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Old 10-16-2011, 01:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Huge problem with Karma certification in Europe

The Dutch website Autoblog.nl published a story yesterday about big problems with certification of the Karma in Europe. Problems that may cause deliveries to European customers to suffer another major delay, maybe into 2012.

http://www.autoblog.nl/archive/2011/10/15/intro-fisker-karma-vertraagd-door-emissieproblemen#post-46384 (sorry, it's all in Dutch)

The problem is that the GM-engine (range-extender) does not meet emission standards set by the European Union. The engine produces too much CO2-emission when it has to start charging the empty battery pack and it makes a cold start. Once it warms up, there is no problem.

In the present state - the state of dozens if not hundreds of cars for European customers that have already been produced - it will not get the certification it needs. The cars will have to be modified to meet the required emission standard. Maybe Fisker Automotive can re-design it to let the engine run at low revs first, or maybe warm it up first? Then it might meet the requirements. The problem is that this GM-engine is a 'dirty' engine (Euro4). That's why Europe only wants Euro5 in new cars. I guess the only reason Fisker chose this engine, which isn't very efficient (24 mpg when charging the battery), is that no other manufacturer wanted to provide an engine (we know VW refused to).

As California has strict emission standards, just like Europe, I wonder if this is going to cause problem with the CARB-certification too. Maybe that's why there haven't been cheers from Fisker about the EPA-certification which they supposedly got on October 6.

Ofcourse this is problem of bureaucracy, because even if emissions are too high for a short moment, the total (low) emissions for the Karma more than compensate for this. But even if it's a bureaucratic rule, it is still a rule. And it has to be met. How come the Fisker-engineers didn't foresee this problem? The European requirement are well known and it's not like they didn't have cars to test the emission with.

As you can understand I am very, very unhappy with this, as there never ever seems to be an end to these delays.

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Old 10-16-2011, 02:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default RE: Huge problem with Karma certifcation in Europe

Wow -- let's hope this report is not true. Dutch, I empathize with your frustration!
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default RE: Huge problem with Karma certifcation in Europe

With Fisker, If it's not one thing, it's another. This is probably not going to a show-stopper in the US, although it may affect the mileage/emission numbers on the official window sticker. Sounds like it's most likely a control software fix rather than an actual retrofit of the engine, but it's still pretty bad.

-- Fab.
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default RE: Huge problem with Karma certifcation in Europe

Wow, I hope they find a way around this soon.

-Brian
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Old 10-16-2011, 06:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default RE: Huge problem with Karma certification in Europe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch
How come the Fisker-engineers didn't foresee this problem? The European requirement are well known and it's not like they didn't have cars to test the emission with.
This would be my question. If true, how could they allow such an oversight.

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Old 10-17-2011, 02:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default RE: Huge problem with Karma certification in Europe

@dutch: I re-read your post and a Google translation of the blog article, and there is something about it that does not make sense. If it is perfectly legal in the EU to own and license cars like Porsche GT3, Benz SLS, Aston Martin DBS, and Ferrari Enzo, how can the CO2 from a dinky 4-Cylinder engine exceed the absolute limits? Is it the case that the Fisker may not qualify for the CO2 tax exemption because of the CO2 issue, or is iit can't be registered for any price. I can't imagine that a tiny 4-cylinder engine (even a cold one) can put out more CO2 than a massive 12 Cylinder engine or the 16 cylinder engine of a Veyron, all of which can be found inq European cars being sold right now. Maybe I am missing the point.

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Old 10-17-2011, 07:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default RE: Huge problem with Karma certification in Europe

@ Fabulist:

From what I understand the problem is that the GM engine is a so-called Euro4 engine (emission requirement from 2006). New cars in Europe can only be introduced with a Euro5 engine, which meets stricter emission requirements (from 2009). It is possible that a big block Euro5 engine, for instance in a Mercedes SLS, meets these requirements, and a small block Euro4 engine does not. It's not just CO2-emissions but also HC, NOx, HC+NOx and particles.

Cars that have the older engines can still be sold if they have been certified before 2009, but if a company introduces a new car and applies for certification it has to meet the stricter requirements. The GM engine obviously does not do that, although I don't know for which emission. And it exceeds the requirement only for a short moment (cold start), so maybe Fisker can find a way around this problem. (But this is part speculation. As Fisker Automotive is not communicating with its customers, we do not know exactly what the problem is. We have to read about it in the media, who also have to go on what they hear from 'informed sources'. But that's not new; it has been like this with almost every delay.)

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Old 10-17-2011, 03:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default RE: Huge problem with Karma certification in Europe

My sources tell me that this report of the EU emission standards issue is false. Long story short is that the issue has already been resolved and will not delay sales to the EU.

-Brian
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default RE: Huge problem with Karma certification in Europe

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Originally Posted by brian
Long story short is that the issue has already been resolved and will not delay sales to the EU.
Can you share the long story?

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Old 10-17-2011, 03:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default RE: Huge problem with Karma certification in Europe

I'm not sure what's under NDA and what isn't so I probably shouldn't go into details, but suffice to say that the issue has already been resolved and is no longer a factor.

-Brian
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