The owner of a $102,000 Fisker Karma luxury electric sedan burned in a Texas garage fire last week revealed today he believes his new Karma was clearly the source of the blaze -- and that it wasn't until word of the fire became public that Fisker raised the possibility of fraud. Now he wants Fisker to own up to the cause.
In a statement from his attorneys, Jeremy Guitterez says his two-week old Karma caught fire soon after he parked it in his home near Sugar Land, Texas, and that he was able to evacuate his wife, mother and child from their house before the Karma fire could spread to other rooms, including a bedroom. After a local fire official said the blaze started near the Karma -- which uses a gas engine to recharge its lithium-ion battery pack on the road -- and not the two other vehicles in the garage, Fisker said on Tuesday that its probe was still underway, noting that the car wasn't plugged in at the time and that the company "hadn't ruled out fraud or malicious intent."
That line struck Guitterez as odd, according to his attorneys, who said Fisker has been swarming the garage since the fire:
Mr. Guitterez fully accommodated the precise and somewhat peculiar demands of Fisker Automotive, who sent their self-proclaimed SWAT Team of engineers and inspectors (that included their own forensic cause and origin investigator) to the Guitterez home within 24 hours of the fire. They descended upon the Guitterez home in alarming numbers and immediately demanded a 24-hour lockdown of his home, including the remains of the Fisker Karma vehicle. They also cordoned off portions of the Guitterez home with non-transparent tarps to block the view from the public. Fisker even had access to eyewitnesses, who were interviewed by Fisker investigators and those investigators were shown video footage of the Fisker vehicle on fire before any other part of the garage.
Guitterez now wants Fisker to end its probe "immediately."
So far, the Texas fire is the only one of its kind to implicate a Fisker Karma, and federal officials have received no other complaints. But the Karma -- engineered from part of a $529 million federal loan to Fisker -- has suffered a series of glitches and recalls since Fisker began production last year, two years later than originally planned. The answer to this mystery can't come soon enough for Fisker.
Check out our review of the 2012 Fisker Karma: