Sunday, June 14, 2015

Goodbye Karma

Well, my Karma has gone.
It was good Karma, to the end, but with the uncertain future I decided to trade.

I loved this car.  It had fantastic styling.  The cabin was beautiful - like sitting in your own private jet.
However, there were things that made it still seem a little 'rough around the edges' and of course with Fisker going belly up, despite of the promise of the new owner, the remaining owners were really just in a holding pattern to discover if we were ever going to get further upgrades.

I waited, in fact, until the new owners made their March 2015 announcement (  I was hoping to see a service centre in Vancouver right away - I knew they had sold a (relatively) large number of cars here.  However, while the announcement when it came did have much good news, including service credits and an upgrade programme for existing owners, it markedly only had one service centre in Canada - in Montreal!

It's likely that a Vancouver centre will be forthcoming at some point - after all Canada is a huge country and they will absolutely need something on the west coast here and of course Vancouver is where that's at naturally.  However, holding on the Karma represented continued risk for me:
- The tyres needed replacing
- The engine had not been serviced for a long time
- I was starting to get a 12v battery not charging indicator in some conditions (winter)
- An issue could arise at any time needing service or parts

On the roughness front, the onboard software was clearly going to need further updates when Fisker shutdown:
- Entering sport mode when you were in hill mode would result in an 'engine error'
- The startup sequence would sometimes fail to complete correctly, leaving the screen unusable until the car was reset
- The screen would often be slow to react to user input
- The solar panel history screen never worked as intended
- Playing music from the USB was not a refined experience and the entertainment system would often switch to USB when the car was started and you were happily listening to another source... but the generation of the USB catalogue was completed minutes later!

One other issue was that the man-made suede substitute covering on the steering wheel was beginning to wear bold in the spots where I normally held the wheel.  That's just normal wear and tear, but at some point I would have looked into replacing the wheel.

I hope Fisker go from strength to strength under their new ownership.  It sounds like there's going to be a follow-up with a new model, as well as Karma upgrades.

However, the Starship Red Karmelian is now gone... replaced with a new electric vehicle - a Tesla Model S.  I may start a blog on Model S ownership.

The Model S has had the advantage of longer time now to consolidate quality and features, having not had a bankruptcy and development hiatus like Fisker.   Elon Musk's company is impressive - being very focused on a great product.  That product is also capable of continuous improvement too - via the firmware updates that appear regularly.  The quality, sitting in the contemporary Model S is obvious.  The car may not have (IMHO) the gorgeous lines of the Karma, but it's still a great looking car and unlike the Karma in many ways, it oozes quality.

So... I had good karma for a while.  Hopefully the Tesla S has some other kind of awesome positive cosmic essence :)