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Robert.Boston

Model S VIN P01536
Oct 7, 2011
7,844
37
Portland, Maine, USA
Official claims Fisker Karma to blame in Texas house fire
Bad Karma?

Last week, a fire badly damaged the home of a new Fisker Karma owner, and authorities are saying that the electric car was the source of the blaze. According to Fort Bend County, Texas, chief fire investigator Robert Baker, the Fisker Karma...
View story
 

Yggdrasill

Active Member
Feb 29, 2012
4,107
7,107
Kongsberg, Norway
Seems unlikely sitting in the garage since the gas is just sitting in the tank, but the battery was likely charging. I'm sure the gas helped feed the fire though.
Each year over 300 000 ICE cars burn in the US, and 39.3% of these fires are ignited by mechanical failure or malfunction, such as leaks, backfires, etc. That's over 100k fires each year caused by mechanical failure/malfunction.

The electrical side may be to blame (if in fact the fire started in the Karma), but it's by no means certain.
 

doug

Administrator / Head Moderator
Nov 28, 2006
16,928
1,041
SF Bay Area
Seems unlikely sitting in the garage since the gas is just sitting in the tank, but the battery was likely charging. I'm sure the gas helped feed the fire though.
RTA
According to Baker, the driver arrived home in the Fisker, pulled into the garage, and less than three minutes later the car was in flames. It reportedly was not plugged in at the time of the fire and the Karma's battery remains intact.

Right before the fire, the owner reported a smell of burning rubber.

Still, though... ouch! Bad Karma.

Fisker-Karma-fire.jpg
 

Adm

Active Member
Jun 7, 2010
1,661
851
The Netherlands
Owners are apparently advised not to plug in until this process is complete.

Uh, say what? That would be insane and practically saying the car is not safe while doing something that is natural to do with an EV. It's not like you're using a match to see how much fuel is in the tank.
 

AnOutsider

S532 # XS27
Apr 3, 2009
11,957
200
Uh, say what? That would be insane and practically saying the car is not safe while doing something that is natural to do with an EV. It's not like you're using a match to see how much fuel is in the tank.

From what I saw of the posts, it seems like there's some software issues that can cause faults to be thrown if you don't follow the above.
 

vfx

Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2006
14,790
40
CA CA
Charging could mean self charging.

The idea of asking an owner not to do something like plugging in at convenient time is poor design. EVs have enough barriers to cross. A hybrid should have even less.
 

ElSupreme

Model S 03182
Jan 13, 2012
4,303
92
Atlanta, GA
Talked about in Fisker Karma section:

Official claims Fisker Karma to blame in Texas house fire
Bad Karma?

Last week, a fire badly damaged the home of a new Fisker Karma owner, and authorities are saying that the electric car was the source of the blaze. According to Fort Bend County, Texas, chief fire investigator Robert Baker, the Fisker Karma...
View story
 

DuncanWatson

Member
Apr 3, 2012
284
0
Seattle, WA
I want to know more about this. And of course this happened in TX. It is going to be a lot of work to get to the bottom of this incident. And I am not pleased to see the Karma in yet another PR disaster.
 

spatterso911

P100DL - Raven
Mar 3, 2012
1,223
12
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
From what I saw of the posts, it seems like there's some software issues that can cause faults to be thrown if you don't follow the above.

Precisely. If you don't follow the process, the car can sometimes go haywire and throw all kinds of faults. Not saying that has anything to do with a fire, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.
 
S

smoothoperator

Guest
Precisely. If you don't follow the process, the car can sometimes go haywire and throw all kinds of faults. Not saying that has anything to do with a fire, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Since the car was brand new and there was the smell of burning plastic it is more likely that the dealer did not prep the car properly prior to delivering the vehicle (i.e not removing packaging/transport material). It is unlikely that burning plastic smell was caused by the computers going haywire.
 

spatterso911

P100DL - Raven
Mar 3, 2012
1,223
12
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Well, there are plenty of reports of the battery fans coming on randomly several hours after the car has been parked. Is anyone familiar with the mechanism of battery cooling on the Karma? Also, when the battery is driven to empty, the ICE has been known to over rev and cause damage to internal coupling components between the ICE and generator.
 
S

smoothoperator

Guest
Well, there are plenty of reports of the battery fans coming on randomly several hours after the car has been parked. Is anyone familiar with the mechanism of battery cooling on the Karma? Also, when the battery is driven to empty, the ICE has been known to over rev and cause damage to internal coupling components between the ICE and generator.

Battery fans come on randomly on several other EV's including the Roadster when parked. This is nothing new to EV's. How many reports are there of couplers getting destroyed (this failure cannot cause a fire either)? More than 1,2,3? Seems like you are blowing this out of proportion.
 

spatterso911

P100DL - Raven
Mar 3, 2012
1,223
12
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Battery fans come on randomly on several other EV's including the Roadster when parked. This is nothing new to EV's. How many reports are there of couplers getting destroyed (this failure cannot cause a fire either)? More than 1,2,3? Seems like you are blowing this out of proportion.

I can understand that concept of fan behavior being consistent across brands, but my reaction merely echoes the concerns of legitimate Karma owners. The issues regarding the coupling is not the relevant piece of my comment, the ICE over-revving is, and as none of us know precisely how the fire started, I am making supposition on possible causes, ie the ICE is potentially related. The context of the coupling failures simply demonstrates how badly the motor over-revved relative to the generator's ability to handle it.

If I gave you the impression that I wish to blow anything out of proportion, I apologize.
 

Robert.Boston

Model S VIN P01536
Oct 7, 2011
7,844
37
Portland, Maine, USA
Regardless of exactly why this fire occurred, Tesla and every other EV manufacturer should be worried. My CFO sent me the Autoweek article, and he's clearly thinking "those crazy EVs, see how dangerous they are?" For people who follow the EV industry casually, it will be easy to connect the dots of the Volt "fires", the charging incident in North Carolina (which wasn't really a charging incident, but who reads the Day 2 backpedalling?), and now the graphic image of a $100k car reduce to a smoldering wreck.

This isn't just a PR disaster for Fisker; unless properly managed by the industry, it has the potential of hardening anti-EVs among the Faux News crowd -- which may be calling the shots in many corridors of power by November.
 

Discoducky

P100DL, 2021 M3, 3 CT reservations and counting
Dec 25, 2011
3,548
4,511
My mountain
This incident just reinforces the fact that TM knows what they are doing since these kinds of things don't happen to their cars. And reinforces the fact that they are so far ahead of any other car manufacturer for implementation of Li-Ion based drivetrains. I would also think that BMW and Audi engineers that read the Karma story know only too well how far they have to go where Merc and Toyota have already sided with TM.

I just hope Coda doesn't have an incident. It would be great to see another CA company make a dent in the ICE market.

While I'm not going to say that the Karma is doomed, as there could be something that is outside the control of the Fiskar process that caused the fire, but regardless, it really appears to be another nail in the coffin as people are already nervous about the tech. I hope Fiskar can control this incident, but wow, what a bummer.
 

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