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Bankrupt battery maker A123 stalls Fisker Karma production

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Paul Sancya/AP/File

(Read caption) A123 Systems Inc. President and CEO David Vieau is shown after a news conference in this August 2009 file photo in Livonia, Mich. A123 exclusively provides the battery packs for Fisker's Karma range-extended electric sedan.

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Prodution lines at Fisker Automotive have lain silent for a month, the company revealed Wednesday at the LA Auto Show.

Fisker CEO Tony Pasowatz said that the hold-up is due to bankrupt battery maker A123 Systems, which is currently in the process of being sold.

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A123 exclusively provides the battery packs for Fisker's Karma range-extended electric sedan--and the lack of supply has stalled production.

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Bloomberg reports that Fisker intends to restart production as quickly as possible once the A123 sale has gone through.

The company does have an inventory, but one which Pasowatz describes as "[getting] a little low." 

The A123 auction is set to take place on December 6, with American parts firm Johnson Controls Inc. and Chinese parts company, Wanxiang Group Co. are expected to be the main bidders.

Fisker expects to know the outcome of the auction by the middle of December--and no doubt hopes to re-start production soon after.

Battery shortages are just the latest in a long line of hold-ups, problems and disasters for Fisker Automotive.

Last month, several Karmas were destroyed in a New Jersey port in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Previously, the company has also faced problems with Karmas catching fire, a Consumer Reports test car breaking down, and poor EPA ratings--plus previous issues with A123 batteries themselves.

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Fisker has considered using different batteries for the Karma, but Posawatz says it's certainly not a short-term solution, as batteries need to be thoroughly tested--a process which could take a year.

That's a year that Fisker can't really afford to waste--so a resolution to the A123 sale can't come too soon.