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by Jay Traugott
This just adds another dent to Fisker's current reputation.
After all of the concern(s) rising regarding whether the Chevrolet Volt was a potential fire hazard last year, something like this just had to come along. Automakers that have a big financial interest in the future development of plug-in and/or EVs (meaning nearly all of them) will certainly be watching this case with great attention. It started again a couple of weeks ago when a $100k+ Fisker Karma supposedly caught fire and nearly burned down the Sugar Land, Texas house of its owner.
After fire officials determined that the extended range plug-in hybrid was the cause of the fire and not some other flammable liquid or object in the garage, the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has decided to open an investigation into the exact cause. This couldn't come at a worse time for Fisker. Consumer Reports recently went to do a full review of the Karma but were forced to abort it because the car broke down during testing. Fisker is also dealing with battery recalls and, more recently, the suspension in production of their latest model, the Atlantic.
This was due because the U.S. government froze loans to the automaker because they failed to meet production goals. Fisker points out that the battery was intact and not being charged when the fire took place, therefore the car is not at fault. They also note that this particular Karma was sold after the battery recall, which involved the potential for a coolant leak and electrical malfunction due to misaligned hose clamps. Regardless of Fisker's claims, the NHTSA obviously feel the incident is serious enough to investigate this further.