While the investigation of the Fisker Karma that toasted a Texas garage is not over, pundits have begun to weigh in. Automotive News has found a particularly credible one in Jon Bereisa, CEO of Auto Lectrification and the chief engineer of the General Motors EV1 and systems architect for the Chevrolet Volt. And according to Bereisa, the poor packaging of the Karma's internal combustion engine is what likely caused the fire.
"The engine is shoehorned into that bay, because they had to use a larger engine, because it was too heavy a car," Bereisa told AN. "As a result, there's no room for exhaust routing and heat shielding to route the heat away."
The Karma uses a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine sourced from GM. In the Karma, however, the Ecotec does not drive the wheels, but acts as a generator to supplement and recharge the batteries. The report says that a fluid leak, combined with tight engine compartment confines and the resultant high heat from the gasoline engine's exhaust and the would have been enough to cause the fire. Five months ago, the Karma was recalled due to potential coolant leakage from the battery.
Fisker is maintaining that it is not the car's battery pack that is at fault, and has pointed to other potential sources of the blaze, according to the report, telling AN that, "There are myriad combustible materials that could be in the garage, in the wheel arch, or picked up on the roadside."