Print 40 comment(s) - last by Dorkyman.. on Aug 19 at 2:38 PM

Fisker is currently investigating the root cause

Yet another Fisker Karma has gone up in smoke, making this the second incident in just a four-month period. 
A Fisker Karma driver from Woodside, California parked his hybrid at the grocery store last week, and after grabbing the items he needed, returned to the parking lot to find that his vehicle was on fire. 
He called the manufacturer immediately, who then told him to call 911. The Woodside Fire Department arrived to put out the fire, saying there was considerable damage to the front left area of the car. 
Fisker Automotive's Karma is a plug-in hybrid luxury sports sedan that goes for about $102,000 and up. 
This fire is the second occurrence this year. Back in May 2012, a Karma plug-in was held responsible for a house fire in Houston, Texas. Before that, Fisker and A123 Systems, which is the battery maker for Fisker's Karma, recalled over 200 batteries for the Karma. No fires had occurred at that point yet, but A123 Systems said that a poorly positioned hose clamp could potentially be the cause of such issues. 
But the battery may not be the cause of the fire in this particular case (or in the Houston incident). According to Jon Bereisa, CEO of Auto Lectrification, who previously a chief engineer of General Motors' EV1 and a systems architect for the Chevrolet Volt, the problem with the Karma is likely the "poor packaging of the engine compartment."
How did he come to this conclusion? The battery in the garage fire in Houston was intact and unplugged. Rather, Bereisa believes that a cramped engine compartment and the exhaust routing caused the car to overheat. 
"That engine is shoehorned into that bay, because they had to use a larger engine, because it was too heavy a car," said Bereisa. "As a result, there's no room for exhaust routing and heat shielding to route the heat away."
The exhaust in the Karma doesn't make its way out the rear like traditional cars. Instead, it is released in front of the doors. Mix that kind of heat with a coolant, fuel or oil leak, and you have a fire on your hands. 
According to Fisker, the company is currently investigating the cause of the Woodside fire.
"We have confidence in the Fisker Karma," said Fisker. "Safety is our primary concern and our Fisker staff have been in contact with the customer and are investigating the cause. We are also employing an independent fire investigation representative to assist in the root cause analysis. A further statement will be issued once the root cause has been determined."
This looks like another possible recall ahead for Fisker, but for now, here's a video of the Woodside customer's Karma burning in the grocery store parking lot:

Updated @ 5:31pm EST
Fisker Automotive has responded to this story and indicated that Jon Bereisa's comments regarding the Fisker's engine compartment are "untrue". The company provides this statement as evidence.

Sources: Jalopnik, Automotive News, The Truth About Cars

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By Brandon Hill on 8/13/2012 1:11:30 PM , Rating: 5
returned to the parking lot to find that his vehicle was on fire.

He called the manufacturer immediately, who then told him to call 911.

Yes, because the first thing I'd do if my car was on fire would be to call the manufacturer! How about, YOUR ****ING CAR IS ON FIRE YOU IDIOT!!!!!!

By ClownPuncher on 8/13/2012 1:12:51 PM , Rating: 4
I'd Tweet it, FaceBook it, put it on Reddit, then maybe call 911.

By senecarr on 8/13/2012 1:25:18 PM , Rating: 2
Next we'll find out he rummaged around in the glove box of the burning car so he could get the phone number for Fisker.

By Reclaimer77 on 8/13/2012 1:26:06 PM , Rating: 4
lol you stole my thunder, I was thinking of pointing that out. That's like calling the builder when you first see your house is on fire lol.

But then again, if you buy a Fisker you can't be THAT smart anyway...

By MrBlastman on 8/13/2012 1:52:52 PM , Rating: 5
But then again, if you buy a Fisker you can't be THAT smart anyway..

But it's shiny and sleek! (queue Jaguar, Mercedes, BMW, i-Products etc. etc. etc.)

Ooooh, shiny... *walks away distracted*

By JediJeb on 8/13/2012 4:33:37 PM , Rating: 3
I understand Justin Bieber has one.

I guess that just proves you are right.

By CarbonJoe on 8/13/2012 5:22:01 PM , Rating: 3
I understand Justin Bieber has one.

And yet his hasn't burned yet. Too bad.

By Samus on 8/14/2012 2:23:27 AM , Rating: 2
Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, the list of idiot owners goes on.

By 3minence on 8/13/2012 1:54:20 PM , Rating: 2
According to a car mechanic I was talking to, once your car catches fire you might as well take your time calling the fire department as the car is totaled anyway. Its kinda like a car that's been flooded, it will never be the same after that. Probably best to let it completely burn otherwise the insurance company might try to repair it anyway.

I just feel sorry for the person who owns the car next to his.

By kattanna on 8/13/2012 4:28:05 PM , Rating: 2
I just feel sorry for the person who owns the car next to his

yep. while no major damage looks like it happened, the paint got screwed on the passenger side for sure.

By Lord 666 on 8/13/2012 5:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
Thankfully no pets or kids were in the car.

By JediJeb on 8/13/2012 5:15:51 PM , Rating: 2
My first truck caught fire and by the time the fire department got there all the wiring had been burnt out of it under the hood and under the dash. Other than the hood and carb the rest was just fine. Took me a few months and some spare wire and extension cords and I got it running again. Not much actually to rewire on a 71 F100. Only thing I never worked out was not having the front parking lights come on when I hit the brakes lol.

By Ammohunt on 8/13/2012 2:22:42 PM , Rating: 2
He called the car manufacturer to make sure this wasn't a feature he paid for..

By Natch on 8/14/2012 9:40:12 AM , Rating: 2
"Um, 'scuze me....did I pay for this option, or is it considered a standard feature??"

By CarbonJoe on 8/13/2012 5:23:45 PM , Rating: 4
According to the radio commercials, he should have called Jimmy Johns. Their delivery guys get there before the Fire Department does. And they bring sandwiches.

By espaghetti on 8/13/2012 8:54:35 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, It's not like there's an on/off switch for FIRE!

By mmatis on 8/14/2012 10:21:11 AM , Rating: 2
Well, actually there IS such a switch. Every fighter aircraft has at least one on the stick...

By Arsynic on 8/14/2012 10:03:38 AM , Rating: 2
Says a lot of Karma owners. More money than brains it seems.

Not sure there is anything really special going on
By BZDTemp on 8/13/2012 2:47:20 PM , Rating: 2
It's not like a car catching fire is unheard of be it a sparkling new super car, a family saloon or and old classic.

By lennylim on 8/13/2012 6:44:31 PM , Rating: 3
They don't usually spontaneously combust while sitting in the parking lot though. I know only of incidents where some people accidentally started grass fires by parking on tall dried grass. Any car that burns while parked on asphalt is going to attract attention in the media, especially if it is a $100k car.

By sigmatau on 8/13/2012 7:57:45 PM , Rating: 2
Actualy look up Ford, their cars/trucks burned in people's garages. Some oil somehow would drip on a hot part (cruise control module I do believe) and catch on fire. Some of them also took houses with them.

That being said, when a car spontaneously combusts, it is a huge issue for any car manufacturer. This does not bode well for Fisker... not as though things were going peachy before this.

The damage to a car manufacturer's reputation is epic no matter if you are low volume like Fisker or high volume like Ford.

By sigmatau on 8/14/2012 8:03:11 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, downrate the only one with FACTS? Really?

By Reclaimer77 on 8/13/2012 7:25:15 PM , Rating: 2
LOL okay right. Let's have a show of hands here to see how many people parked their car and had it spontaneously combust for no good reason.


Mental note....
By HueyD on 8/13/2012 2:21:04 PM , Rating: 4
Never park beside a Fisker Karma.

RE: Mental note....
By inperfectdarkness on 8/13/2012 5:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
I remember back in 2006 or so...when I had a buddy going to school at MIT who was poking fun at me because I wanted to buy a car with twin-turbos...and he wanted to buy a Tesla or some crap.

I think I'll stick to a vehicle where my biggest concern is an intercooler coupler blowing off and making a sound like a gunshot.

RE: Mental note....
By sigmatau on 8/13/2012 8:00:17 PM , Rating: 3
In Soviet Russia, Karma parks next to you.

But seriously, if I saw one park next to my car I would move my car immediately.

By Greene1980 on 8/13/2012 2:02:35 PM , Rating: 2
Wonder if he had to 411 to get the number for Fisker.

RE: .
By semo on 8/13/2012 4:10:53 PM , Rating: 3
Wonder if his ice cream melted after he loaded his shopping in the boot.

Water and electricity...
By dijuremo on 8/13/2012 6:22:17 PM , Rating: 2
So I wonder if firefighters are actually trained to discern whether or not they are dealing with an electric car.

I guess that the manufacturer will seal the batteries and other electric components to prevent shorting them with water, but if the thing has burned and now compromised, you put it off with lots of water, isn't there a chance the thing can re-ignite later due to a water induced short circuit?

RE: Water and electricity...
By johnsmith9875 on 8/14/2012 4:00:27 PM , Rating: 2
Firefighters had a much better time putting out horse & buggy fires and had to adjust to gasoline powered cars. I'm sure their training programs will be able to deal with electric cars.

The car's too HOT...
By MrBlastman on 8/13/2012 1:02:15 PM , Rating: 2
To touch!

(licks finger and touches car) *psssssssssh*

Oh well...
By Pneumothorax on 8/13/2012 3:53:30 PM , Rating: 2
Was hoping it was Justin Bieber's car!

It should be pretty obvious...
By Beenthere on 8/13/2012 4:47:47 PM , Rating: 2
...that those buying $100K EVs are doing so because they aren't the sharpest tool in the shed. Calling Fisker first just drives the point home.

By clhathat on 8/13/2012 10:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
you're driving it wrong

I'll Bet...
By mmatis on 8/14/2012 10:18:26 AM , Rating: 2
that Miss Piggy did it. That'll teach the friggin' frog not to mess around on her!

All them Muppets are nothing but trailer trash anyway...

By Belard on 8/15/2012 6:33:40 AM , Rating: 2
Simple proof that money cannot buy you brains.

Good thing I didn't answer, I'd say "get in the car, drive to 65mph, that should put out the fire".

Guess this explains why Doctor and apartment management greeting messages say "If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911)

Gotta Lite?
By btc909 on 8/13/12, Rating: -1
By iamkyle on 8/13/12, Rating: -1
By SirKronan on 8/14/2012 2:49:08 AM , Rating: 2
DANGIT. I meant to rate your comment DOWN not up. Why are you cussing at the author over something silly like this? I didn't even notice it until you mentioned it ... heck, I STILL don't notice it, nor does it detract from the article.

You sillygoose!

By Dorkyman on 8/19/2012 2:38:02 PM , Rating: 1
Kyle, you talk that way around your mother?

Show a little class, please.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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