Home » Bankrupt Fisker Just Had To Recall All Its Cars And It’s Not To Fix Software

Bankrupt Fisker Just Had To Recall All Its Cars And It’s Not To Fix Software

Tmd Fisker Pump Ts
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While electric cars do have a mechanical simplicity when compared to the gas-powered alternative, it’s not like a modern EV is truly an iPhone. And just because Fisker is bankrupt it doesn’t mean that the automaker suddenly found a way to obviate all its responsibilities and avoid fixing problems with its cars.

And what about Lucid? A much lower price has led to an increase in sales, but the company also identified a little issue that’s going to have to be addressed in some of its cars. The good news for Lucid is that it’s a software issue.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Chinese consumers continue to turn away from Western brands, with both China and Porsche reporting decreased sales in the country. Stellantis has a little less exposure to China and needs to win in Europe, where hybrids are more important. So Stellantis is going to build more hybrids.

It’s Tuesday, let’s d-d-d-d-Dump.

Fisker’s Water Pump Recall Is Hitting All Models

Fisker Water Pump

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It’s hard to run a business. You have to maintain relentless optimism over the long term. You have to believe in your vision. At the same time, you can’t let that optimism get the better of you in the short term.

There are many reasons why Fisker didn’t work, but optimism is what I keep coming back to, and, in particular, I keep coming back to this bit in the big TechCrunch piece on the company’s collapse:

Gupta-Fisker also turned down requests to build out a large stockpile of service parts, according to two of the employees. It’s a crucial buffer that automakers usually build up to handle repairs and other fixes as they iron out the kinks in the initial run of cars.

According to employees, Gupta-Fisker’s resistance to the idea was driven by an effort to save money. Fisker leadership supported the decision by pointing to a McKinsey survey that showed EVs require less service and fewer parts, according to one of the employees.

The employees said Gupta-Fisker pinned too much hope on the quality of the cars. They recall her saying the build quality at Magna, Fisker’s contract manufacturer, was “superior” and therefore the Ocean would not run into many problems. (Magna declined to comment for this story.)

Gupta-Fisker was Fisker’s one-time CFO/COO and Henrik Fisker’s wife. The company’s PR arm has mostly denied the TC story, for what it’s worth, but Sean O’Kane is a helluva reporter so you can decide for yourself.

I’m not going to touch the McKinsey thing, though the concept is basically correct. As EVs get better they probably will require less service and fewer parts. And Magna is a great builder of cars and trucks. The idea that a brand-new car wouldn’t need more parts or run into problems, however, is absolutely lunacy.

To wit, the Fisker Ocean has been recalled by NHTSA four times, including in June when the company admitted its door handles might stick and fail to open in an accident. The most recent recall is for a water pump issue, described by NHTSA this way:

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Fisker is launching a Voluntary Safety Recall Campaign to address a potentialsafety concern affecting all Fisker Ocean vehicles. This recall focuses on a potential issue with the cabin electric water pump. In these vehicles, a problem has been identified with the High Voltage Battery Management System (BMS) limp mode, which is designed to limit battery power to 8.5 kW. This limp mode is activated when there is a communication loss on the vehicle’s Local Interconnect Network 6 (LIN6) bus. The root cause of this communication loss is a failure in the cabin electric water pump (EWP_H). To ensure the safety and reliability of its vehicles, Fisker is proactively addressing this issue through this recall campaign.

It’s good of Fisker to finally be proactive.

Lucid Recalls Its Cars, Too

Lucid Air Gt Frunk TrunkWhile we’re talking about EV automakers trying to break through in the market, it’s worth mentioning that Lucid had a stronger second quarter this year, with deliveries up 70% (and incentives up to $16,537 per vehicle).

That’s a good deal. Lucid’s cars are truly excellent and if you want a luxury sedan it’s maybe the best luxury sedan there is for a certain kind of person.

I should also mention that their new Head of Comms is our old pal and occasional Autopian contributor Nick Twork, which makes him the first contributor to rise to the position of Head of Comms for a car company (but certainly not the last). Lucid will get no favoritism because of this, but if they don’t invite us to the Gravity launch I’m going to haunt him like John Cena by signing him up for text message alerts for every political campaign in New Hampshire.

Oh, yeah, Lucid is recalling some of its cars (about 5,251, which feels like most of them) because when “a hardware communication fault is detected, the High Voltage Interlock (HVIL) software could disconnect the high voltage contactors while the vehicle is in motion, causing a loss of drive power.”

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As it’s fixable via software, Lucid already issued a software update so it’s already been fixed.

China… Ehh…

Taycan 4s

Porsche has been telling people it expected a slowdown in the middle of the year as it replaces models and rolls out new cars, which is relatively normal. This is one of the reasons why it says sales in the first half of the year fell 7% compared to 2023.

Another reason? China has been a huge market for Porsche and the company is facing the same headwinds all Western automakers are right now, with sales down 33% so far this year. From Bloomberg via Automotive News:

While the maker of the 911 has said this is likely to be the low point of the year, luxury buyers have become choosier about spending, with demand in China waning due to a prolonged real estate crisis and weaker economy.

The Cayenne SUV was the most popular model, with 54,587 sales, an increase of 16 percent. In contrast, sales of the full-electric Taycan fell by 51 percent, to 8,838, amid a general cooling of the EV market.

It’s not just Porsche. General Motors is also having a rough go in China, according to The Detroit News:

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All of GM’s brands in China fell considerably: Buick deliveries stood at about 81,000, down from 136,000 in the same period a year ago. Chevrolet deliveries were almost 10,000, down from 48,000. Cadillac delivered about 29,000 vehicles, down from 55,000.

And SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile, a joint venture between GM, SAIC Motor, and Guangxi Auto, delivered 252,000 cars, compared to 286,000 a year prior.

GM is going to bring its Chevy Tahoe to the market, so maybe that’ll help.

Stellantis To Sell More Mild Hybrids In Europe

Fiat 500 Hybrid Large

The “year of the hybrid” rolls on as Stellantis, citing increased demand in Europe, plans to introduce more mild hybrids across most of its brands there. The company has four popular PHEVs here in the United States, but no regular or mild hybrids.

From Reuters:

The American-French-Italian automaker, created from the 2021 merger between Peugeot maker PSA and Fiat Chrysler, said in a statement it would offer 30 hybrid models this year for nine of its 14 brands, including Fiat, Peugeot, Jeep and Alfa Romeo, and launch six more over the following two years.

Stellantis, which did not say how many such hybrid models it already sells, said it was responding to the quick ramp-up of customer orders for hybrids in Europe. It added that its sales of this kind of vehicle in the region rose 41% in the first six months this year.

When we say “mild” hybrid we mean what passes for Picante sauce in Milwaukee. It’s a small battery and a 21-kW motor tied to the dual-clutch gearbox paired with some brake regeneration. It is the least amount you can do and call a vehicle a hybrid, but it does come with a claimed 20% better environmental performance for not much more cost.

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Given how many platforms Stellantis shares, it’ll be fun to see if the tech slowly bleeds over here to North American models.

What I’m Listening To While Writing TMD

I’m an excitable boy this morning as we plan to all meet up at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England this weekend. So why not a little Warren Zevon and “Werewolves of London” eh?

The Big Question

Should we even call mild hybrids a “hybrid”?

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Car Guy
Car Guy
3 days ago

What the heck is a “cabin electric water pump”? Do Fiskers have some kind of decorative water feature fountain inside? Is it for a drinking water bubbler?

I understand use of water pumps for engine cooling, but this says it’s specifically for the cabin and this vehicle doesn’t have an engine.

Darnon
Darnon
2 days ago
Reply to  Car Guy

Using just thermoelectric generation for heat would suck a ton of power so the cabin heat likely has a heat exchanger with the the drive electronics cooling circuit to scavenge heat from there. Those would be separate loops so would necessitate its own coolant pump.

Micah Cameron
Micah Cameron
2 days ago
Reply to  Car Guy

I’m just taking a stab at this, but a lot of German cars I’ve owned have two water pumps: one to circulate coolant around the engine (the regular water pump which is either belt-driven or a massive electric unit), and a much smaller electric water pump to help circulate coolant through the heater core more effectively.

The latter is effectively a “cabin electric water pump” and it is hugely effective at reducing the time it takes for the HVAC system to be able to command hot air in the winter.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
3 days ago

I saw a werewolf drinkin’ a piña colada at Trader Vic’s
His hair was perfect

Ah-hoo

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
3 days ago

Wow, two articles about recalls and neither are Ford!

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
3 days ago

Got my notice in the mail yesterday!
successkid.jpg

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
3 days ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

Nice. I checked NHTSA before posting to make sure there wasn’t another one I hadn’t gotten yet.

Johnny Anxiety
Johnny Anxiety
3 days ago

That CEO response reminds me of the time a CIO came out and laid a page out of CIO Magazine, on our phone guys desk, that said to use Microsoft Teams for your phone system. Told him to implement it with no other thought. Just as stupid and delusional as that no spare parts comment.

I_drive_a_truck
I_drive_a_truck
3 days ago
Reply to  Johnny Anxiety

She was the CFO/COO and not qualified to be either, based on several degrees in Biotechnology and work experience that includes running her family’s personal investment office. Stupid? no. Delusional? Off the charts yes.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
3 days ago

According to employees, Gupta-Fisker’s resistance to the idea was driven by an effort to save money.”

Not to mention that in hindsight, she didn’t know what she was talking about and she had had no business being the COO or CFO of an automotive company due to her lack of knowledge and experience.

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
3 days ago

Just like the CEO.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
3 days ago
Reply to  Jack Beckman

Yup.

It’s a shame… I had a look at an Ocean up close in person and it’s a very nice vehicle overall with lots of interesting details.

The company just needs more capital and help on the software side.

I hope a company like Apple buys them. I believe they have the money and software expertise to make Fisker become successful.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
3 days ago

Seeing as how all Fisker Karmas in existence were recalled three times in 9 months, all for hardware issues (battery replacement, cooling fan, coolant hose clamps), and they were also built by a well respected contract manufacturer with a good reputation for quality, the crap with the Ocean really seems like something Henrik Fisker should have anticipated and planned for

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
3 days ago

If they actually increase mpg by 20%, mild hybrids deserve to be called a hybrid. They may not be as good as a typical hybrid (hence the “mild” modifier) but that is a significant increase in efficiency. If your car’s mpg went up by 20%, you would notice.

A vehicle that has a glorified start-stop system like the 2004 Silverado Hybrid is unworthy of mild hybrid designation. I don’t think any “hybrids” still use a drivetrain where the electric motor cannot contribute to propulsion, though.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
3 days ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

Yeah, but I can get the same benefits by sticking this cheap magical thingamajigy in my cigarette lighter. Can I drive in the HOV lane now?

Joke #119!
Joke #119!
3 days ago

Re: that “Hybrid” logo: Yes, they do look like penises. Why you ask?

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
3 days ago
Reply to  Joke #119!

I don’t see anything dong with it.

Parsko
Parsko
3 days ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

Giggles…

Geese with penises growing out of their heads.

Why would they choose this???

Beer-light Guidance
Beer-light Guidance
3 days ago
Reply to  Parsko

Hmm, I think they look more like peacocks

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
3 days ago
Reply to  Parsko

Graphic designers must have a checklist before releasing a design on the world, and one of the things they absolutely check for is that nothing looks like a penis unless you intended it to look like a penis.

Someone has had some fun at work and is now never going to get repeat work from that client ever again.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
3 days ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

It’s a hybrid, so only part penis. That gets off.

Thatmiataguy
Thatmiataguy
3 days ago

In previous articles about PHEVs, I have several times observed commenters referring to regular hybrids (Prius, Civic hybrid, etc.) as “mild hybrids,” seemingly unaware that the term mild hybrid is already taken and refers to a separate category of hybridized vehicles.

Mild Hybrid: Tiny battery, small auxiliary electric motor that can’t propel the vehicle on its own, cannot be plugged in.

Hybrid: Small battery, small/medium electric motor that is capable of propelling the vehicle on its own for a bit before the ICE kicks on, cannot be plugged in.

Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV): Medium sized battery, medium sized electric motor, can be driven exclusively on electricity for at least 20+ miles without firing up the ICE, can be plugged in (doesn’t have to be, but really should be).

Extended-range EV: Medium sized battery, medium sized electric motor, designed to be primarily driven as an electric vehicle with a “backup” range-extending engine designed mostly to get you to the next charger. Almost like a “Mild Electric Car” or something.

Kind of like Hybrid vs. Mild Hybrid, there is a bit of overlap and confusion about the difference between a PHEV and an Extended-range EV.

The 1st Gen Chevy Volt was billed as an Extended-range EV, but I think the Volt was really more of a Plug-in Hybrid. Not only could the 1st Gen Volt’s engine power the front wheels directly under certain circumstances, but it’s lower electric range (35-40 miles) compared to its overall gas-fueled range (350 miles) would categorize it as a PHEV under current standards.

Extended-range EVs generally have a significantly larger electric range than a PHEV and a much smaller gasoline-extended range than a PHEV. David’s BMW i3 is a good example of this.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
3 days ago
Reply to  Thatmiataguy

I think the main confusion over PHEV vs extended EVs is the fact that there have been like what 3 real extended range EVs on the US market? I can think of the Fisker Karma, the i3, and… I’m sure there’s a third in there somewhere… i8? Maybe?. I would love this class of vehicle to be a big thing, but it just isn’t yet so there’s not much of a need of a separate category for them.

Thatmiataguy
Thatmiataguy
3 days ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

Future rather than current, but I think that the upcoming Ramcharger will be considered an extended-range EV. It sounds like the engine will be mostly there to charge the battery pack once its been run down significantly and (probably?) will never actually be tasked with driving the wheels itself.

Perhaps extended-range EVs will become more popular in the future kind of like they are in China right now.

Ben
Ben
3 days ago
Reply to  Thatmiataguy

Personally, I don’t like even differentiating PHEVs and EREVs for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that it resulted in a lot of sound and fury about the Volt when people learned that in a very narrow speed range it would directly connect the engine and the wheels because it was more efficient. It was objectively the right thing to do, but it has led to endless smarmy internet commenters well-actuallying (the second time in a week I’ve used that term) every time the Volt comes up. I’d rather not have cars “downgraded”, if you will, because they made the smart engineering decision.

The other reason is that it’s a distinction with very little difference in most cases. Both use a moderately-sized battery until it’s basically empty, then run a gas engine to keep the car moving. The details of exactly how the powertrain is laid out is only of interest to the kinds of people who know the difference between a front-engined and a mid-front-engined car. I would much prefer if all cars of this general type were called PHEVs and then we could nerd out about whether a car is series, parallel, or both in the comments. In the grand scheme of things it’s just not that important (sorry, mid-front-engine enthusiasts 😉 ). All you’re going to do is confuse the average car buyer.

Drew
Drew
3 days ago
Reply to  Ben

I somewhat agree. For the average buyer, the main point of differentiation would not be whether the engine directly connects, but the split between EV range and gas range, but that would do a disservice to those who care about whether the propulsion is consistently provided via electric motor. I also think that some buyers beyond the enthusiast might care about whether there is a clunky handoff between propulsion systems, though that varies between PHEV systems at least as much as the difference between PHEV and EREV.

For the layperson, I could see a split around 100 miles of EV range or some significant percentage of overall range as electric. But, of course, that doesn’t necessarily help the enthusiasts (and could muddy the water if a long range PHEV did have an engine that could directly provide propulsion).

As long as companies don’t hide the ball on how propulsion is achieved (which, I think, was some of the issue with the Volt–people thought the engine only worked as a generator and felt some level of betrayal when they discovered otherwise), I do think PHEV could be the blanket category and EREV could be a specific kind of PHEV. But I do struggle a bit because I can see the argument that it would be a specific kind of EV (one that can use a gas generator for a bit).

Ben
Ben
2 days ago
Reply to  Drew

I also think that some buyers beyond the enthusiast might care about whether there is a clunky handoff between propulsion systems, though that varies between PHEV systems at least as much as the difference between PHEV and EREV.

Absolutely, and that’s kind of my point. Most people don’t and shouldn’t care exactly how it’s implemented, just whether what is implemented is done well and whether the respective ranges for battery and gas fit their use case.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
3 days ago
Reply to  Thatmiataguy

I’m thinking electric turbochargers will cloud this even further.

IanGTCS
IanGTCS
3 days ago

Saw my first Fisker on the road over the weekend, guess it could be the only one I’ll see. I’ve actually seen more Vinfasts around. I was kind of surprised at how small it seemed, for some reason I thought that it would be bigger than it is.

Cerberus
Cerberus
3 days ago

How is Fisker going to be handling all these recall campaigns (and possible future ones) when they don’t have the parts and have no money? Is there some kind of government requirement that they have to set aside a certain amount of money that can only be used to handle recalls before being approved for sales?

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
3 days ago
Reply to  Cerberus

The water pump vendor is probably on the hook for providing replacement parts, assuming Fisker did not violate any operating specs with the faulty ones. I doubt there are any Fisker-only dealers in the US, so any dealer with a Fisker franchise (e.g., our beloved Beau) would probably honor the warranty work, if for no other reason than to build goodwill to sell the Ocean owner the new non-Fisker car they will inevitably need soon. Probably the only advantage of the traditional dealer sales model.

SlowCarFast
SlowCarFast
3 days ago

“….by signing him up for text message alerts for every political campaign in New Hampshire.”

I’m sorry, but please don’t even joke about this. Vandalizing someone’s inbox with spam is a serious issue.

Der Foo
Der Foo
3 days ago
Reply to  SlowCarFast

My employer passed along my personal info to darn near every political promotion entity in Michigan.

I live on the other side of the country. Whenever I mistakenly answer my phone, I like to hear the answer to “Why should I care if <some politician> gets elected? What is he going to do for me in Texas?”. I have gotten an answer saying that what is good for MI is good for TX also.

I’m kinda surprised I haven’t been summoned for jury duty in MI.

Jdoubledub
Jdoubledub
3 days ago

We should call mild hybrids 48v Hybrids.

Also, I’ve never seen NOK used as an abbreviation for NOT OK. Is that common in certain industries?

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
3 days ago
Reply to  Jdoubledub

NOK = Not OK is common use here at my engineering company, and used by most of our customer base (incl. many of the major T1s/OEMs)

NIO = also Not OK (Nicht in Ordnung – lit. not in order), but used by our German customers.

I’m sure there were lost-in-translation jokes when NIO expanded into Germany – if Germans were to have a sense of humour.

Cerberus
Cerberus
3 days ago
Reply to  Jdoubledub

When I worked in a QA lab at a lighting company, we used to use NFG, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t an industry standard.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
3 days ago

If I didn’t know any better I might say Fisker was a giant scam run by a narcissistic couple with bad intentions. Oh wait. I did say that, repeatedly. What an absolute shit show. Can we please collectively remember this the next time Henrik decides to pull his “I’m just a harmless little environmentalist who makes attractive cars, would you like one?” act again in a few years?

I mean, mild hybrids are technically hybrids. However, not all of them offer that much in the way of fuel economy benefits. If I recall correctly the system Stellantis has thrown together with toothpicks and bubblegum doesn’t improve it at all. I’m a little skeptical of the 20% environmental improvement figure. In fact, a lot of mild hybrid systems are designed more for performance/torque fill than anything else.

That being said, BMW’s is pretty sweet and does have significant benefits. In the new 540i, it delivers 26 MPG city and 33 highway when paired with the now nearly 400 horsepower B58. For a two ton six cylinder luxobarge that’s absolutely insane.

Jdoubledub
Jdoubledub
3 days ago

I’m guessing the majority of the environmental improvement claims comes from the auto stop/start system that most people seem to defeat every time they start the car so it’s moot.

Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
3 days ago
Reply to  Jdoubledub

Yeah, “environmental improvements” is pretty specifically not “MPG improvements.”

ElmerTheAmish
ElmerTheAmish
3 days ago

How about we go back to the time when someone just paid the man to be the chief designer? I love his designs, but every time he’s shown up with his own company it’s been a shit show!

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
3 days ago
Reply to  ElmerTheAmish

Oh the man can design a pretty car. No doubt about it.

James Carson
James Carson
3 days ago

John DeLoreans ghost enters the room.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
3 days ago
Reply to  James Carson

….and offers cocaine!

James Carson
James Carson
3 days ago

As noted in the protocols.

Last edited 3 days ago by James Carson
Michael Fortenbery
Michael Fortenbery
2 days ago

RE: Stellantis mild hybrids-The toothpicks and bubblegum comment is quite appropriate. I own a Ram 1500 with e-torque. Tiny battery pack, small electric motor mounted to the front of the engine that only “helps” in the initial acceleration. (The PR department says is has around 8 functions, FYI.) Does it help fuel economy? Not that I can tell, but it has been completely unobtrusive. They did the bare minimum to get the CAFE benefits of making “hybrids”. I suspect that is the continued path forward in the USA, for the short term.

Note: I am extremely pleased with my Ram 1500, but that satisfaction has nothing to do with it being a “hybrid” vehicle.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
3 days ago

If you’re going to party in Merry Old, I suggest you bring lawyers, guns and money. You know, in case the shit hits the fan .

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
3 days ago

“Werewolves of London” was decreed to be the song with the best first line of all time by a poll of BBC Radio2 listeners. It beat all comers by nearly 100.000 votes!

Drew
Drew
3 days ago

Should we even call mild hybrids a “hybrid”?

They are, so yes. But I think it’s important to call attention to the difference between mild and regular hybrids, so I would prefer not to see them shorten to “hybrid.” Always “mild hybrid.”

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
3 days ago
Reply to  Drew

This please. Words mean things, we should use them accurately.

Especially if they are engineering terms.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
3 days ago

If its got both dino and pikachu juice, we gotta call it a combination somehow. Hybrid is a nice word. EREV, BEV, HREV, and all the other mouthful of letters variations are sure a nightmare though.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
3 days ago

When I think “mild hybrid” I think back to the GM system in the VUE and several sedans, 10-15 years ago. The efficiency gain wasn’t as much as say, a full hybrid from Toyota, but it was less expensive. But it also seemed to be applied to powertrains that weren’t as efficient to begin with and the improvement was only relative to that model’s lineup. The 2013 Malibu’s Eco model with eAssist seemed like more of a compromise than it was worth. It ate into trunk space just as much as a full hybrid like the Camry, but the eAssist system only boosted economy to the same level as an ICE Camry/Accord/Altima.

I can see it more in a larger truck/SUV that might see more idle time with a larger motor, but with how the price premium for more common hybrid systems has narrowed, not sure how much benefit they’d have for most people in a typical car or crossover.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
3 days ago

Also mentioning Mazda because they do offer the mild hybrid on the CX-90 now, but they also finally announced the CX-50 hybrid today, using the RAV4’s hybrid powertrain.

VS 57
VS 57
3 days ago

May the Goth be with you?

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
3 days ago

Mild hybrids are still hybrids

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