Thursday, May 3, 2012


Back from my travels I arranged to have the Red Carmeleon looked at by the Fisker Folks (Fisker of Vancouver) to investigate the lit engine light and a couple of other items mentioned here: the poor AM reception and the intermittent failure to set up the vehicle according to the settings set on the key fob.

Collecting the car, I was told the AM radio reception was nominal.  That's a shame because it is much poorer than my old Audi, and I'm sure the pickup of the electric motor whine on the radio is worsened by the lack of signal received at the radio.  Anyway, I'm pretty convinced this is a design issue now.  I'm sure AM reception wasn't the #1 priority for Fisker - and to be fair the rest of the audio system is great.  I just happen to like to listen to the local AM news radio station, so I guess I'm just going to have to get used to listening to hiss and motor whine.

The mechanic checking the intermittent non-set up of the vehicle on power-on, also could not reproduce the problem.  However, there is an interesting note on the service report indicating "Non operation is the result of software and cannot be addressed at this time".  That's probably a general note in relation to some other similar reports into Fisker, I'm guessing.  Anyway, this seems to only happen occasionally, so I'm cool for now.  As a software guy, I'd suggest a race condition in the startup routine of the vehicle occasionally causes this set up to fail or be missed out.

On the main subject of the engine light, the service report indicates that the vehicle had flagged multiple errors.  The report actually says "Updated software in PIMGEN, TM1, TM2 with software released after 615.  Filed TSS case #5545".  Being a technical guy, I'm pretty fascinated by this car and therefore by these subsystem abbreviations.  I will guess that TM1 and TM2 refer to "Transaxle Motors" as that seems reasonable for an electric car.  Not sure what a PIMGEN is though.  Programmable Interface Module for the Generator?... probably not.

While the guys were at it, they saw fit to replace the "wiper cowl" as it was "deformed".  I hadn't noticed anything awry, but it's nice to see proactive remediation!  Not sure whether this was something they just noticed, or perhaps something on Fisker's 'watch list', presuming something like that exists.

This was my first experience of the Fisker of Vancouver / BMW Store service department.  I have to say they did themselves proud.  Garett the Service Advisor was very welcoming, friendly and helpful.  I got to meet the Fisker mechanics and was introduced to the reception staff.  I had coffee, was offered a breakfast muffin and was then straight away whisked to my place of work.
Overall, this now rates as my best experience at a dealership service centre in Vancouver... a place previously held by Pattison Lexus when they opened, though unfortunately the quality there dropped noticeably over time.  I have to say that Capilano Audi never distinguished themselves in my opinion.
The car was very nicely valeted (including inside) when I collected it.  I wonder if this level of service will persist, but they've certainly made a great impression to begin with.

It was great to drive the car again after a few days' hiatus.  It really is a beautiful car and an awesome drive.  I cranked the audio system up a bit, listening to my USB drive tunes.  The late afternoon sun peeked out and the car felt like a great place to be.  I also finally got to see a feature of car for the first time: the cool hyper-modern analogue clock that is displayed in the dash.  This is evidently removed if the car is displaying a critical warning light (like the engine warning that I previously had permanently displayed).

Getting home I attempted what I think is the last little piece of set up.  I hate setting up HomeLink transmitters as they're always a bit of a pain.  The Fisker manual was fairly clear though, and despite incorrect instructions on the back of the overhead drive unit/door lifter in my garage, I managed to get the Fisker HomeLink system to work correctly after only about 10 minutes of fiddling.

The only component of the vehicle's system I still feel I need some practice with is the navigation system.  I also need to reset the address book and reload it from my iPhone (as noted before I think messing around with my iPhone's iCloud settings has caused multiple copies of phone book entries to be sent and stored in the Karma).  Might have some time for these tomorrow evening.

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