After fewer than 200 miles of driving, Consumer Reports' brand-spankin-new, $107,850 Fisker Karma broke down during a routine speedometer calibration and had to be towed.
Consumer Reports buys roughly 80 cars a year to test, and that Fisker Automotive's Range Extended Electric Vehicle, the Karma, is the first time in memory that we have had a car that is undriveable before it has finished our check-in process, the magazine reported Thursday.
The speedometer calibration isn't exactly what would be described as rigorous driving. According to Consumer Reports, it's simply a matter of driving the car at 65 mph between two measured points. So kind of like driving on the highway, except without the 18 wheelers, construction and road debris.
During the test, the car reportedly showed a message on the dashboard and made bing type noise. Consumer Reports took the car off the track and gave it to their technician who put it into park to check the owner's manual. The car didn't want to leave park or neutral after that.
An hour later, the Consumer Reports team briefly restarted the car before it demonstrated the same error. Ultimately, the dealer was called and sent a tow truck to take the car back.
Since then, Fisker has sent an engineering team to identify the problem.
The issue was tracked to a high voltage isolation fault emanating from the wiring harness/battery pack unit, which was immediately replaced under Fisker's comprehensive warranty. The vehicle is repaired and on the way back to the customer within two business days, a statement from Fisker said.
While we are sorry the inconvenience this caused, the system performed exactly as it was designed to. The on-board diagnostics detected a fault and entered a protection mode that shut the car down to protect other components, said Richard Beattie, Fisker Automotive's Chief Commercial Officer.
Consumer Reports did say that they understand that building an all-new car company from the ground up is a monumental challenge, especially for a car with innovative drivetrain technology like the Karma.
However, the takeaway from the first stage of Consumer Reports testing is that Fisker ownership is providing to be a bumpy ride.