Battery not at fault in Hurricane Sandy Fisker fire
A fire that destroyed 16 Fisker Karmas in the wake of Hurricane Sandy was caused by residual salt damage inside a Vehicle Control Unit submerged in seawater for several hours, according to Fisker Automotive.
It's becoming an awkward, unfortunate routine.Skip to next paragraph
Fiat to expand electric car sales into Oregon
Honda takes low-key approach to anti-texting ad
Mercedes turns to navigation data to improve hybrid energy management system
Ford launches Lincoln brand in China
Toyota Camry for 2015 unveiled at New York Auto Show (+video)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Somewhere, somehow, a Fisker Karma catches fire, and the company rushes in its inspectors and engineers to analyze the incident.
A few days later, Fisker Automotive issues a statement explaining that the battery of the range-extended electric car isn't at fault, and that some other cause led to the fire.
In the latest case, Fisker analyzed the October 30 fire that destroyed 16 Karmas when Hurricane Sandy flood waters receded from New Jersey's Port Newark shipping docks.
In a statement last night, the company said it has concluded--after "a thorough investigation witnessed by NHTSA representatives"--that the cause was residual salt damage inside a Vehicle Control Unit submerged in seawater for several hours.
Corrosion from the salt caused a short circuit in the unit, which led to a fire when the Karma's 12-Volt battery fed power into the circuit.
Heavy winds then spread that fire to other Karmas parked nearby. But, the factory said, there were no explosions, as had been incorrectly reported.
The company ruled out the cars' 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery packs as a cause of, or even a contributing factor to, the blaze.
Fisker called the control unit "a standard component found in many types of vehicles," and noted that several other "non-hybrid cars from a variety of manufacturers" caught fire in separate incidents after the flood waters receded.
Thousands of vehicles from many different makers were destroyed by the flooding at the huge vehicle-handling facility, which left cars submerged in 5 to 8 feet of salty water for several hours.
In August, the factory concluded that a fire which badly damaged a 2012 Fisker Karma parked outside a store in Woodside, California, was caused by a short circuit in a cooling fan located in the engine compartment.
Fisker immediately initiated a recall to replace the fan.
Startup Fisker has not said lately how many cars it has produced, but the 18 cars damaged or destroyed in the three fires are likely to come from a total population of about 3,000 Karmas built to date.
The company's statement on the Port Newark fires ends, as its previous statements have done, by reiterating that the Fisker Karma "meets or exceeds all safety requirements for markets in North America, Europe, and the Middle East."
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.