Fisker Ocean EV Investigated Over Dangerous Automatic Braking

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Key Takeaways

  • The NHTSA is investigating reports of Fisker Ocean EVs that unexpectedly use automatic emergency braking.
  • Three slowdowns led to reported injuries.
  • This is the fourth case, and Fisker is already near bankruptcy.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened another investigation into Fisker to explore reported issues with the Ocean electric SUV’s automatic emergency braking.

The administration said there had been eight complaints of “inadvertent” braking where the car slowed down without any obstacles ahead. This included at least one moment where the Ocean EV came to a full stop. There were three incidents with reported injuries, the NHTSA said.

The agency added this was a preliminary evaluation to gauge the scale of possible problems. We’ve asked Fisker for comment and will let you know if we hear back.

The Ocean is the current Fisker brand’s first EV, but it has had issues since the beginning. The car’s initial software was very buggy, and wouldn’t even let users update over the air as expected. There were reports of brake and power loss problems since the launch last year.

The NHTSA is in the midst of investigating other issues with the Fisker Ocean, including a loss of braking, doors that refuse to open, and vehicles rolling away without warning. There aren’t any recalls so far.

Fisker initially hoped to compete against rivals like Tesla by offering strong capabilities for the money, such as the Ocean’s claimed 350-mile peak range. It also outlined an ambitious roadmap that included the more affordable Pear city EV, the Alaska pickup truck, and the Ronin four-door sports car.

Sales fell well short of expectations, however. Fisker said it made 10,142 Ocean EVs in 2023, but delivered only 4,700. It has also opened just two physical stores. The automaker is near bankruptcy and has taken a number of steps to turn things around, including Ocean price cuts, a willingness to sell through dealerships, and internal restructuring.

The braking issues won’t necessarily lead to a larger investigation of Fisker or a recall. However, they’re compounding troubles for a brand that is already struggling to compete against EV-only makes like Tesla and Rivian.