I've reached the tipping point and I'm about ready to jump ship from this blog. I was getting a bit teed off with the slow progress of electric car technology and sort of lost my enthusiasm for it over recent months. This story from the days of Hurricane Sandy had a lot to do with it.
Apparently a large number of brand new Fiskar Karmas were sitting in a car park in Port Newark, New Jersey when the flood waters rushed in and inundated them. So what do you think happened? A witness said they were "first submerged in a storm surge and then caught fire, exploded."
It took a while for the full story to come out, so here's the Fisker follow up.
Port Newark Incident – Fisker Automotive Follow-Up Statement
November 5, 2012
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 award-wining 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 lowvoltage 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 12V 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.
But I'm sure this story put the spooks up a lot of people who are fearful about batteries going on fire. It certainly did that to me.
Just today I read that you'll be more likely to see a Fisker Karma masquerading as the Destino (price tag $180,000) with a 638-hp supercharged V8 engine than in its EV form. Auto industry legend Bob Lutz says, "I just heard so many people say, I love the Fisker Karma but I'm not going to buy it because I don't want that electric drivetrain with the four-cylinder engine." So to appeal to this audience he's removing the battery pack - very carefully - and running the driveshaft down the battery tunnel.
Before Fisker's woes appeared on my radar I was reading about the Nissan Leaf's battery range controversy which continues to rage and the impact on its sales. Right now EVs are falling so short of their own promises that even I wouldn't have an electric car. The whole package isn't coming together fast enough - cars, batteries, infrastructure. But I recently saw something that fired my imagination and prompted me to kick start this blog back into life >>> more So you may see a change in emphasis going forward.