300 brand-new Karmas were destroyed in the storm, as were a total of around 16,000 vehicles from various makers, including a couple of Prii.
It seems there’s good news and bad news about the Fisker Karmas that were swamped by Sandy. The good news is, Fisker has determined that the vehicles’ Li-ion batteries were not at fault for the 16 Karmas that went up in flames. The bad news is, according to the Wall Street Journal, 300 brand-new Karmas were destroyed in the storm (as were a total of around 16,000 vehicles from various makers, including a couple of Prii). The loss of roughly $30 million will be covered by insurance, but losing that many cars on their way to inventory will surely be a huge disruption for the company.
On Monday, Fisker said in a statement:
On October 30, following Superstorm Sandy, 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 (NJ), including 16…Fisker Karmas. Port Newark is one of the largest vehicle handling facilities in the U.S., and many thousands of vehicles of many makes and models were severely damaged as a result of the unprecedented flooding.After a thorough inspection witnessed by NHTSA representatives, Fisker engineers determined that the damage to the Karmas was the result of the cars being submerged under five to eight feet of seawater for several hours that left corrosive salt in a low-voltage Vehicle Control Unit in one Karma. The Vehicle Control Unit is a standard component found in many types of vehicles and is powered by a typical 12 V 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. There were no explosions as had been inaccurately reported. The Karma’s lithium-ion batteries were ruled out as a cause or contributing factor.
Of course, this probably won’t silence the anti-EV crowd, who are doubtless now crowing that your plug-in car is going to burst into flames every single time it gets wet.
Source: Fisker, Wall Street