February 27, 2024

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Breaking Down the Investigation: Fiskers First Electric Vehicle Under Federal Safety Regulators Scrutiny

2 min read

Fisker’s First Electric Vehicle Faces Federal Safety Regulators’ Investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has launched an investigation into Fisker’s first electric vehicle, the Ocean SUV, due to reported braking problems. This inquiry was prompted by nine complaints, including one crash resulting in injury. Although a Fisker spokesperson declined to comment, the investigation coincides with the company’s struggle with lower-than-anticipated demand and failure to meet internal sales goals, reported by TechCrunch.

Late Delivery and Complaints
Fisker, a startup that went public in 2020, began delivering the Ocean SUV in June through contract manufacturing partner Magna Steyr. However, the SUV’s launch was delayed primarily because its software was not ready at the time. Since the vehicles hit the roads, there have been 19 complaints submitted to NHTSA, ranging from braking issues to problems with the gear shifter, driver door malfunctions, and instances of the vehicle’s hood unexpectedly opening while driving.

Specific Brake Concerns
According to the braking complaints reviewed by ODI, the Ocean may experience “partial loss of braking over low traction surfaces without alerting the driver,” resulting in a sudden increase in stopping distance. One complaint involved a mild crash during slightly rainy conditions, with the driver reporting that the vehicle’s brakes “vibrated and felt more plastic than elastic,” causing the car to slide as if the tires seized up.

Regulatory Process
NHTSA’s ODI can open four different types of investigations: Defect Petition, Preliminary Evaluation, Recall Query, and Engineering Analysis. The agency works to complete defect petitions in four months, preliminary evaluations and recall queries in eight months, and engineering analysis probes in 18 months. The Fisker probe has been classified as a preliminary evaluation.

Key Points:

– NHTSA is investigating Fisker’s Ocean SUV due to reported braking issues, including loss of braking performance over low traction surfaces.
– The investigation follows nine complaints, one of which involved a crash resulting in injury.
– Fisker’s struggle with demand and failure to meet sales goals coincides with the investigation.
– Regulatory investigations can take several months to complete, with the Fisker probe classified as a preliminary evaluation.

This development underscores the importance of rigorous safety assessments within the electric vehicle industry, emphasizing the need for swift and effective responses to reported issues to ensure consumer confidence and safety.

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