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Battery Recall Latest Setback for Fisker Karma

Defective lithium battery packs will be replaced.

by on Mar.26, 2012

Fisker founder Henrik Fisker with the Karma.

It’s been one series of problems after another for battery-car start-up Fisker Automotive.  This time, the maker says it will have to replace potentially defective batteries in its Karma plug-in hybrid due to a manufacturing problem discovered by supplier A123.

Fisker itself plans to take steps to cover potential problems with the Karma, including offering owners an extended warranty.

The problem came to light earlier this month when a Fisker Karma delivered for testing to Consumer Reports magazine froze up and wouldn’t shift out of Park.  It was quickly determined that the problem was the result of a short circuit in the battery that put the vehicle into failsafe mode.

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Battery maker A123 now acknowledges that a manufacturing glitch at a plant in Michigan caused the problem – which also plagues five other battery car projects.  The supplier won’t say who the other customers are, nor will it reveal the precise number of batteries impacted by the glitch but it announced the recall of potentially defective lithium-ion packs will cost A123 about $55 million.

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A123 Recalling Faulty Electric Vehicle Batteries

Acknowledges blame for recent Fisker fiasco.

by on Mar.26, 2012

A123 has accepted responsibility for recent problems with the Fisker Karma battery pack.

Admitting it supplied the faulty pack that failed during a recent, highly publicized test of the Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid, battery maker A123 has announced the recall of lithium-ion batteries it has provided for five electric vehicle programs.

While the supplier declined to identify the other automakers impacted by the recall or the precise number of batteries, it indicated the total cost of replacing potentially defective batteries will come to $55 million.

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“This is absolutely not a good time” for the recall to occur, conceded David Vieau, CEO of A123 Systems, one of the largest providers of lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications – especially as it comes only a few months after a widely reported problem with the battery pack used in the Chevrolet Volt.  But Vieau insisted it is “not a widespread problem that would challenge the viability of the technology.”

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