Fisker employee.  Hoffman now works at a dealership for Fisker competitor Coda.

Fisker issued a statement saying these statements are false and because of the potential negative impact on the company, Fisker is ready to take legal action.

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