Posting in Design
Less than a year after a previous recall, Fisker Automotive must again replace A123 Systems' battery components in its Karma sedan - again. Could A123 be the next Solyndra?
Fisker Automotive is gearing up for - another round of battery replacements. The plug-in hybrid maker says that it will swap out drive batteries for 2012 Karmas free of charge after customers experienced unsatisfactory performance.
The defect was confirmed by battery maker A123 Systems. Sadly, it's deja vu far too soon for Fisker, which preemptively recalled faulty A123 systems batteries late last year for posing a fire hazard. Its acknowledgment of this latest defect comes after Consumer Reports acquired a US$108,000 test car that died (very publicly) before even making it through its initial round of testing.
It would be too easy --and unfair-- disparage Fisker's products. The 2011 Karma was rated luxury car of the year by BBC Top Gear magazine. Consumer Reports was pleased with its service, and its initial review was somewhat positive. See here:
The Karma's sleek lines and dazzling design concept aside, its misfortunate can't be understated. The automaker has confronted a parade of horribles during the Karma's rollout, and with frequent trips to the dealer, its yet to live up to Fisker's promise of delivering "pure driving passion."
The Karma was originally slated to ship in 2009 - the same year when Fisker received a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy for $529 million. A123 received a $249.1 million grant to build its battery concept. Both companies have encountered significant roadblocks on their trail toward profitability.
A battery failure might spook shareholders and be good fodder for jokes about electric cars, but energy has become a big deal this election cycle. A friend e-mailed me wondering whether A123 Systems could become the next Solyndra.
"The problem is only a few hundred chevy volts are sold every month - they have to sell millions just to break even which wont happen. [A123 Systems] will be bankrupt in 6 months - they are burning through money and with the stock at $1 they wont be able to raise more money. The $300m Obama gave to [A123 Systems] is probably lost for good.... There are plenty of videos on Youtube of Obama and Pelosi in front of [A123 Systems] plants announcing tons of money. This story will be huge soon. Stock has 33% short ratio. Everyones betting on a bankruptcy."
Related on SmartPlanet:
- Fisker recalls Karma over A123 battery defect
- Fisker preps project Ninja luxury sedan
- Fisker, EV Connect streamline car charging infrastructure
- Fisker Karma hydrid electric car coming in March
- Quantum to produce solar roof for Fisker Karma
Mar 26, 2012
The VOLT project was led by "Climate change" denier Lutz. It was designed and pretty much finalized before the GM bankruptcy. I expect its technology will start showing profit in other GM cars soon. The Fiskar is cool looking and way more practical than a Ferrari that costs at least twice as much. Buying now will be a collectible like the original Edsel or Viper.
I do not understand the short term thinking of everyone here. I am not an EV enthusiast however I do know that the rich have always paid for the development costs of new technology. Everyone is complaining about the $100K plus price tag on the Karma and Tesla however that is how technology is funded. I did not see anyone complaining when 42' plasma and LCD TV's were 10K, but now they are everywhere. Had the "millionaires" not bought them 10 year ago they would be dead. I agree that the DOE should have kept better wraps on the companies they made the loans to however without these loans we would not have most of the EV's we have on the road today (Ford, Nissan, Tesla, GM).
...I'm not anti-EV. I would love to have one. But I want a "ghetto EV" not a luxury EV. I just want to stay dry on my 3-mile trip to work and back. For that, I can afford only ~$1000. If the price gets up to $5K, I can just buy a regular car (used), which can also carry 5 people and go cross-country. My concern is that EVs may have been pushed onto the public prematurely, and now they won't even get research money.
...when A123 goes belly-up? They paid at least $96,000 for their Karma. Cry, cry, for the millionaires! We must bail them out, so they can continue to assuage their social consciences by pretending to be eco-friendly. Seriously: Am I the only one who thinks paying $100K for a car is bad karma?
The Volt is the Obamamobile. The Fisker is the Bidenriden. We - that is, our clown "leaders" - just don't learn. Free money is exploited. Always has been always will be.
I have no problem with Fisker, Solyndra, and A123 trying to make a go of it. There's nothing wrong with trying an idea that ultimately turns out to be before its time. It just shouldn't be done with taxpayer money. There's absolutely no evidence that funding these failures will get us to oil alternatives any faster. And I have to wonder if Fisker was "encouraged" by its government overlords to choose A123 batteries -- ultimately a bad choice -- because they also had a big taxpayer subsidy that needed to be justified.
...is that I paid to subsidize a car so that Al Gore and Leo DiCaprio can cruise around in luxury, be cool, and environmentally correct for only $100k.