Last week in Sugar Land, Texas, a garage fire at a newly built home destroyed three vehicles, including a new Fisker Karma electric vehicle. Now one fire official says the blaze started near the $102,000 Karma -- but the company says it's too soon to pin a cause on any source, and contends the Karma's battery pack wasn't at fault.
If this story sounds familiar, it's because electric cars that burn in garages always attract attention, even though most such cases -- such as those involving Chevy Volts -- were later shown to be caused by other factors. In this case first reported by Autoweek, there's plenty of other potential sources of the garage fire, including a large electrical panel, fireworks and two other vehicles, including an Acura NSX. Fisker says in a statement that the Karma wasn't plugged in at the time of the fire, and that its battery pack was intact. "As of now, multiple insurance investigators are involved, and we haven't ruled out fraud or malicious intent," the company said in a statement.
But the fire chief of Fort Bend County sounded a little more certain about his findings, telling Autoweek the Karma was the source of the blaze, and had caught fire a few minutes after the owner brought it home and parked it. While fires linked to EVs are rare, fires linked to gas-fueled vehicles happen thousands of times a year -- and the Fisker has a 2-liter turbo engine which recharges the batteries and provides additional range after its initial charge is gone.
Fisker recalled all its Karmas last month to fix a defect that could leave Karmas immobilized or prone to catching fire, but this Karma had supposedly been fixed. It's hard to think of a new model that's had worse misfortune this early in production.