Fisker recalls 239 Karma cars over battery defect

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 29, 2011 6:58 PM
Fisker recalls 239 Karma cars over battery defect

(Reuters) - Fisker Automotive, the electric carmaker backed by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, is recalling 239 Karma plug-in hybrid cars in the United States due to a possible defect in batteries flagged by A123 Systems.

A123 outlined the problem in a Dec 23 memo. In some cases, hose clamps on batteries made for the Karma were not aligned properly, which could lead to a leak of coolant fluid and possibly an electrical short circuit.

In the worst case scenario, the coolant could seep into the battery compartment and cause a fire, Fisker told U.S. safety regulators according a posting on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website on Thursday.

Fisker said fewer than 40 of these vehicles are with consumers and the rest remain in dealer inventories. The vehicles, made for the 2012 model year, were built from July to November of this year.

Scrutiny of electric vehicles has intensified recently after battery fires in some NHTSA crash tests of General Motors Co's Chevrolet Volt.

The $96,000 plug-in hybrid Karma is the first production vehicle for the fledging automaker that was founded in 2007 by Henrik Fisker, a one-time Aston Martin designer.

Fisker also received a $529 million loan from the Department of Energy to spur car development.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)