Fisker Automotive received worrying news last week when a Karma sedan burned in a house fire in Texas. The cause is still being investigated, according to the company.
The fire started shortly after a new Karma owner parked the car in a garage, according to a report in Autoweek. A fire investigator told Autoweek that the Karma, which was not plugged in, was the origin of the fire, but the cause was not known.
Fisker released a statement saying that the electric car's battery pack was intact and "does not appear to be a contributing factor in this incident." The Fisker Karma is a luxury sports car that runs on electric motors and has a gasoline engine to extend the driving range. In general, it's been favorably reviewed.
News of the fire is another bit of bad news surrounding the Karma, which was significantly delayed in coming to market and then would not start during a Consumer Reports test. Battery supplier A123 Systems said a battery defect, now being addressed, was the source of the Consumer Reports test problem.
The car itself was destroyed in the fire but there were no injuries.
Here is Fisker Automotive's complete 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.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened up an investigation last year into the safety of the battery that powers the Chevrolet Volt, but the NHTSA concluded that the Volt and other electric vehicles do not pose a higher safety risk than gasoline vehicles.
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.