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Fisker intends to restart Karma production this year

Fisker Automotive, now owned by China's Wanxiang Group, is planning to resume production of its Karma plug-in hybrid luxury car "within a year" as well as complete the half-finished development of a second model, according to Pin Ni, chief of Wanxiang America. Ni remarked that the production restart will be done at Fisker’s site in Finland, with an eye to re-commence sales of Karma cars in the United States and Europe.

The Fisker Karma hybrid-electric vehicle previously had a starting price of around $100,000 before the carmaker ceased production in 2012, following a series of missteps and recalls. Ni remarked that Wanxiang is finalizing business plans for Fisker and doesn't have a forecast for the number of Karmas that will be sold. Ni, however, noted that Wanxiang wants to sell more than what Fisker sold before under its previous management.

Fisker commenced selling the Karma in 2011 and was able to sell around 1,800 units before suspending production. The figure was far behind initial projections of around 11,000 Karmas by early 2012. Ni said that once Karma sales gain momentum, Fisker could start production of the model in the US. He noted that Fisker could choose from a number of options of the Karma’s US production, including cooperating with "a potential partner out of Michigan."

Read the entire article Fisker intends to restart Karma production this year

Future Fisker Karma to feature supercharged V8 engine

The revived Fisker Karma will be powered by a supercharged V8 engine when it goes back to the market in the future, Wanxiang Group has disclosed. Wanxiang, which has recently won an auction to acquire Fisker Automotive, has received approval for the $149.2 million acquisition deal. The plans to revive the Karma as a dynamically powered sports car were disclosed in United States Bankruptcy Court documents and by a person briefed on them.

Founded in 2007, Fisker had wanted to become the first carmaker able to build an attention-grabbing sports car powered by a hybrid engine. The carmaker even earned support of celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, who was drawn in by his concern about climate change.

No thanks to a number of technological issues and management missteps, Fisker stopped production in 2012. Fisker has now tapped the talents of former General Motors executive Bob Lutz, who back then was critical of the carmaker’s environmental approach.

Read the entire article Future Fisker Karma to feature supercharged V8 engine

VL Automotive acquiring Fisker Karmas to create Destino sports cars

VL Automotive is planning to transform Fisker Karma plug-in hybrids into traditional sports cars, retrofitting them by removing their hybrid powertrains and installing Chevrolet Corvette V-8 engines and altered bodies. To achieve this, VL first needs to acquire Karmas they could work on. This could prove as a real challenge considering that Fisker Automotive stopped producing them in 2012.

One of the VL’s founders, Gilbert Villareal, said that they have already acquired 25 Karmas. VL has been purchasing Fisker off dealerships and paying them commissions for the sales. One dealer who visited VL's booth at the 2014 the Detroit auto show agreed to sell nine cars, Villarreal says. VL is expecting to retail each retrofitted Karma -- renamed the Destino -- for around $195,000, depending on options.

Destino will be powered by General Motor’s supercharged LS9 V-8 engine, which provides up to 638 hp, paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Read the entire article VL Automotive acquiring Fisker Karmas to create Destino sports cars

VL Automotive on pace to offer Karma-based V8-run Destino in mid-2014

VL Automotive is going ahead with plans to transform hybrid-powered Fisker Karmas into a V-8-powered vehicle. Former General Motors' vice chairman Bob Lutz, the man behind VL, has told Automotive News that the company has acquired 25 unsold Karmas and has settled a dispute with an Asian investor that barred VL from accessing the codes operating the Karma's infotainment system.

He remarked that it was “close to impossible to get a working car” without the codes. The converted Karma, which will be called the Destino, dons a more conservative grille and some minor aesthetic changes. While the Karma was powered by the Chevrolet Volt-like gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, the Destino will have the same engine and transmission fitted in the Chevrolet Corvette. VL will release two versions: a base 450-hp direct-injected V-8 and an optional 638-hp supercharged V-8.

According to Lutz, VL engineers were challenged to develop a refined driving experience suited to a $200,000 luxury performance sedan. He remarked that VL is on pace to commence delivering cars by mid-2014.

Read the entire article VL Automotive on pace to offer Karma-based V8-run Destino in mid-2014

Fisker, the struggling plug-in hybrid automaker, may not have entered any productive deals with investors but this doesn’t mean that a Destino sedan has been taken off the table. Fisker has had to lay off about 75% of its employees. It has also hired lawyers to guide it in the event that it will go through bankruptcy proceedings.

VL Automotive, which is led by Bob Lutz, will continue with its plans to produce the Destino sedan, which is basically a Karma with a powerful General Motors V8 instead of the standard hybrid powertrain. Lutz told Wards Auto that VL Automotive has acquired 20 Karma “gliders” – units that don’t have batteries or hybrid parts. Fisker is also seeking to buy complete Karma sedans from dealers who want to get rid of their inventories before Fisker becomes bankrupt.

So far, VL Automotive has received 100 Destino orders. Many of these customers are from the Middle East. There have also been hundreds of Karma owners who have gotten in touch with VL Automotive and want to get their sedans converted to traditional V8 muscle.

Read the entire article Karma-based Destino still coming despite Fisker troubles

Fisker Automotive Inc. is planning to recall all of its $103,000 Karma sedans to repair a faulty cooling fan linked to a California fire. Fisker, which makes luxury plug-in hybrid cars supported by U.S. government loans, is cooperating with investigators from Pacific Rim Investigative Services Group, a fire-analysis firm in Corona, Calif. In a statement, the company said that a defect in the fan in its front left corner overheated and resulted to slow-burning fire in the vehicle in Woodside, Calif., on Aug. 10.

Fisker and its dealers will inform customers about plans to get the fan replaced. Reuters said that the recall covers 2,400 cars. Henrik Fisker, the car's designer and Fisker's executive chairman and co-founder, said that the incident is caused by one faulty part.

He said that it wasn’t caused by the car's lithium-ion batteries, motor and other electric components. The incident comes after the recall last March by Fisker's battery supplier A123 Systems Inc. to swap the flawed packs.

Read the entire article Fisker to recall its Karma sedan to repair a faulty cooling fan

The engineers of Fisker Automotive engineers have began to study and test a Karma plug-in hybrid that burst into flames last Friday in a parking lot in Woodside, Calif. Fisker said that so far, they have ruled out the possibility that the fire is because of issues with the lithium-ion battery pack, new technology parts or exhaust routing.

This is the second time within the last four months that Fisker has opened an investigation over a Karma car catching fire. Last May, a Karma vehicle caught fire while it was unplugged in a garage in Sugar Land, Texas. Fisker said that the cause of this fire is still unknown. No injuries were reported in the Calif. incident.

Fisker said that the fire started from outside the engine compartment. It also said that from now on, the efforts to examine the fire will be focused on the area “forward of the driver's side front tire," which is the specific area of origin. Fisker is working with the investigators from Pacific Rim Investigative Services Group, a company owned and operated by former fire, insurance and police investigators.

Read the entire article Fisker engineers start probing the Karma fire

Leonardo DiCaprio is an equity investor in Fisker Automotive Inc. and so he will be campaigning for the Karma sedan. Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher confirmed DiCaprio to be an investor but he declined to disclose the value of the actor’s investment. DiCaprio has been participating in fundraising for the closely held maker of luxury plug-in hybrid cars.

Fisker released an e-mailed statement that DiCaprio is an equity investor in Fisker Automotive and he will join talks about its future plans for the expansion of sustainable, responsible vehicles. DiCaprio will then be collaborating with Fisker on marketing and promotional plans in order to raise awareness for sustainability and the environment.

Fisker has raised over $1 billion in private funds for its plug-in cars. Fisker has had to contend with a slow sales start, battery-pack defects and loss of access to a part of $529 million in low-cost federal loans given to produce cars in Delaware.

Read the entire article Fisker and Leonardo DiCaprio reveal new partnership to promote the Karma sedan

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is conducting an investigation to determine the exact cause of a garage fire in Sugar Land, Texas. A $103,000 Karma plug-in electric vehicle from Fisker Automotive Inc. was one of the vehicles destroyed by the fire. The incident was first reported last week by Autoweek, an affiliate of Automotive News.

Claude Harris, NHTSA’s director of vehicle safety compliance, said during a Transportation Department electric-vehicle safety forum in Washington that the company is conducting a field inquiry for an incident in Texas. Confirmation that it was this particular case was made by agency spokeswoman Lynda Tran.

Fisker revealed via a statement that it knew about the field inquiry but that it believes that these field inquiries are “routine.” Fisker said that the agency is also examining other vehicles that are part of the fire too. The Fisker Karma’s lithium-ion battery was fully intact after the fire. A test determined that it is in full working condition. It said that for now, the precise ignition source and cause of the garage fire are not known yet.

Read the entire article NHTSA investigating Fisker Karma garage fire

A recent garage fire incident in Sugar Land, Texas, that damaged a Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid unit and two other vehicles has sparked investigations on the hybrid's battery. The local fire inspector revealed to Autoweek that the incident began in the Karma. However, he stated that the exact cause was unknown.

In recent developments, Fisker Automotive has refuted electric car specialist Jon Bereisa's theory that suggested the restricted engine-bay packaging of the Karma could have developed conditions that resulted to the fire. The automaker asserted that their engine design and technologies have undergone and passed rigid safety tests.

Specifically, Bereisa pointed out that the compact engine compartment packaging could create a "thermal condition." This could possible make the vehicle incapable of diffusing heat away from the exhaust system and engine bay.

Read the entire article Fisker refuted electric car specialist Jon Bereisa’s theory on garage blaze

A Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid made headlines last week when it was linked to a garage fire in suburban Houston. However, the company was quick to deny that the battery was the cause since it had stayed intact and was unplugged. It’s likely that the culprit is the excess heat as a result of poor packaging in the engine compartment and exhaust routing.

Jon Bereisa, CEO of consultancy Auto Lectrification, said that a fire can be created when these conditions occur with a fluid leak. Bereisa served as the chief engineer of General Motors' EV1 and also functioned as the systems architect for the Chevrolet Volt.

This makes him very qualified to deal with these complicated problems. Bereisa has driven the Karma and has examined how its elements worked. He said that he became instantly alarmed when he saw the cramped engine compartment of his test car.

Read the entire article Fisker Karma garage fire was caused by engine packaging, not batteries

Fire investigators are blaming the Fisker Automotive’s plug-in hybrid car, the Karma, for a garage fire at a newly built residence in Fort Bend County, part of the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown area in Texas. The chief fire investigator for Fort Bend County, Robert Baker, told Autoweek that the Fisker Karma was the origin of the fire, although they have yet to determine the exact cause of the blaze.

According to Baker, there were three vehicles in the garage: a newly bought Karma, a Mercedes-Benz SUV and an Acura NSX. The driver just arrived home and parked the Karma in the garage. After less than three minutes, the Karma was in blaze, although the hybrid was not plugged in at the time of the fire.

Baker noted that the Karma’s battery remains intact. Baker compared the incident to golf cart fires that occurs around 50 times in a year. In a statement to Autoweek, Fisker Automotive said it remains unclear what caused the fire, adding there are conflicting reports and uncertainty surrounding the fire incident.

Read the entire article Fire probers blame Fisker Karma for garage fire in Texas

A123 Systems has started to replace the lithium-ion battery modules and packs that may fail because of a manufacturing defect, a problem that had led to the notorious shutdown of the Fisker Karma luxury sedan while it was being tested by Consumer Reports magazine. A123 said that it found defects in certain cells produced at its plant in suburban Detroit that could result in the premature failure of the battery module or pack that leads to a decrease in performance and reduced battery life, according to CEO David Vieau.

He told reporters during a conference call that this company, which began as a start-up at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, started to build replacement modules and packs.

It expects to start shipping them to five affected corporate customers this week. Vieau said that A123 hasn’t heard of accidents or injuries due to this defect. He said that safety is unaffected by this defect. But he admitted that the defect was the reason for the shutdown of the Karma electric car last March 7 while it was being tested by consumer magazine Consumer Reports.

Read the entire article A123 Systems starts to replace Fisker Karma battery packs

When the Karma luxury sedan being tested by Consumer Reports magazine suddenly died, its image took a beating. However, its new CEO Tom LaSorda explained through a letter that it had only shut down to protect itself and that the Karma did only what it was designed to do. Aside from apologizing for the inconvenience, LaSorda clarified that a fault was detected by the onboard diagnostics and it then activated a protection mode that shut it down to protect other parts.

Consumer Reports bought a Karma for $107,850. On March 7, Consumer Reports was putting the car through speed calibration testing when it abruptly turned off. In its blog, the magazine said that its Karma was returned with a new battery pack.

But going back to the details of the incident, the battery light on the car's dashboard lit up during the test drive. The car would then not stop and the car would not restart after it had already been parked.

Read the entire article Fisker CEO says that Karma sedan only shut down to protect itself in Consumer Reports’ test

Fisker Automotive’s problems appear to be far from over and its image suffers another blow after the Karma unit that Consumer Reports had been speed testing suddenly died for undetermined reasons. The luxury car, which costs more than $100,000, died after being driven just 180 miles.

In a Reuters interview, David Champion, senior director for the magazine's automotive test center, said that for this to happen is a “little disconcerting.” Fisker had found itself in the news when a Karma was handed to actor Leonardo DiCaprio last summer and earlier this month, singer Justin Bieber got one as a gift.

The automaker has already issued the recall of certain Karmas. Fisker’s CEO has been changed. Its production was also stopped last month as it aims to renegotiate the terms of a $529 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Read the entire article Fisker Karma dies during Consumer Reports speed testing

Fisker Automotive's goal to deliver its Karma plug-in hybrid sedans by the end of the second quarter of 2012 is on track. There were delays as the company faced challenges along the way. The company started taking orders three years ago, and customers have yet to receive their plug-in hybrids after making a $5,000 down payment.

Owner Henrik Fisker, a former chief designer for Ashton Martin, has been taking and fending tons of criticism for his company as well as for its start-up $103,000 Karma plug-in hybrid sedan. The company was the recipient of the Department of Energy’s loan for development of green cars, but the grant was scrutinized and Fisker was held up by cash flow problems, regulatory issues and a recall.

The company also suffered from problem with suppliers as well with the Congress and the media. Fisker even described the launching of his first car as "running over fire while people are whipping you."

Read the entire article Fisker Automotive faces problems ahead of Karma hybrid launch

The Winter Sale of Harrods in Knightsbridge, London, will put the Fisker Karma on display. Those who shop at the popular department store aren’t likely to miss the first luxury electric vehicle in the world as it is shown off in the Brompton Road window display until February 4. Henrik Fisker, co-founder and CEO of Fisker Automotive, said that this is a perfect place for this car as Harrods is “one of the most prestigious retail sites in the world.”

On the first month of each year, this store is visited by hundreds of thousands of people from everywhere in the globe. Fisker said that the company is excited to introduce these customers to the Fisker Karma.

Guy Cheston, Harrods Media Sales Director, said that the company is “delighted” to have teamed up with Fisker Automotive to be the first UK retailer to exhibit the Fisker Karma, which boasts an extended range (EVer) to enable it to provide Uncompromised Responsible Luxury. It has the efficiency of an electric vehicle and the freedom and range of petrol-powered cars.

Read the entire article Fisker Karma arrives at Harrods

Fisker Automotive is recalling 239 hybrid plug-in vehicles to correct a defect in the high-voltage battery. Specifically, the recall involves all 2012 Karma models manufactured between July 1 and November 3 this year, according to the recall notice posted on the website of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Fisker's lithium-ion batteries were supplied by A123 Systems, which has previously provided a notice to investors and customers regarding a possible safety problem with the cooling system of the battery. The automaker has not received any warranty claims, complaints or any other reports regarding the defect.

On December 21, Fisker notified federal regulators that it had identified a defective battery part. The agency believes that out of the 239 affected vehicles, less than 40 have been delivered to the customers.

Read the entire article Fisker recalls 239 of its 2012 Karma models to fix the batteries

The Fisker Karma has been heralded as the 'Luxury Car of the Year' by BBC Top Gear magazine. It was the personal pick of BBC Top Gear James May and was recognized by Editor Charlie Turner as the vehicle that best illustrates that the "automotive world order is changing, and fast" and that "the future is nothing to be afraid of". The bulk of the premium interior material on the EcoStandard and EcoSport models of this world's first range-extended, luxury electric vehicle comes from Bridge of Weir.

The car has the steering, seats, door-casings, centre-console trim and dash wrapped in the Scottish company's locally produced Low Carbon Leather(TM).

The magazine is not known for supporting products that are environmentally friendly and have low carbon emissions.

Read the entire article BBC Top Gear names Fisker Karma as ‘Luxury Car of the Year’

A123 Systems Inc. found a "potential safety issue" in the batteries that it provides to Fisker Automotive Inc.’s electric vehicles. The coolant may leak due to “misaligned” hose clamps that are part of the internal cooling system of its batteries supplied to Fisker. The other customers of A123, based in Waltham, Mass., include General Motors Co. and Daimler AG.

In a memo on A123's investor-relations Web site, CEO David Vieau said that the leak may result to an electrical short circuit. He wrote that the repair for the fewer than 50 cars has started.

He also said that A123 anticipates that there will be a "minimal financial impact" and he also clarified that its relationship with Fisker "remains strong.”

Read the entire article A123 Systems finds potential safety issue in Fisker Karma batteries