Fisker Ocean Braking Issue That Prompted NHTSA Probe Was Fixed With An OTA Update

Fisker, the maker of the all-electric Ocean SUV, said it fixed the braking issue that prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to open a preliminary investigation after it received several complaints alleging the battery-powered crossover could display a partial loss of braking when it hits low traction surfaces.

According to an official document published by the American automaker on its website, the potential problems that led to the NHTSA’s preliminary evaluation were fixed with a software update that was issued last month.

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Fisker used the power of over-the-air (OTA) updates to fix a braking issue that prompted the NHTSA to open a preliminary investigation after it received consumer complaints about the Ocean EV exhibiting reduced braking performance in some scenarios.

Here’s what the company said:

The Fisker Ocean brake system uses both friction braking and regenerative braking. In December 2023, Fisker responded to customer feedback and issued an Over-the-Air update (Version 1.10) to the regenerative system that improved the customer experience when traveling over bumps and uneven surfaces, resolving the issue. The Fisker Ocean brake system meets or exceeds all US and international performance requirements.

According to the NHTSA, it received nine consumer complaints about braking performance in the 2023 Ocean SUV. The complaints allege that a partial loss of braking can occur over low traction surfaces without alerting the driver, resulting in longer stopping distances. One complaint alleged a crash and injury, the federal investigation said.

The issue seemed to lie with the so-called blended braking function, which combines the friction braking system with the regenerative braking feature. About 4,000 cars out of the total 4,700 Ocean SUVs that were delivered last year are linked to the braking issue.

Fisker is in a hard spot right now. Last year, it slashed its production output at the Magna factory in Austria so that it could keep some cash on hand for the following months, and reduced its production guidance several times before that. That’s not exactly encouraging news for the EV startup. Neither is the fact that more than half the cars it made in 2023 were undelivered.

That’s partly because the direct sales approach used thus far didn’t quite live up to the expectations, which is why the California firm wants to add dealer franchises to its sales pitch. With help from dealers, it hopes to move all the remaining inventory of over 5,000 cars by the end of the first quarter–but only if enough dealers sign up.