Fisker Karma sedans burned at port

Remember the 16 Fisker Karma plug-in hybrids that were burnt in the wake of Superstorm Sandy? They're not the only bad news for the luxury green automaker: more than 300 Karmas, worth over $30 million, were sitting at Port Newark when it flooded and got destroyed. In all, over 10,000 vehicles were damaged at the port when the waters rose. In other words: fire bad, water really bad.

Reuters is reporting that the Karma shipment was insured and Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher said the company expects "no impact from a business or a financial point of view." He also said that Fisker will be able to meet US demand despite losing the 300 vehicles.

As for the fire – which started in one car and then spread to nearby vehicles – Fisker has issued a statement saying that it was a problem with a low‑voltage Vehicle Control Unit, "a standard component found in many types of vehicles and is powered by a typical 12V car battery," in a Karma. Because the cars were "submerged under five to eight feet of seawater for several hours," salt in the water corroded the VCU, Fisker said. The Karma's advanced lithium-ion batteries did not play a role in causing the fire.
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Port Newark Incident – Fisker Automotive Follow-Up Statement

On October 30, following Superstorm Sandy, several electric hybrid and non-hybrid cars from a variety of manufacturers caught fire and were damaged in separate incidents after flood waters receded at Port Newark (NJ), including 16 award-wining Fisker Karmas. Port Newark is one of the largest vehicle handling facilities in the U.S., and many thousands of vehicles of many makes and models were severely damaged as a result of the unprecedented flooding.

After a thorough inspection witnessed by NHTSA representatives, Fisker engineers determined that the damage to the Karmas was the result of the cars being submerged under five to eight feet of seawater for several hours that left corrosive salt in a low‑voltage Vehicle Control Unit in one Karma. The Vehicle Control Unit is a standard component found in many types of vehicles and is powered by a typical 12V car battery. This residual salt damage caused a short circuit, which led to a fire that heavy winds then spread to other Karmas parked nearby. There were no explosions as had been inaccurately reported. The Karma's lithium-ion batteries were ruled out as a cause or contributing factor.

The Fisker Karma meets or exceeds all safety requirements for markets in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Fisker Automotive is the leading manufacturer of luxury Electric Vehicles with extended range and will continue to develop and market vehicles that deliver an unmatched combination of style, performance and economy.