Fisker Karma Catches Fire In California

A second parked Fisker Karma caught fire while its owner was out and about and Fisker immediately set in to clear its luxury plug-in hybrid against allegations that it may be fire prone.

Friday’s fire reportedly happened when an owner returned to the Karma in Woodside, Calif. with just-bought groceries to find his Karma in flames in a parking lot. According to Jalopnik, he called Fisker first, which in turn advised he call 9-1-1.

The blogosphere has been quick to ponder what could cause the fire – could it be the lithium-ion battery? Or was it due to an overstuffed engine compartment with proximal hot exhaust to act as an ignition source as former GM EV-1 engineer, Jon Bereisa had told Automotive News in May?

Bereisa’s opinion made the rounds in May following a Karma fire in Texas that month in which the owner reported the car caught fire in his suburban garage immediately after parking it. It burned two other cars parked inside, and portions of the house, and is still under investigation.

In reply to Bereisa, Fisker issued a press release vigorously refuting points raised saying the Karma had been designed in compliance and with fail safes to ensure against fire risk.

And in response to this latest fire on Friday, Fisker again said it did not believe its car would have been at fault, and after consulting with investigators it hired, its media team formulated a further response over the weekend.

Its first public statement on Friday was as follows:

We have confidence in the Fisker Karma. Safety is our primary concern and our Fisker staff have been in contact with the customer and are investigating the cause. We are also employing an independent fire investigation representative to assist in the root cause analysis. A further statement will be issued once the root cause has been determined.

Today, Fisker’s statement is again defensive of the engineering and ultimate safety of the Karma. It said Fisker engineers are working with independent investigators from Pacific Rim Investigative Group to examine the Karma. What they found so far does not support speculation put forth by car blogs:

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.

The investigation will now will focus on where the fire did supposedly start, specifically, the area “located forward of the driver’s side front tire.”

The Truth About Cars

  • Nelson Lu

    I still think conspicuous consumption is bad for your karma.

  • Wade Smalley

    It seems the source of the fire was not related to the battery, but what if the battery did catch as a secondary fire. Fisker is doing all that they can but this statement applies to all vehicles with a High Voltage Battery.

    Why not have a fire extinguisher mounted into the Battery? If the battery does catch fire, then the extinguisher would automatically surpess the fire. As a consumer, this would give me more confidence about driving a vehicle with a High Voltage Battery.

    Thank you.

  • Kent Taylor

    I’ve helped put out three gas car fires in the last year. Shall I repeat that? Three. Two of three were right next to a buildings enterance and the other in the parking lot. Use the right stats, before you whip on technology. Gas car fires happen daily. Shall I repeat that? Daily.

  • Matt Bennett

    ive been driving 27 years and have NEVER… shall i repeat that.. NEVER seen a gas car spontaneously combust. the spontaneous combustion rate for fisker karmas are much higher than they are for standard gas vehicles. shall i repeat that? much higher!!!