Fisker Karma blamed for Texas blaze

May 8, 2012
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Fisker Karma blamed for Texas blaze

Green car company Fisker's tough year is about to get worse, with news that one of the luxury Karma EVs is being blamed for a house fire that consumed a garage and two other vehicles. The $100,000 car was less than two months old, the chief fire investigator in Fort Bend County, Texas, told Autoweek, and is being treated by officials as the cause of the blaze; however, Fisker insists that no final report has been made, and that the Karma may not be to blame.

"Yes, the Karma was the origin of the fire, but what exactly caused that we don't know at this time," Baker said. "The car was brand-new. He still had paper tags on it, so it was 60 days old at [most]."

According to the owner, the Karma had just been parked in the garage when, only minutes later, he smelled burning rubber and then discovered the fire. The flames spread to the second floor of the house, as well as consuming a Mercedes SUV and an Acura NSX that were parked nearby; no injuries were sustained.

Responsibility for the accident is not being left to chance. "There have to be about 15 engineers down here working on this one" the fire investigator confirmed, and Fisker - as the company's official statement, below, confirms - is exploring all possibilities of electrical faults in the garage, nearby fireworks, or even fraud.

The battery of the Karma was not being charged at the time of the fire, and is believed to be still intact. That would seemingly rule out a connection with the battery replacement scheme that the company was forced to operate earlier this year, after problems with the power supply caused cars to break down.

Fisker has struggled to meet its government-set targets, and has seen its official funding cut off forcing a delay of the so-called Project Nina new model. However, the company revealed a more affordable version of the Karma, the Atlantic, last month; the new car will go on sale "in the near future."

Fisker statement:

"Last week, Fisker Automotive was made aware of a garage fire involving three vehicles, including a Karma sedan, that were parked at a newly-constructed residence in Sugar Land, Texas. There were no injuries.

There are conflicting reports and uncertainty surrounding this particular incident. The cause of the fire is not yet known and is being investigated.

We have not yet seen any written report form the Fort Bend fire department and believe that their investigation is continuing. As of now, multiple insurance investigators are involved, and we have not ruled out possible fraud or malicious intent. We are aware that fireworks were found in the garage in or around the vehicles. Also, an electrical panel located in the garage next to the vehicles is also being examined by the investigators as well as fire department officials. Based on initial observations and inspections, the Karma's lithium ion battery pack was not being charged at the time and is still intact and does not appear to have been a contributing factor in this incident.

Fisker will continue to participate fully in the investigation but will not be commenting further until all the facts are established."


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