The lovers of indecipherable circular symbology at Consumer Reports don't do the whole "give us free cars to maybe write about" thing. They went out and bought a $107,000 Fisker Karma range-extended electric car to test. It promptly broke down for reasons no one has explained. This follows photos of a possibly broken down Karma sent to Jalopnik a week earlier. What's going on?
Like the Chevy Volt, the Fisker Karma is propelled by electric motors powered by juice from the wall for a limited range (about 32 miles) before switching over to electricity generated by a small GM engine under the hood.
Consumer Reports says they were in the process of doing a simple highway speed test when the Karma, which only had 180 miles on the odometer, flashed a warning light. The car was shut down and never started up again. A source at CR says they don't yet know why.
It's interesting timing as just eight days ago reader CJinSD sent in this photo of a Karma with the hood up and the driver talking on the phone in Southern California.
After seeing that brand new vehicle in that shape I called the local Fisker dealer and a friendly salesman there said it was probably just a misunderstanding and that I'd get an answer if I could just forward the pics. I did as he said, but I never got an answer.
The Karma is new technology and has already been the subject of a battery fix to numerous vehicles in its limited run of Karmas, so while this isn't shocking, it's clearly a nuisance for owners. A sexy green nuisance.
UPDATE: Fisker's provided us with the following response:
Yesterday a Fisker owner, Consumer Reports, experienced a service event with the Karma they recently purchased anonymously from a local retailer.
As a new company introducing a new technology into the marketplace, customer satisfaction and a quick and thorough response to any issue is our primary focus.
As part of the Fisker VIP Customer Service program, the local Fisker retailer immediately arranged for the car to be picked up and diagnosed by trained service technicians.
Our engineers are in contact with the retailer and are working closely with them to understand the cause and resolve the issue so they can return the car to their customer quickly.
With nearly 500 units retailed to date there are many satisfied customers around the world driving Fisker Karmas every day, without incident, while positive media coverage of the Karma continues to pour in.