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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello David from Fisker Automotive, I would like to ask you a few questions on the engine "noise". I think these questions are on the mind of many forum members/deposit holders, so that is why I ask them in public.

Considering that during the test drives by customers in the US and by journalists in Europe there has been mention of a loud, intrusive sound when the petrol engine and generator kick in (when the battery is low), can you tell us:

- If the cars used for the US test drives are pre-production models? (this was more or less already confirmed by the Fisker-people assisting with these test drives)
- If the cars used for the press day in Italy are pre-production models?
- If not, have these cars been fitted with the new mufflers?
- If yes, will the engine and generator in the real production cars be less loud/intrusive?
- If not, will this be solved with later production cars?
- If it is solved later, will there be a retrofit for early customers?

I hope you can look into this. Thank you.
 

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Dutch et all,

Sorry for the delay in response. The company is studying the situation and there is constant development occurring with respect to this area. I can't answer the specific questions but do suggest that you drive the car and decide this issue for each individual. Having driven the car (in Stealth Mode) on city streets and then as I accelerated onto the highway (in Sport Mode) the noise was not intrusive to my ear. That said our team is evaluating options to improve the noise dynamics.

Best regards,

David Harris Fisker Automotive.
 

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DHarris said:
The company is studying the situation and there is constant development occurring with respect to this area ... I can't answer the specific questions ... the noise was not intrusive to my ear ... That said our team is evaluating options to improve the noise dynamics.
Thanks. That really clarifies things.

-- Fab.
 

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DHarris said:
Dutch et all,

Sorry for the delay in response. The company is studying the situation and there is constant development occurring with respect to this area. I can't answer the specific questions but do suggest that you drive the car and decide this issue for each individual. Having driven the car (in Stealth Mode) on city streets and then as I accelerated onto the highway (in Sport Mode) the noise was not intrusive to my ear. That said our team is evaluating options to improve the noise dynamics.

Best regards,

David Harris Fisker Automotive.
That certainly does not sound encouraging.
 

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I think the question we need answered is whether the muffler on the Roadshow cars is the real deal or not. We get varying answers on this. Yesterday on my test drive the Karma guy riding with me said that this was *not* the real muffler and that my car would have "the new one". True or False?

-Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for responding David, although I had hoped for a less 'political' answer. :rolleyes:

Fact is that in February the automotive press, being full of praise, had just one major complaint: the noise of the generator/engine. They also got to hear this would be fixed with new mufflers in the production cars. The press reviews after the test drives in Milan in July were full of praise again, but most journalists still complained about one thing: the noise of the generator/engine. So I think many customers here would like to know if those cars had the new mufflers. That is factual information, which I hope can be shared.

You suggest that I drive the car and decide for myself. I will do that, but at that moment I will already own the car (production is scheduled for next week). That is my risk ofcourse, if I wanted 100% security I should have waited with my order.

Still, it worries me, and others here. I have a daily highway commute of 45 miles, so I expect the generator/engine to kick in just before I reach my destination. The battery will then be at 20% charge, the generator/engine will be at its loudest/highest revs, right when I am driving through town in my 'silent' electric car. If so many automotive journalists complain about the sound - one even thought he was being overtaken by a small motorbike - then I get spooked. I hope you or someone else from Fisker can take away those worries.
 

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Dutch said:
I have a daily highway commute of 45 miles, so I expect the generator/engine to kick in just before I reach my destination. The battery will then be at 20% charge, the generator/engine will be at its loudest/highest revs, right when I am driving through town in my 'silent' electric car.
Not that I think the engine noise is acceptable, but here's a suggestion. You could you force the generator to come on for part of your highway drive so that you can be in EV mode while you drive through town. That would be better for local air pollution as well as noise pollution.

Edited to add: It occurs to me that that may be what David Harris is suggesting people do in his cryptic response.
 

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doug said:
Not that I think the engine noise is acceptable, but here's a suggestion. You could you force the generator to come on for part of your highway drive so that you can be in EV mode while you drive through town. That would be better for local air pollution as well as noise pollution.
Doug: I have heard Henrik Fisker talk about this exact scenario as the reason why the Sport/Stealth modes are controlled by the user. If you start with a full battery and use Sport mode on the highway, the generator does not have to work particularly hard to keep the battery topped off as you drive on the freeway (depending on your driving, of course). So when you get off the freeway and into the urban setting, the battery has enough charge left that you can switch to Stealth mode and glide quietly through the streets. As I understand it, some European cities do not permit any ICE driven vehicles in their city centers, which is one reason the Karma can switch modes to preserve the battery charge for city driving.

As for what Mr. Harris was suggesting, I have absolutely no clue what he is saying, other than "if you think it is too loud, just don't buy the car" but my native language is not English, so I may be missing some nuance here.

-- Fab.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
In one of the videos of the test drives instructor Kyle also came up with that suggestion. At that moment it didn't sound appealing to me, as it would be defying the whole purpose of the Karma (driving 25 mpg on gas when you can be driving electric). But I now see it differently: I will be forced to drive in Sport Mode at the end of my daily commute anyway, because it is a bit too long, so I might as well take that piece of Sport Mode on the highway at low revs (for 5 or 10 miles, it will take a bit of experimenting to determine how much it needs), to avoid being forced to drive it in Sport Mode at high revs when I get to town. Hopefully I can establish a rhytm for switching between the modes.

By the way, today I received a copy of the Dutch car magazine Autovisie. They interviewed Henrik Fisker in Milan during the testing session for European automotive journalists. On the subject of the loud engine/generator they quote him as saying: ''We are also working on that'' (after he already said build quality is going to be improved some more). This implies that the cars used in those test drives were not the final version yet and that hopefully this issue is being dealt with before we receive our cars.

I do realize that it will probably never completely disappear as some of it is inherent to the design of the car and propulsion system (exhausts near the front, high revs needed to recharge the battery when it is running too low). Let's just hope they can muffle it a bit more, either in production or as a refit.
 

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To me "working on that" means they realize something needs to change but does not imply anything on by when this is suppose to happen. Could be for a Karma model 2013 (or later) for all we know and never make it into the first delivered (e.g. Your) car.

We really need clarification on this ASAP!
 

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Dutch said:
I do realize that it will probably never completely disappear as some of it is inherent to the design of the car and propulsion system (exhausts near the front, high revs needed to recharge the battery when it is running too low). Let's just hope they can muffle it a bit more, either in production or as a refit.
In addition to the things you mentioned, I think they're fundamentally limited by the physical volume (as in space) available for the exhaust system to adequately muffle it. If they had run the exhaust to the rear, there might have been enough space to fit a proper muffler.

Volt muffler:
 

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Motor Trend just posted their "Second Drive: Fisker Karma" article:

Motor Trend Article

They talk a lot about the engine noise problems, and they mirrored a discussion we've been having here:

"...a harsh engine note penetrates the cabin, sounding less than premium. For some discerning customers this has the potential to be a deal-breaker, but you can avoid it by adapting your driving style. For passing, and on fast back roads, use the electric-only Stealth mode. For constant speeds on the freeway you can engage the engine and let it silently charge the batteries in the background. The overall effect is that is you soon find yourself switching to the whisper-quiet and silky smooth Stealth setting at every opportunity."

-Brian
 

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jeroen said:
To me "working on that" means they realize something needs to change but does not imply anything on by when this is suppose to happen. Could be for a Karma model 2013 (or later) for all we know and never make it into the first delivered (e.g. Your) car.
At some point they need to start delivering cars. I've been lurking here for a bit and I see that a lot of people with orders placed have been given production dates in the next week or so. Any change they might make to the muffler will most likely not make it onto the early production cars. If they keep making last minute changes the cars will never roll off the line. So I think Jeroen is correct here. And has been stated by others, with the design of the car/exhaust, there's only going to be so much they can do.

Of course, somehow they still don't have an EPA rating, so by law they can't sell any cars yet anyway.
 

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jeroen said:
To me "working on that" means they realize something needs to change but does not imply anything on by when this is suppose to happen.
I would assume that a technology company such as Fisker is continuously working on every aspect of the car, so telling us that they are working on it is just like telling us that they are going to be building cars, soothing words, but conveying no new information whatsoever.

-- Fab.
 

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I test drove the Karma yesterday in Houston. I know that many on this board are car enthusiasts. However, for the average guy like myself, there is no noise problem.

We floored the Karma on I-10 in sport mode and had no issues. We had the radio on and could hear everything fine. We were talking to each other without issue. Bottom line is that if you don't buy this car because of the "noise", you simply are looking for perfection. Go spend twice as much for a Rapide if that is what you have to have in a vehicle.

This car is incredible to drive. It is top of the line in almost every aspect. Mine will be here in Houston by mid-November, and I cannot wait to drive it around town.
 

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If I wanted perfection, I surely wouldn't buy a car as ugly as the Rapide (or as likely to spend time in the shop).

But, I do hear ya. So, the car has an exhaust. Honestly, I love the sound of the Granturismo. I'm not saying this will sound the same, but I don't have a problem with a car making a little engine noise.

Of course, when I test drive it in a month or two, it could be a whole different story! The only bad part for me is that my test drive won't come until AFTER my production date. How silly is that...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
bmccartney95 said:
I test drove the Karma yesterday in Houston. I know that many on this board are car enthusiasts. However, for the average guy like myself, there is no noise problem.

We floored the Karma on I-10 in sport mode and had no issues. We had the radio on and could hear everything fine. We were talking to each other without issue. Bottom line is that if you don't buy this car because of the "noise", you simply are looking for perfection. Go spend twice as much for a Rapide if that is what you have to have in a vehicle.

This car is incredible to drive. It is top of the line in almost every aspect. Mine will be here in Houston by mid-November, and I cannot wait to drive it around town.
For me the 'noise' issue, although it worries me a little bit, is not going to be a deal breaker either. This car is such a unique package of styling, luxury, coolness, speed, environmental friendlyness and more, that even if the sound of the generator is somewhat intrusive under some circumstances (low battery) it won't deter me. Anyway, production of my car starts 4 days from now! Can't wait for it to get here!

The importer/dealer for The Netherlands just sent an e-mail that they will be receiving their first demo this weekend, and on Monday they will accept calls and mails for test drives. Time to make that call :)
 

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metalica23 said:
If I wanted perfection, I surely wouldn't buy a car as ugly as the Rapide (or as likely to spend time in the shop).
I don't know why everyone likes to compare the Karma to the Rapide and Panamera. Aside from visual appearance as a 4-door sports car, they have nothing in common. Not even close to the same driving experience. The Rapide (which incidentally is gorgeous!) is a 4-door supercar, and it's as thrilling to drive as any Aston - I know - I've done it, but the Karma is really more like driving a Cadillac. There's no "thrill" in it at all - it's just a very nice ride. So, under the shiny exterior you just can't compare these cars.

I probably just opened a can of worms...

-Brian
 

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Dutch said:
For me the 'noise' issue, although it worries me a little bit, is not going to be a deal breaker either. This car is such a unique package of styling, luxury, coolness, speed, environmental friendlyness and more, that even if the sound of the generator is somewhat intrusive under some circumstances (low battery) it won't deter me.
+1

My sentiments exactly. Delivery can't come soon enough.
 

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brian said:
[the Karma is really more like driving a Cadillac. There's no "thrill" in it at all - it's just a very nice ride. So, under the shiny exterior you just can't compare these cars.
I probably just opened a can of worms...
-
Brian: I don't think what you are saying is particularly controversial. I can't imagine anyone here expects to get Aston performance out of the Karma. And I can afford to get an Aston if I wanted to get an Aston. What I want is a Karma, not because of it's G-Force numbers but because it is a significant advance in automotive technology that happens to have decent performance and great handling. I think the comparisons to the Panamera or Rapide are more about the size, configuration, and utility of the cars and not specifically the performance, at least that's my take on it.

-- Fab.
 
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