Sadly, this is big news, and factual rather than fanciful. If the review was great, the high visibility would have paid off for Fisker, unfortunately they had the biggest failure that Consumer Reports has ever encountered in an auto. If it was a Kia it would have been big news, but being a Karma the news is devastating. I honestly feel sorry for them and I hope they have a high visibility resolution.
You're exactly correct, Naperlou. The Karma has a 20-kWh battery, not a big one like the Tesla Model S. Theoretically, if we assume that the cost lies somewhere between $700/kWh and $1,000/kWh, the battery would run between $14,000 and $20,000.
You can call it sensational journalism if you like, Roy, but Fisker is using $529 million of taxpayer money to build this vehicle and then selling them for $100K a pop. Should Consumer Reports ignore it when the Karma becomes the first car in decades to die in the their lot? Should Design News ignore it when the car has to be towed away? I would think most potential buyers (not to mention taxpayers) would want to know this.
When we said "bricked" in the article headline, we were referring to the fact that the car was stopped dead. Consumer Reports described the vehicle as undriveable and immovable. There's no ambiguity there. The car was indeed bricked.
This reminds of the time the Microsoft Windows 98 crashed when Gates was debuting the system during the keynote talk at the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show. It's hard to explain it away as a rare glitch.
Although there are several issues at stake here the engineering aspect is clear. New and very complex technologies are going to have issues until the entire system is well exercised.
In software we have a saying that the end user is the final test load. The more end users one can get early on will improve the product development as long as it is acompanied by a dedicated and well funded engineering team. The company should fully stand behind their products, especially at the prices they charge. It might take a little while to iron out all the bugs and to actually make a profit but it will come with the right combinations of engineering fixes and better customer support.
A hybrid powertrain is much more complex than a EV only. EV only performance depends on the batteries and as we have already noted in these pages, the battery technology is developing rapidly. Effectively a 3 fold increase in battery capacity and lower costs would make the EV only pretty much unbeatable.
The downside is, gasoline is still relatively cheap and the infrastructure is well entrenched. I found a news article regarding a gasoline from coal plant in West Virginia. I have no idea how much gasoline from this process costs but eventually there will be some breakeven point compared to gas from oil. The US haas lots of coal.
I doubt if the battery here costs $40K to replace, like in the Tesla. The Tesla is an all-electric vehicle. This battery is smaller. On the other hand, if the electrical system completely froze up it may not be cheap. I think one of the problems with these vehicles is the battery technology that requires active measures to keep it running.
My Macbook had a glitch too, big deal. Besides a mandatory recall which is common for new cars, each of the Fisker Karma's (that's two now) that needed service since have been directly somehow related to Solyndra. Political football? Yeah slightly. These cars are made in the same factory that produces Porsche Cayman, a car that also had its glitches in the beginning (google it). No evidence of bricking here mate, sensational journalism is all.
I do feel that due to such a response to this issue all ove the net, Fiscar would do all possible to look good. When it come to Tesla, I was very surprized by their negative treatment of consumers. I'm sure they will lern or be gone.
Now there are a lot of players that will have electric cars or hybrids to compete with Tesla, so if they do not change their attitude, they will become history.
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