Fisker recalls plug-in Karma over battery defect
Fisker Automotive is recalling 239 hybrid plug-in cars to fix a defect in the vehicle’s high-voltage battery.
The recall notice, posted today on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Web site, says the campaign targets all 2012 Karma models manufactured between July 1 and Nov. 3 of this year. A123 Systems supplies Fisker with the lithium-ion batteries used in the Karma.
A123 previously sent a notice to customers and investors letting them know of a possible safety problem with the battery’s cooling system.
Fisker hasn’t received any complaints, warranty claims or any other reports related to the defect. On Dec. 21, Fisker notified federal regulators that the company had identified a defective battery part. The agency believes that less than 40 of the 239 affected cars by the battery problem have been delivered to customers.
The fix targets hose clamps improperly positioned during assembly. The misalignment could cause coolant to leak from the cooling hoses, potentially causing a fire, the agency said.
"We expect this situation to have minimal financial impact on A123, and our relationship with Fisker remains strong,” A123 CEO David Vieau wrote in the consumer notice.
The luxury plug-in Karma is Fisker’s first production model. After delays, it went into production earlier this year.
A123 System also has won a contract to build batteries for General Motors Co.’s all-electric Chevrolet Spark minicar. GM plans to introduce the electric Spark in 2013.
In November, U.S. safety regulators opened an investigation into the plug-in Chevrolet Volt to determine whether the car’s 400-pound battery poses a fire risk after a crash.
The agency launched the investigation after two instances in which the Volt’s lithium-ion battery caught fire after government crash testing.
GM and NHTSA say they’ve had no reports of real-world fires involving the Volt.
South Korea’s LG Chem supplies the Volt’s battery cells; GM assembles the batteries in Brownstown Township, south of Detroit.
Reuters contributed to this report