Second Fisker Karma Fire Casts Fresh Doubt On Plug-In Hybrid Page 2

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Woodside CA Incident Messaging

August 11, 2012

Holding Statement

Fisker Automotive can confirm that one of its Karma models was involved in a vehicle fire during a roadside incident in Woodside, California. No injuries were reported; the vehicle was parked; and the fire was extinguished safely by the emergency services. Fisker understands damage was limited to the driver’s side front corner of the car, away from the lithium ion battery and electric motors. The car was not being charged at the time.

We have more than 1,000 Karmas on the road with a cumulative 2 million miles on them. There are more than 185,000 highway vehicle fires in the US every year. In an electric vehicle, immediate suspicion is focused on the battery and high voltage components. The location of the damage to the vehicle in this incident appears to rule out that suspicion. Fisker has not had any battery or high voltage fire incidents with any of its vehicles.

Safety remains our primary concern at Fisker, and is integral to the design, engineering and technology of the Karma, a model in which we have absolute confidence. Fisker staff have been in contact with the customer and are investigating the cause of this incident. We are also employing an independent fire expert to assist the investigation. A further statement will be issued once the investigation has been completed and the cause determined.

Q: What was the cause of the fire in the car in Woodside?

A: We are currently investigating the cause. Unofficial photos show the damage was limited to the front corner, away from the lithium ion battery. The car was not being charged at the time

Q: What were the circumstances surrounding the fire?

A: Details are still forthcoming so we will hold comment until our inquiry is complete.

Q: Is this related to the Texas incident?

A: The Texas incident was a garage fire with many complicating factors and, to date, no known cause. We do not believe that there is any link between the incidents but can’t be certain until our investigations are complete.

Q: Was it related to the high voltage battery?

A: Due to the apparent location of the fire in the front of the car where there are no high-voltage components, and the fact that the car was not charging, we are confident it was not.

Q: What does this mean for the company? Can you survive?

A: This is another challenge that we will overcome with our customary speed and focus on customer satisfaction.

Q: Is the car safe to drive?

A: We have confidence in the Fisker Karma. Safety is our primary concern and if, after a thorough investigation, we determine that there is an issue with the car we will swiftly take the appropriate steps to notify all customers.


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Comments (14)
  1. This Kar-b-que is not a good sign for the Karma. Word gets around too fast in the EV community and potential buyers will be looking for swift analysis and recall by Fisker to fix this situation. Since the car relies on the engine for more than just generation, it is definitely working harder than other EREV engines out there like the Volt. The DoE put a stop to the Fisker loan guarantee just in time.

  2. I think the fire in Texas and this new one in California are related to the same engine packaging issue. The tight space in the engine compartment isn't allowing enough room to properly cool the exaust system. Obviously both cars were running their gas motors before they parked. The one problem I have is some people see this as an electric car problem when it is clearly an ICE problem. You'll never hear about exaust system issues in a Leaf or Model S. Fisker needs to get to the bottom of this fast, they can't afford to let this happen again they've been very lucky that no injuries have resulted from the fires. They also need to get on it because the public is starting to see this a nails in Fisker Automotive's coffin.

  3. Typo, see this as nails. Sorry

  4. Curious to hear how you know "Obviously both cars were running their gas motors before they parked." Well, obviously AT SOME POINT before, the gas motor had been run, but I assume you mean (relatively) IMMEDIATELY before the cars were parked. Were you there? How do you know?

  5. After following the news of the Texas fire and the pictures of this latest fire it does appear that the fires originated in the engine compartment. If the ICE hadn't been run prior to being parked the engine compartment would have been fairly cool and a fire would be less likely to happen. Yes perhaps saying "obviously" was a bit strong, "It's likely that" would have been better.

  6. From the photos, that engine bay is so crammed. Imagine trying to service the gas motor. It would be a nightmare.

  7. I hate to seem alarmist, but if I owned one of these things, I don't think I would park it in my garage. It is really unfortunate and probably something very small.

  8. If I had one of these cars, I would remove that gas motor and replace it with batteries.

  9. That is with more batteries in addition to the batteries already in the car.

  10. If I own one of theso Karm, I would have traded it in for a Tesla S...

  11. Moral of the story; if you care about your car, CALL 911!!

  12. I agree with CDspeed on the ICE related fires. Couple months ago, GM recalled the Cruze for potential fires started with the oil leaked onto exhaust during an oil change. I believe, the engine on the Karma is sourced from GM (similar design) and repackaged into an even tighter space... I am not sure if there are any correlations...
    But with each fire in Fisker, the reputation will be damaged.
    Personally, I think you are better of spending the money buying a Tesla S sedan and a Volt for about the same price of a Karma

  13. Though they may be great at sculpting an eye catching exterior, they are freshmen at true functional car engineering and testing. Also, imagine the range you could get if you spent those dollars on a larger battery pack instead of an ICE and all its baggage.

  14. That would be called Tesla S. :)

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