Fisker Reveals Cause of Karma Fires During Hurricane Sandy


  • 2012 Fisker Karma Action Front 3/4

    2012 Fisker Karma Action Front 3/4

    Fisker Automotive has disclosed the cause of fire in 16 2012 Fisker Karmas during Hurricane Sandy. | November 06, 2012

Just the Facts:
  • Fisker Automotive said on Monday that fires in 16 2012 Fisker Karmas during Hurricane Sandy were caused by a short circuit in one car that resulted in a fire that was spread to other cars by high winds.
  • Salt damage caused the short circuit, the automaker said in a statement.
  • Fisker noted that "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" in New Jersey.

ANAHEIM, California — Fisker Automotive said on Monday that fires in 16 2012 Fisker Karmas during Hurricane Sandy were caused by a short circuit in one car that resulted in a fire that was spread to other cars by high winds.

Salt damage caused the short circuit, the automaker said in a statement.

"There were no explosions as had been inaccurately reported," said Fisker. "The Karma's lithium-ion batteries were ruled out as a cause or contributing factor."

Fisker noted that "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" in New Jersey. The port is one of the largest vehicle handling facilities in the U.S.

"After a thorough inspection witnessed by (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) representatives, Fisker engineers determined that the damage to the Karmas was the result of the cars being submerged under 5-8 feet of seawater for several hours that left corrosive salt in a low-voltage Vehicle Control Unit in one Karma," the company said.

"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."

Edmunds says: Fisker Automotive nails down the root cause of fires in several Karmas during Hurricane Sandy, which should be reassuring to consumers.

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