By all accounts, the Fisker Karma is one hot car. For a couple of owners though, perhaps it's a bit too hot.
Similar to a situation in May, when one of the luxury extended-range electric-drive vehicles apparently spontaneously combusted in a garage in Texas, a Karma has burst into flames in a Woodside, CA parking lot. Rudy Burger was returning to his shapely plug-in hybrid after a bit of grocery shopping when he caught the car in the act of self-immolation. According to Jalopnik, he immediately called up the automaker which, in turn, advised him to call 911.
Firefighters appeared to have arrived quite quickly and the flames were subdued before much more than just the front driver's side was consumed. Considering that the A123 Systems' battery runs down the center of the car under the passenger compartment, it is possible that the pack was not responsible for the blaze. Wired got a statement from Fisker, which furthers this line of thought. It reads, in part:
Fisker says it has hired "an independent fire expert to assist the investigation" and says that once the probe is completed and the cause pinpointed, it will issue a statement on the matter. You can read the current statement – and find a video of the Karma conflagration – below.
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.
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.
Woodside CA Incident
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.
ABOUT FISKER AUTOMOTIVE, INC.
Fisker Automotive is a new automaker with a mission to build an innovative, eco-driven company that redefines and reshapes how the world thinks about cars. The company is leading the auto industry with its unique Electric Vehicle with extended range (EVer™) powertrain technology, which combines the power and efficiency of electric drive with the range and freedom of a gasoline engine. Fisker was established in Southern California in 2007 by top auto designer Henrik Fisker and business partner Bernhard Koehler. In 2008 Fisker unveiled the Karma, the world's first luxury Electric Vehicle with extended range. On sale since December 2011 the Karma was delivered to the market in record time. The Karma is the first and only American car to have won the coveted BBC Top Gear Luxury Car of the Year award, Automobile magazine named it 2012 Design of the Year, and TIME magazine listed the Karma one of the 50 Best Inventions of 2011. Fisker is headquartered in Anaheim, California and markets its products through a growing network of independent retailers around the world.
Fisker Automotive can be found online at www.fiskerautomotive.com