Sandy could have set Karma and Prius hybrids on fire - report

Fisker Karmas burned at New Jersey port 31.10.2012
Fisker Karmas burned at New Jersey port 31.10.2012

16 Karma and 3 Prius hybrids burned.

Hurricane Sandy might be the cause for those 16 Karma and 3 Prius hybrids burned at New Jersey port.

Toyota spokesman Cindy Knight said the cause of the fire was because “saltwater got into the electrical system”. Taking into account that saltwater is highly conductive, when it gets in contact with an EV’s battery it could result in a short circuit and a fire. She added that a plug-in hybrid Prius completely burned, while another plug-in and a regular Prius got really hot and smoldered.

In an official statement, Fisker said a low voltage Vehicle Control Unit in one of the cars is to blame for the fire as it was under salt water for a few hours and then short-circuited. Fisker also mentioned that the lithium-ion batteries inside the Karmas were “ruled out as a cause or contributing factor”.

Daniel Abraham who is a chemical scientist working at Argonne National Laboratory explains that salts in water break into positive and negative ions that act as conductors which might have connected the positive and negative terminals of the batteries, leading to a short circuit and then a fire.

In the press release section you can read Fisker's statement.

Source: Fisker and nytimes.com via autoblog.com

Port Newark Incident – Fisker Automotive Follow-Up Statement

On October 30, following Superstorm Sandy, several electric hybrid and non-hybrid cars from a variety of manufacturers caught fire and were damaged in separate incidents after flood waters receded at Port Newark (NJ), including 16 award-wining Fisker Karmas. Port Newark is one of the largest vehicle handling facilities in the U.S., and many thousands of vehicles of many makes and models were severely damaged as a result of the unprecedented flooding.

After a thorough inspection witnessed by NHTSA representatives, Fisker engineers determined that the damage to the Karmas was the result of the cars being submerged under five to eight feet of seawater for several hours that left corrosive salt in a low?voltage Vehicle Control Unit in one Karma. The Vehicle Control Unit is a standard component found in many types of vehicles and is powered by a typical 12V car battery. This residual salt damage caused a short circuit, which led to a fire that heavy winds then spread to other Karmas parked nearby. There were no explosions as had been inaccurately reported. The Karma’s lithium-ion batteries were ruled out as a cause or contributing factor.

The Fisker Karma meets or exceeds all safety requirements for markets in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Fisker Automotive is the leading manufacturer of luxury Electric Vehicles with extended range and will continue to develop and market vehicles that deliver an unmatched combination of style, performance and economy.

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Comments (3)

Thats a fair reason, no more jokes
Nov 6th, 2012 10:07pm
0 0
eddie eddie
Cars are not submarines!
Nov 6th, 2012 8:57pm
0 0