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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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Dutch said:
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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@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. :huh::huh::huh:

-- Fab.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@ 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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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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brian said:
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?

-- Fab.
 

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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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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Brian, that would be great news. You seem to have a well informed source (if I remember well you were also the first one to know that muffler 3.0 made the sound issue a non-issue, and that turned out to be true). I hope your source is right again.

Fisker really has to start delivering cars to paying customers, because at the moment they have no money coming in and they still have to pay suppliers and Valmet for all the cars that are being built.
 

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Yeah, it's amazing to me that in mid-October nobody has gotten their car yet. I checked with my dealer today, and they were unable to get any info on my car even tho it was supposedly built 3 weeks ago. No VIN, no completion confirmation, no ship date, no delivery date. I've been trying to hold back my frustration with Fisker for the last 6 months or so - ever since the missed their "spring" delivery promise, but I'm really getting to the short end of my string right now.

-Brian
 

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brian said:
Yeah, it's amazing to me that in mid-October nobody has gotten their car yet. I checked with my dealer today, and they were unable to get any info on my car even tho it was supposedly built 3 weeks ago. No VIN, no completion confirmation, no ship date, no delivery date. I've been trying to hold back my frustration with Fisker for the last 6 months or so - ever since the missed their "spring" delivery promise, but I'm really getting to the short end of my string right now.
Amen! Not to mention no news at all about the car's MPG/eMPG rating. Fisker has not even formally announced the issuance of the EPA certificate and we had to get that news through other sources. Of course, once they announce that the EPA has issued the certificate, it becomes very difficult to blame additional delays on the EPA, so you can see how they may not be too anxious to get that news out quickly.

On the positive side, I think Fisker's Customer Cone of Silence has proven to be pretty impressive technology and they should definitely file a patent application on it.

-- Fab.
 

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Dutch said:
Brian, that would be great news. You seem to have a well informed source (if I remember well you were also the first one to know that muffler 3.0 made the sound issue a non-issue, and that turned out to be true). I hope your source is right again.

Fisker really has to start delivering cars to paying customers, because at the moment they have no money coming in and they still have to pay suppliers and Valmet for all the cars that are being built.
Excellent point. The income could be a real issue even today. The half billion they received from Obama is dedicated to Nina. We've heard they raised another half bil from KP and picked up another $30-40 mil a few months back. The four years R&D on a project of this magnitude is exorbitant. Now, they have to buy parts to build 3000 cars by year end. If the cost of parts and labor is $90K or so per unit that's $270 million. I wonder if they have that in the bank or must rely on paying customers. That's why there was so much cynicism from the origin of the company. Automobile manufacturing is not for light weights. I'm optimistic about their chances for success
but their inconceivable lack of communication conveys a message that hints of possible disappointment.

Billy O
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just received a letter from my dealer, which clarifies a lot. They say:

- There never was any problem with the Karma not meeting European emission requirements. This rumour, they say, were not verified by the journalist who published it on Autoblog.nl.
- The tests for European certification are well underway (at Germany's TÜV).
- No problems are expected with these final tests, because compared to the EPA-tests they focus more on driving on battery power and less on driving on the range-extender.
- Fisker has received the EPA-certificate and in the US cars can now be delivered to customers.
- Deliveries to European customers are expected to start mid-November.

Let's hope it's a smooth ride from now on and that the wait is almost over.
 

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Dutch said:
- Fisker has received the EPA-certificate and in the US cars can now be delivered to customers.
These are all good news. One clarification on the EPA certificate, the certificate alone is not sufficient to sell cars to the public, Fisker also needs to have a window sticker with detailed information about consumption, electric range, and emissions. also issued by the EPA. But, in good Fisker style, we have not heard a word from the company about the certificate or the consumption and emissions numbers, and the EPA will not release this information without permission from Fisker. So there's at least one more regulatory obstacle in the US before cars can actually be sold and delivered to individual customers.

Nevertheless, it does feel like we are in the final stretch of the race.

-- Fab.
 
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