EV Engineering News

Fisker Fire promises problematic publicity

The exact cause of the Texas fire has not been determined, but speculation centered on the tight component packaging in the engine compartment.


Here we go again. A second Fisker Karma went up in flames this week, outside a grocery store in Silicon Valley (the first incident took place in Texas in May). By the time emergency personnel put the fire out, much of the front of the car had been destroyed. A bystander helpfully caught the whole thing on video.

The exact cause of the Texas fire has not been determined, but speculation centered on the tight component packaging in the engine compartment, which a noted auto consultant said left little room for airflow and heat shielding around the exhaust system; and on an incident in which 239 Karmas were recalled to fix misaligned hose clamps in the battery cooling system. The recall notice issued by the NHTSA noted that a coolant leak could lead to a fire.

Fisker Automotive said in a preliminary statement:

Fisker Automotive can confirm that one of its Karma models was involved in a vehicle fire during a roadside incident in Woodside, California. No injuries were reported; the vehicle was parked; and the fire was extinguished safely by the emergency services. Fisker understands damage was limited to the driver’s side front corner of the car, away from the lithium ion battery and electric motors. The car was not being charged at the time.

We have more than 1,000 Karmas on the road with a cumulative 2 million miles on them. There are more than 185,000 highway vehicle fires in the US every year. In an electric vehicle, immediate suspicion is focused on the battery and high voltage components. The location of the damage to the vehicle in this incident appears to rule out that suspicion. Fisker has not had any battery or high voltage fire incidents with any of its vehicles.

On Monday, the company added:

Evidence revealed thus far supports the fact that the ignition source was not the Lithium-ion battery pack, new technology components or unique exhaust routing.

The area of origin for the fire was determined to be outside the engine compartment. There was no damage to the passenger compartment and there were no injuries.

Continued investigative efforts will be primarily focused within the specific area of origin, located forward of the driver’s side front tire.


Image: Fisker
Sources: Fisker, GreenCarCongress, GreenCarReports


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