Fisker Fire Cause: Not Exhaust, Battery, Or Electric Drive, Company Says

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Fisker Karma on fire in Woodside, California

Fisker Karma on fire in Woodside, California

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While Fisker's new CEO may be getting headlines today, the company continues to grapple with fallout from Friday's fire in a 2012 Fisker Karma.

Over the weekend, Fisker had issued a statement saying it was investigating the incident.

Yesterday, the company issued a further statement.

In the release, Fisker said that its investigations have determined the fire did not start in the car's lithium-ion battery pack or its electric-drive components, or due to the car's exhaust routing.

In fact, Fisker said, the fire's origin appears to its investigators to have been outside the engine compartment altogether, forward of the left front tire.

The statement from Fisker Automotive reads as follows:

ANAHEIM, CA -- August 13, 2012: Fisker engineers, working with independent investigators from Pacific Rim Investigative Group, have begun preliminary examination and testing on the Karma involved in a fire in Woodside, California Friday, August 10.

Evidence revealed thus far supports the fact that the ignition source was not the Lithium-ion battery pack, new technology components or unique exhaust routing.

The area of origin for the fire was determined to be outside the engine compartment.  There was no damage to the passenger compartment and there were no injuries.

Continued investigative efforts will be primarily focused within the specific area of origin, located forward of the driver’s side front tire.

Further details will be announced after a full report is completed.

2012 Fisker Karma during road test, Los Angeles, Feb 2012

2012 Fisker Karma during road test, Los Angeles, Feb 2012

Enlarge Photo

The Friday fire was the second time one of only 1,000 or so Fisker Karma range-extended electric luxury sedans has been damaged or destroyed by a blaze that appears to have started in the car itself.

No doubt there will be further releases from Fisker on the cause of the fire.

If you want to judge for yourself--and you know your way around photos of fire-damaged cars--GreenTech Media published several post-fire photos of the Fisker that burned.

It's worth noting that there are more than 250,000 fires each year the U.S. population of about 250 million vehicles.

Fisker's rate of two fires in 1,000 vehicles (0.2 percent) thus far is roughly double the national car-fire rate of 0.1 percent.

And those Fiskers have only been on the road for a year, versus the average age of the U.S. vehicle population, which is now more than 10 years.

With such a small population of cars, our comparison is almost surely statistically invalid.

Nonetheless, we doubt it's cause for much confidence among current Fisker Karma owners.

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