US opens preliminary probe into Fisker’s cars over brake system issue

(Reuters) – The U.S. auto safety regulator on Friday opened a preliminary probe into 6,813 Ocean SUVs made by Fisker in 2023, after complaints that the automatic emergency braking system used in the electric vehicles had activated inadvertently.

The regulator said its Office of Defects Investigation has received eight complaints alleging activation of the braking system without an apparent roadway obstruction in the vehicle’s forward path, resulting in sudden vehicle deceleration.

Three of the complaints alleged an injury, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

The NHTSA’s preliminary evaluation will look into the scope and severity of the potential problem to assess its impact on safety.

The regulator could close the investigation into Fisker without taking any potential action.

The probe adds to Fisker’s woes as its Ocean SUVs were already under investigation by the NHTSA for three prior incidents. Last month, the safety regulator received complaints that the doors of the company’s EVs sometimes failed to open.

Fisker had flagged going concern doubts in February, followed by delisting of its stock from the New York Stock exchange and the collapse of talks with a large automaker for a potential deal in March.

The startup had said in April it failed to make an interest payment of about $8.4 million on some notes due in 2026 during a 30-day grace period.

The cash-strapped firm initiated insolvency proceedings for its Austrian unit on Tuesday, as it looks for strategic options to raise funds to meet its debt obligations.

Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan, Aditya Soni and Zaheer Kachwala in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema and Shilpi Majumdar