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Old 05-28-2015, 09:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What happens if the main battery dies

I am so close on pulling the trigger on buying a Fisker. I have been infatuated with the car since I first saw it.

My question: If the main battery goes can I still drive it indefinately on gas. I know the fuel economy would be terrible but $80k is a lot for me and we don't have a close service tech in Ontario, Canada so I am just trying to cover my bases before I buy one.

Thanks so much and hopefully next time I post here will be with pics of my new car.

Kevin
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Old 05-28-2015, 10:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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@Pawdoc - welcome to the forums. I will let the expert techs like @Harleyguy and @FiskerPhilly speak about what happens if the HV battery fails. However, I can say that it's incredibly rare that the entire HV battery pack fails. To my knowledge, the original faulty battery packs that led to a recall (and ultimately the bankruptcy of battery supplier A123) were all replaced.

The battery pack is comprised of modules. If a module goes bad, a properly trained Fisker technician can diagnose and repair/replace the bad module(s). There are quite a few owners that have had a module fail, and continue to drive the car. Common symptoms in a case like this are the Check Engine Light comes on, and the electric range drops rapidly to 0 on the last balance of miles.

If you're in love with the car, that's not surprising. Just take your time and be sure to find a car that has been looked over by a Fisker trained mechanic. I always tell people it's better to pay someone like Harleyguy or FiskerPhilly to inspect your car prior to purchase (maybe you ship the car prior to purchase to FiskerPhilly). That's potentially a lot less money than buying a Karma for a "good price" and then you find out later it needs something like an RDM rebuild, new Traction Motors, replacement of a battery module(s), etc.

Good luck!

P.S. Check out the new forums hosted by New Fisker:

http://www.thenewfisker.com/forums/public

If you buy the Karma, be sure to register on the Owners portion of the site. It will require the full VIN and your personal details. For consistency, you should choose Pawdoc for your username on that site too.
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pawdoc View Post
I am so close on pulling the trigger on buying a Fisker. I have been infatuated with the car since I first saw it.

My question: If the main battery goes can I still drive it indefinately on gas. I know the fuel economy would be terrible but $80k is a lot for me and we don't have a close service tech in Ontario, Canada so I am just trying to cover my bases before I buy one.

Thanks so much and hopefully next time I post here will be with pics of my new car.

Kevin
Kevin, Welcome to the forum.

The HV battery is in use even when you are driving the car on Gas. If the HV battery is completely dead, you will not be able to start the car at all. However, as long as the battery can hold at least a 15% charge, you should be able to run the car on gas indefinitely.

Typically, the battery fault manifests itself as a significantly reduced electric-only range, in which case, the car will work just fine on whatever capacity is left in the battery and gas when that runs out. I don't think I have ever heard of an HV battery being fully "bricked" and unable to hold a charge at all, but it could happen. So, unless you experience the worst-case scenario of complete HV battery failure, you should be able to use the car with a diminished battery on gas.

As already pointed out, the HV battery is modular and can be repaired if one or more modules develop a fault, so the chances of being totally stuck are fairly low, but not zero.
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Old 05-28-2015, 02:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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... And you should get at least 25-27 MPG from the gas engine -- which, while not great is not awful (in a historical (American) context).
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Old 05-28-2015, 04:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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On a trip from San Diego to San Francisco using the ICE, I got 24 MPG. I drove pretty conservative although at 70-75 MPH. I don't think you can do much better than that.
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Old 05-28-2015, 04:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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On a trip from San Diego to San Francisco using the ICE, I got 24 MPG. I drove pretty conservative although at 70-75 MPH. I don't think you can do much better than that.
That's consistent with my experience on longer drives based on actual fuel used between fill ups during the trip. The MPG calculation on the energy panel overstates the MPG by 10% to 15%, which may account for the discrepancy.
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Fabulist View Post
That's consistent with my experience on longer drives based on actual fuel used between fill ups during the trip. The MPG calculation on the energy panel overstates the MPG by 10% to 15%, which may account for the discrepancy.
Yes, my MPG was calculated on actual usage. I agree with Fab that the Karma is overly optimistic, as it is on most things, including battery range.
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Old 05-29-2015, 03:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I think you have missed the main point. This car is the most beautiful thing on the road, without a doubt.

But if $80,000 is a stretch and this car starts having problems, you are going to be one unhappy person. This car only works mentally if you are prepared to suffer and spend.

Not saying that will happen, just saying that it could happen.
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Old 05-29-2015, 03:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mikey43 View Post
I think you have missed the main point. This car is the most beautiful thing on the road, without a doubt.

But if $80,000 is a stretch and this car starts having problems, you are going to be one unhappy person. This car only works mentally if you are prepared to suffer and spend.

Not saying that will happen, just saying that it could happen.

Stretch is maybe not true for my situation. I am just not used to buying cars of this caliber.

Dr. Waddell
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Old 05-29-2015, 04:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey43 View Post
I think you have missed the main point. This car is the most beautiful thing on the road, without a doubt.

But if $80,000 is a stretch and this car starts having problems, you are going to be one unhappy person. This car only works mentally if you are prepared to suffer and spend.

Not saying that will happen, just saying that it could happen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pawdoc View Post
Stretch is maybe not true for my situation. I am just not used to buying cars of this caliber.

Dr. Waddell
Doc,

You are obviously a person of means, otherwise you would not be wasting your time looking into the Karma at this depth. The point here is that with the Karma, unlike other cars in the price range, you need to be comfortable allocating an additional $20K reserve in case you need to fix the HV battery or have the RDM or TMs rebuilt.

If you buy an Aston Martin or Porsche, you would expect some expenses but the really expensive parts usually have fairly long warranties so you may not have to budget for replacing a gearbox or a motor. Some people are comfortable with that, some people are not, and it is not the amount of money involved, it's the fact that you need to plan for that contingency.

The big break for you is that you have access to two CSPs who can check out the car before you buy it and provide parts and service if need them. That actually puts you in a much better situation than many other current Karma owners, including me, who have to ship their cars fairly long distances for any sort of Karma-specific service.

For the kind of money you have to spend and set aside for a Karma, you can get one of any number of great cars. But the experience of driving a Karma is nothing like anything else I have ever owned and it's definitely worth it for me to put up with the risk of owning a Karma. YMMV.
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