2012 Fisker Karma  (Source:
The recall places the spotlight on electric vehicle safety and could lead to a drop in EV sales due to all the recent negative attention

Earlier this week, Fisker Automotive's battery maker reported a possible safety issue with the automaker's battery packs for its plug-in hybrids, but said there was already a solution to the problem. Now, Fisker Automotive has recalled over 200 of its Karma plug-in hybrids in order to make that fix.

According to A123 Systems, developer and manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries for automakers like Fisker Automotive and General Motors Co., hose clamps in the internal cooling system of the Karma's batteries were misaligned and have the potential to catch fire.

Fisker Automotive is now recalling 239 2012 Karma plug-in hybrid sedans built from July through November 3. According to Fisker, only about 40 of these vehicles have been sent out to customers.

While no customers have reported any battery issues or fires since receiving the Karma, Fisker would prefer to take care of the situation ahead of time before an accident does occur. The automaker noted that the fix only takes about an hour for customers who have to bring their car back in, but showroom Karma's will receive a longer fix that doesn't involve replacing the battery pack.

"The dealer will replace the high-voltage battery with a new part," said Fisker Automotive, referring to the fix that will be applied to customers' Karmas. "The remedy will ensure the spring hose clamps are properly sealing the hoses to prevent the potential for coolant leakage."

Fisker has already fixed about half of customer vehicles, and hopes to complete all customer and showroom fixes by Sunday, January 1.

Fisker's battery issues were first discovered on December 16 when Valmet Automotive, a Finnish company that assembles the Karma, reported coolant leaks in two Karmas. The very next day, a third Karma experienced the same problem.

While the battery problem is currently being fixed, and was done so before any accident reports, the situation places the spotlight on electric vehicle safety and could lead to a drop in EV sales due to all the recent negative attention.

Bad press for EV batteries heightened when GM's Chevrolet Volt caught fire after a side-impact crash at a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) testing facility earlier this year. NHTSA then tested three more Volts in November, where two out of three battery packs began to spark or catch fire.

Source: The Detroit News

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