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As Another Fisker Karma Spontaneously Combusts, "Green" Dreams Go Up In Smoke

Tyler Durden's picture


Several months ago it seemed that not a day could pass without someone, somewhere making fun of GM's biggest post-bankruptcy flaming failure to date: the Chevy Volt (gross and net of channel stuffing). Of course, since it was all in the name of ecological progress and carbon footprint reduction, most media observers let it go as merely one of the peculiar hurdles on the way to an utopian future in which America would no longer rely on crude imports from evil petroleum cartels. The time has come to redirect ridicule to that other $102,00+ MSRP object of electric aspiration, and henceforth - mockery: the Fisker Karma supercar.

To be sure, the Karma is no stranger to spontaneous combustion, with at least one model so far going up in flames in May, "damaging its owner's home and earning the company behind that hybrid sedan plenty of bad press." Fisker promptly issued a statement in which it promptly denied everything and, as so often happens these days, attributed everything to a glitch. In the passive voice: after all why blame failure on a human, when blaming it on chance will do: "Our technologies and engine design have been fully tested and certified at the highest level. It is irresponsible and ill-informed for technology pundits to suggest otherwise in order to secure media attention for unfounded claims."

Alas for the vendor of allegedly flaming "supercars" the media attention has returned with a vengeance.

From Engadget:

Fisker Automotive can't seem to catch break -- because its Karma hybrid EV sedan has yet again become too hot. Similar to an incident last spring that left a model burnt to near smithereens and damaged its owner's house, the Karma above caught fire in a Woodside, CA parking lot while powered off. Jalopnik was to first to get word of the incident, noting that the damage remained reserved to the front left of the vehicle, near where an exhaust is located. As the story goes, the owner found the vehicle emitting smoke after returning from a grocery run, prompting a call to Fisker and then the local fire department, which arrived as it was already engulfed in flames.



In a statement to Wired's Autopia, Fisker has been vehement to note that the damage appears to be far from where the car's battery and sensitive electrical components are located, and that it wasn't plugged in for a charge -- furthermore, it's already had correspondence with the owner and is actively investing the matter with plans to issue an update when there are findings to share.

Alas, as anyone who has heard that whole "fool me twice" saying, Fisker's credibility after not one but two spontaneously combusting incidents may have also gone up in flames. That said, a full scale recall of the Karma is hardly in store: after all the "electric" movement can hardly stand the humiliation of not only the GM Volt which comes with packed with such extras as the occasional inferno at no added extra cost. Should supercars that charge far more than the Volt also be forced to shutter then the public attention may once again shift from Mitt Romney's private equity track record to Barack Obama's public equity record. Because at the end of the day, the flaming culprit may be none other than taxpayer funded A123 which makes the Fisker car battery.

It remains to be seen whether the Karma's battery system, supplied by A123 Systems (and the focus of previous recalls), had any role in igniting the car. Thankfully there were no reports of injuries from the incident, but as you can tell from the photo, the car was essentially totaled.

There is good news: after throwing away millions in US taxpayer funding, A123, which calls itself the U.S. leader in advanced batteries, and which like ENER1, is rapidly on its way to another full taxpayer investment wipeout, may finally be the burden of Chinese funding. Or maybe not. As Bloomberg reports:

A123 rose 6.4 percent yesterday in New York trading after announcing the financing deal with Xiaoshan City, China-based Wanxiang, the nation’s largest auto-components company. The accord allows Wanxiang to buy an 80 percent stake in A123, which calls itself the U.S. leader in advanced batteries.


The U.S. company’s stock has plunged 69 percent this year as the costs of replacing batteries for Fisker prompted unprofitable A123 to pursue additional fundraising.


A Florida lawmaker opposed the potential sale of control in A123 Systems Inc. (AONE), the U.S. maker of automotive rechargeable batteries, to a Chinese company, citing national security concerns.


Representative Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican, made the comments yesterday after A123 announced a non-binding deal - - worth as much as $450 million -- that would allow China’s Wanxiang Group Corp. to buy control of the U.S. company. A123, which supplies lithium-ion batteries to luxury plug-in vehicle maker Fisker Automotive Inc., is the recipient of a $249.1 million federal grant. Three calls to Wanxiang’s public relations office were unanswered.


“It appears the Department of Energy and the Obama administration have failed to secure sensitive taxpayer funded intellectual property from being transferred to a foreign adversary, which raises serious national security issues,” Stearns said in an e-mailed statement.

Judging by the results, the Chinese need to desperately learn a thing or two about sensitively spontaneously combusting, environmentally-conscious intellectual property as well. If that means no longer throwing good US taxpayer money after bad, so be it. If it also means that China, like the US before it, will sink billions in good cash into projects that ultimately generate total losses for everyone involved, then more electric power to them.

In the meantime, enjoy this video of the Fisker Karma quietly amortizing to $0.00 in the span of seconds.

h/t Doug


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Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:08 | 2698883 LMAOLORI
LMAOLORI's picture




"WASHINGTON -- A tiny car company backed by former Vice President Al Gore has just gotten a $529 million U.S. government loan to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000.

The award this week to California startup Fisker Automotive Inc. follows a $465 million government loan to Tesla Motors Inc., purveyors of a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster. Tesla is a California startup focusing on all-electric vehicles, with a number of celebrity endorsements that is backed by investors that have contributed to Democratic campaigns.

The awards to Fisker and Tesla have prompted concern from companies that have had their bids for loans rejected, and criticism from groups that question why vehicles aimed at the wealthiest customers are getting loans subsidized by taxpayers."

in full


Gore-Backed Car Firm Gets Large U.S. Loan


This investment will create thousands of new American jobs and is another critical step in making sure we are positioned to compete for the clean energy jobs of the future,” said Secretary Chu.


Obama-Supporting Law Firm Advised on Failed Fisker Loan

Democrats campaign contributions continue to flow




Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:18 | 2698942 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

OT but no one else shared

Looks Could Kill: Using 3-D Printers to Design Guns

The world’s first 3D-printed gun

An American gunsmith has become the first person to construct and shoot a pistol partly made out of plastic, 3D-printed parts. The creator, user HaveBlue from the AR-15 forum, has reportedly fired 200 rounds with his part-plastic pistol without any sign of wear and tear.

HaveBlue’s custom creation is a .22-caliber pistol, formed from a 3D-printed AR-15 (M16) lower receiver, and a normal, commercial upper. In other words, the main body of the gun is plastic, while the chamber — where the bullets are actually struck — is solid metal.

The lower receiver was created using a fairly old school Stratasys 3D printer, using a normal plastic resin. HaveBlue estimates that it cost around $30 of resin to create the lower receiver, but “Makerbots and the other low cost printers exploding onto the market would bring the cost down to perhaps $10.” Commercial, off-the-shelf assault rifle lower receivers are a lot more expensive. If you want to print your own AR-15 lower receiver, HaveBlue has uploaded the schematic to Thingiverse.

HaveBlue tried to use the same lower receiver to make a full-blown .223 AR-15/M16 rifle, but it didn’t work. Funnily enough, he thinks the off-the-shelf parts are causing issues, rather than the 3D-printed part.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:37 | 2698974 CIABS
CIABS's picture

C'mon Tyler(s), this is false-flag stuff.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:28 | 2698993 Benisprintingqu...
Benisprintingquintillionsbehindourbacks's picture

The guys behind Google helped elect Obama in return for a position in front of the printing press spigot. This real life Homersimpsonmobile is the result lol!

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:40 | 2699088 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Shit... When francis_sawyer wanted this effect as a kid, all I had to do was put flaming decals on my car...

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:08 | 2699146 AGuy
AGuy's picture

" When francis_sawyer wanted this effect as a kid, all I had to do was put flaming decals on my car..."

Lighten up francis!

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:26 | 2699165 Pladizow
Pladizow's picture

And what the dealer wont tell you, is that if the battery ever goes dead, all tires lock and must be flat bedded and it cost you $40K to replace the battery.

So dont take any long trips!

And electic cars are NOT needed - the US Gov prevents VW and Ford from selling cars that are produced in America, to Americans, that do 70mpg - Video:

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 19:17 | 2699513 redpill
redpill's picture

Here's the redpill lesson of the day.

First things first, I'm a gearhead, I have no particular love of electric vehicles.

Second, hybrids are a joke.  Worst of both worlds.  Pure electric makes much more sense from an engineering standpoint, and ultimately by a consumer standpoint. 

Third, there's very few credible people in the modern economy in this space.  In fact, I can only think of one.  His name is Elon Musk, and he not only is the CEO of Tesla Motors, but he is also the CEO of SpaceX and has not only exceeded expectations in both endeavors but blown them clear out of the water.

Fourth, the Tesla Model S Performance model is epic.  Period.

Fifith, only fools doubt Elon Musk.  He will bury you.  On Mars.  Bitchez.  He's the real deal.  He sucks up to Obama or whomever as need be, but the guy understands how you have to keep shit small and focused in order to get things done.  He's a rare inspiration in the modern world of corporate cocksuckers.


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 19:36 | 2699567 Pladizow
Pladizow's picture

"the guy understands how you have to keep shit small and focused" - Like an ember?

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 06:27 | 2700353 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

This is just one day of war in Afghanistan...$300,000,000 per day bitches. and you are complaining about this?


get your priorities straight. politicians woudl love for you to focus on the low priorities while high dollar priorities are wasted.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 19:43 | 2699581 Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture




According to Hans-Dieter Schilling (Energie-Fakten), the average efficiency of all coal power stations in the world currently stand at around 31%




The cars are charged from coal powered plants … blah, blah, blah. Basic laws of physics …… what ever, the argument is getting old.


Oh yeah, I did work on the machine that assembles the upper conductors to the plastic insulators of the battery …….aaah yeah, ummmm just leave it at that (sorry, no names) – I wouldn’t take one if it was free.


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 20:03 | 2699612 Pladizow
Pladizow's picture

Was it the Karma's seat that provided your avatar's name?

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 01:08 | 2700176 redpill
redpill's picture

It's not the car manufacturer's responsbility to figure out why we are continually retarded with energy.  Quite frankly we could be running fusion power plants today, but the timeline has been lengthened in order to cater to the energy industry.  Nothing that is fast and revolutionary will be tolerated, because it impacts quarterly profits.


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 23:31 | 2700047 Freddie
Freddie's picture

The Tesla is a POS and Elon Musk is another Obam parasite on American taxpayers backs.  F him.   People have started car companies with screwing over taxpayers.  Enzo Ferrari was one and he got no help from Alfa Romeo or Fiat.   The car is a POS and it is made in Finland.  The Finns actually do very good assembly work and should be ashamed of this Fisker POS.

If you want high mileage then the Germans with their diesels will bury you.  F off Fisker troll.  

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 01:46 | 2700215 unemployed
unemployed's picture

You mean Musk is behind the "brick".   This is all too confusing....

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 19:24 | 2699533 nmewn
nmewn's picture

So, we didn't build that!!!

The government forced us to build the spontaneously combustible, ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLAR Karma.

You just gotta love the irony in the name ;-)

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 19:54 | 2699601 CompassionateFascist
CompassionateFascist's picture

It worked like it was meant to: several hundred million dollars of our money laundered into the pockets of Obama bundlers.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 13:44 | 2698887 Walt D.
Walt D.'s picture

Bad Karma? :-)

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:41 | 2698979 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Karma's a bitch

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:51 | 2698996 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

Instant Karma's gonna get you
Gonna knock you right on the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you're gonna be dead

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 06:22 | 2700351 CaptainObvious
CaptainObvious's picture

The real bitch about karma will be when the greenies who buy these pieces o' shit get the bill for the carbon credit overage caused by their miracle cars combusting and spewing massive quantities of carbon.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 20:41 | 2699738 Precious
Precious's picture


Huffers and others beware: "Fire fighters should wear self-contained breathing apparatus. Burning lithium ion batteries can produce toxic fumes including HF, oxides of carbon, aluminum, lithium, copper, and cobalt. Volatile phosphorus pentafluoride may form at a temperature above 230° F."


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 13:44 | 2698888 AU5K
AU5K's picture

Crony socialism at its worst.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:17 | 2698941 aaronb17
aaronb17's picture

I'm sorry have you heard of ANYTHING that the finance industry has done in the past five years?  It's all crony socialism. 

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:41 | 2698981 I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture

Amerika is the most Ethical Nation- Sarc

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:15 | 2699034 chipworley
chipworley's picture

Demonstrates exactly why the government should never try to "legislate" or "mandate" results.  it isn't "science" or "economics" and doesn't work.  Hope and change are no substitute for the laws of physics or economics....

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:40 | 2699086 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

Govts job disrciption is to "Govern" (ie. Lord-it, King for the Day, the political erection of a new - false? - God in society)

anyone who supports Govt supports the idea the ignorant windbags they elect know-it-all

you get what you vote for

Stop Paying Your Taxes ...don't feed the village idiots

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 13:45 | 2698889 climber
climber's picture

we've reached the singularity, cars themselves are self-immolating...

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 13:46 | 2698890 holdbuysell
holdbuysell's picture

"prompting a call to Fisker and then the local fire department,"
He made the calls in that order? Huh.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:09 | 2698927 kedi
kedi's picture

Wanted to be sure it wasn't just an advanced feature. Maybe an anti theft device. Is there a button on the remote to turn this off?

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:52 | 2698999 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

I'm guessing his insurance agent got a call, too. 

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:28 | 2699178 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

the very fact that he bought one of these might explain that. 

Call to Fisker: 

Owner:  My car is smoking.

Fisker:  Didn't you inform your car that smoking is dangerous, can cause death and second hand smoke is more dangerous than a group of rednecks at a picnic?

Owner: No, I don't mean that.  I already had that talk with my car.  What I mean is black smoke is pouring out of the engine area.

Fisker:  Oh! Better call the fire department.


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 13:47 | 2698892 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

I view this as good news.

All the radical liberal global warming fanatics can burn up in their "green cars" (the power of which probably originated from a coal operated power plant) After all, the power to charge green cars does not come from ponies running on power generating treadmills.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 13:52 | 2698901 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

I guess we should outlaw all cars, then, given that the vehicles preferred by non-greenies also explode.

Just one small example.  Double standard much?

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:03 | 2698920 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

"I guess we should outlaw all cars,..."  I'm certain you would if you could.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:24 | 2698931 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

oh, I would tax and tax and tax them until they don't move anymore (according to the old prince's manual: if it moves, tax it)

just kidding, but not terribly much

call it a preference to good well-working different solutions. cars are since 100 years around, aren't they? I usually avoid this argument, but is it really a human right to drive an own car? one that requires that entire fleets and armies are deployed so that the necessary components and fuels are at disposal? there is quite a human cost involved in this "normality".

and before you think I'm a befuddled tree-hugger - low-density regions need cars. it's in the cities that they are ludicrous.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 17:51 | 2699334 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

It is not a right to drive or own a car, it is a right to be free to drive a car you bought with your own money, if you so choose, simply because cars exist.

You may not be a tree-hugger, but the central-planning mentality is plain to see. By your own words, you tell us you know who should get to have a car and who shouldn't. Of course owning a car is genrally ludicrous (many exceptions) in an urban environment (as is living in an urban environment to begin with ...), but if you want to do it, go ahead! It's none of my fucking business!

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 02:42 | 2700254 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

+1 nevertheless, since you are making a good point: freedom as a principle.

what you call "central-planning mentality" is for me just the higher degree of order that cities generate spontanously. because the higher the population density is the more coordination is needed - just to keep the she-bang running.

my point tries to give a hint, IMO: what is right in one place might be silly in a different one.

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 03:37 | 2700277 i-dog
i-dog's picture


"because the higher the population density is the more coordination is needed - just to keep the she-bang running."

... the control-freak's mantra!! You've spent too long in a rigidly hierarchical organisation, Ghordie!

Central planners never learn ... and neither do MegaCorps! Nature doesn't work that way ... for a reason....

Complex systems self-organise fractally and no central planner can ever hope to achieve the efficiency and organisational skill of decentralised management.

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 07:41 | 2700339 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

i-dog, context: cities

roads (standards and layouts). sewage systems. harbours. public spaces, including public baths if this is important (it used to be). garbage removal conventions. market spaces opening hours, space allotments and conventions, including a judicial system with weight and measures standards. police and politicians (from polis=city). diplomatic corps. tributes to whaever empire is dominant. city walls & armouries (if not, the other cities or the barbarians will get you). civic militia or defence tax. acqueducts. plague control. pest control. more taxes. building standards laws. laws governing the expropriations of private space if a new road is "urgently needed". public holidays. conventions on temples and churches. immigration laws. more laws. more regulations.

and I'm sticking to the example of a greek/roman city or colony two thousand years ago. yes, you are partly correct, coral reefs organise themselves fractally. dwellers of cities do a mix of self-organization and central organization. and the mediation between the two is called politics. even in dictatorships.

just try to take the res publica out of the city and see how amazed the citizens will look at you. they might just put you on a standard rail and carry you tarred & feathered over the planned triumphal main street out of the mostly planned city.

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 09:55 | 2700612 i-dog
i-dog's picture


"the mediation between the two is called politics"

Politics is everywhere ... in the family, between neighbours, within a city precinct, on a school board, within an enterprise. But there is no need to extend central planning beyond the scope of the parties involved.

Your list is a joke as a justification for central planning across the extent of a great city ... let alone for federal government and central planning across 27 or 50 nation states!

Every single one of the items on your list can be decided at a local (ie. suburb, district, region) level to suit local residents needs, resources and desires ... and can be either privately contracted or conventions agreed between adjacent participants (if they deemed it appropriate to enter into such conventions).

  • roads (standards and layouts)
  • sewage systems. 
  • harbours
  • public spaces
  • public baths 
  • garbage removal conventions. 
  • market spaces 
  • opening hours, 
  • space allotments and conventions
  • a judicial system with weight and measures standards
  • police and politicians
  • diplomatic corps. 
  • tributes to whaever empire is dominant
  • city walls & armouries
  • civic militia or defence 
  • tax. 
  • acqueducts. 
  • plague control. 
  • pest control. 
  • more taxes. 
  • building standards laws. 
  • laws governing the expropriations of private space if a new road is "urgently needed". 
  • public holidays. 
  • conventions on temples and churches. 
  • immigration laws. 
  • more laws. 
  • more regulations.

Good grief! Statism and one-size-fits-all on steroids!!!   ... and why do statists always put roads at the top of their list!?! Most roads are built and maintained in major cities to local standards - by local municipal councils or by private developers (particularly in all new developments). :S

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 12:18 | 2700967 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

I'm still not sure if I even understand what you guys mean by "central planning mentality". My point, btw, was about different needs leading to different organizations and cities producing - historically - more of this "thing". Now I'm not sure anymore we even agree on the starting definition.

Let me ask a question: how do you build a city wall without - let me try to phrase differently - coercive measures & a plan?

Perhaps we who live on the bigger landmass utterly lack your insights. Endless wars and invasions might just be the thing to give a fundamentally different worldview compared to yours. Just as an example, here, this is what I get if I google "central planning encapsulated". Not knowing how many people live in a city? Here, we would call it a failure of statecraft or perhaps even treason. The picture is not funny, here.

How do you plan bomb shelters if you don't know how many inhabitants you have? And don't tell me we will need no city walls or bomb shelters or whatever. The next war always came.

In our history, cities without a certain ruthlesness in the public sphere died. We call them ruins. If I remember well some 6'000 of them litter our landscape - to my delight as hobby archeologist and historian.

Tue, 08/14/2012 - 00:32 | 2703027 i-dog
i-dog's picture


"cities ... died"

LOL ... still with the fear-mongering!

The reality of the modern world is quite different to that of the days of hand-to-hand combat and "he with the biggest army wins". Asymetric warfare and the advent of WMD can keep the bullies out (ask North Korea, Israel, Pakistan).

Most of the world (outside of NATO) is able to live and trade in peace without the sight of armies camped outside their "city walls". And when NATO does arrive, they are made to pay a heavy price ... as in Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and wherever next..... LOL.

Tue, 08/14/2012 - 03:07 | 2703120 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

residual fear of an european cold warrior that remembers vividly the iron curtain and has vivid familial memories of WWII, yes.

I still think I have made two valid points.

1. history and geography have an impact and cities have different needs and outlooks from countrysides - which ties in with my belief that one system and one "law of the land" is silly, even one so good looking like your voluntarysm. No system can be good enough to demand it's propagation on the whole planet.

2. we were on the receiving end of endless more wars and invasions, compared to the the UK and US, who have broadly speaking a pacific insular outlook at home.

Tue, 08/14/2012 - 07:58 | 2703258 i-dog
i-dog's picture


"ties in with my belief that one system and one "law of the land" is silly"

LOL ... says the man who continually argues for the warm and fuzzy central EU Bureaucracy and regulations covering the whole of the European continent (as well as Eurasia and North Africa, too, if the EU continues to execute their expansion plans)!

"No system can be good enough to demand it's propagation on the whole planet"

I wouldn't let the Globalist masters hear you say that! Or the Catholic Church, for that matter ... they still believe that all sovereigns and all governments should be subservient to the Pope (not much longer to wait on that one, I expect)!

Thankfully, you now agree with voluntarists that each nation state, county and/or city should determine their own affairs. I'm glad we're making progress with you.... ;)

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 06:32 | 2700354 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

Totentänzerlied, just a thought: how much is the current typical car driving around the product of central planning? As I said before, it depends - in the current form - on fleets and armies making sure that the oil is gathered

and 50% of the world populations live in cities - proportion growing - how many have other options?

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:09 | 2698923 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

Police cars use far more power than an average passenger car. They are modified with high powered lights on top, spot lights, CB scanners, computers, additional radios, sirens, and mobile data terminals. Those mods put additional stress on the vehicles electrical system and in conjunction with high speed car chases it only makes sense that a police car would be prone to heat related problems. To use a police car as an example is disingenuous.

These "green cars" have a track record of catching on fire. They are not vehicles I would trust my family's life in.


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:11 | 2698932 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

You are such a shill.  The same problem occurred in non-police Crown Vics.  But to avoid your rank shill speculation about the Crown Vic (where facts always bend to ideology), do you have an excuse for the Ford F150 bursting into flames?

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:36 | 2698976 ffart
ffart's picture

I think the real issue here is should taxpayer dollars have been used for this, not whether or not complex systems fail occasionally. If you want an example of complex systems failing, all you have to do is look at every government in history ever.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:54 | 2699002 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

1970's Ford Pintos?

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:59 | 2699008 ffart
ffart's picture

Those were project cars where I grew up. Just replace the engine, transmission, wheels, wiring, and pretty much everything but the frame and you have a nice car.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:31 | 2699181 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

If my memory serves, Ford pintos required a nasty wreck before they blew.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:00 | 2699009 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

Even more so when you consider that private money has repeatedly tried to

make a profit from electric vehicles for over 130 years.Not one of a

many has succeeded.

Perhaps Govt. should go back to running USPS as they have made it is such a

great success.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 22:17 | 2699929 cranky-old-geezer
cranky-old-geezer's picture



I think the real issue here is should taxpayer dollars have been used for this

Yes, thats the real issue.  Government shouldn't be subsidizing it. 

If electric cars can succeed in the maketplace on their own, great. But they shouldn't be sibsidized with taxpayer dollars, just like GM souldn't be subsidized with taxpayer dollars and lots of other commercial ventures (like Solyndra) shouldn't be subsidized with taxpayer dollars.

It's simply not government's job to be subsidizing commercial business.  They succeed or fail on their own.

The same can be said for banks.  No government bailouts.   They succeed or fail on their own.

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 01:46 | 2700214 merizobeach
merizobeach's picture

"Government shouldn't be subsidizing it."  Fair enough.  But the government does claim the need for so many police vehicles... let's give all these fascist pigs combustible electric cars!

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 12:57 | 2701068 dugorama
dugorama's picture

check!  so let's all move to Somalia!

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:46 | 2698985 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

Did you even read the article which you referenced?

Ford is recalling the vehicles because their cruise-control switches could short circuit and start a fire

Has NOTHING to do with the fact that they run on gasoline.

Not only is the F-150 much safer it's almost $10,000 cheaper than a vehicle that may or may not catch on fire while you're driving in it.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:49 | 2698989 macholatte
macholatte's picture

5 minutes with Google got way more than this:



In 2009, there were over 219,000 vehicle fires reported resulting in 280 deaths and 1610 injury claims. The costs are estimated to be in excess of $1.3 million.
(US Fire Administration, Dept of FEMA)

Fire Investigations - Cause and Origin


 leading causes of vehicle fires,


Why do cars catch fire?


Vehicle fire


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has expanded a probe into more than 5 million Jeep vehicles for a possible faulty gas tank that can catch fire after an accident, according to its website.



POLICE BRIEFS: Cars catch fire at restaurants



Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:59 | 2699006 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

In one of the links (142 pages) of which I doubt you read one page of states that most passenger vehicle fires were due to:

-Collision related

- 2/3 due to electrical/mechanical problems due to lack of proper maintenance

-Arson (1 in 6)

-Additional modifications to vehicle(s) leading to increased load and electrical failure


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:13 | 2699154 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

The numbers were skewed by the recent rise in vehicle fires in Europe.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:37 | 2698965 AssFire
AssFire's picture

You are spot on Bob. I wonder how many of the greenies want to drive through death valley in their electric cars?

Might I suggest cars manufactured by non-union companies have more cost associated in proper materials (correct wire sizes etc.) as opposed to the union mfg. cars laden with higer labor costs and skimpy on materials.

When voltage decreases as the battery loses charge, amps must increase to peovide the same power. When you put too many amps through too small a wire you get a toaster ah, I mean Fisker.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:50 | 2698991 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

When voltage decreases as the battery loses charge, amps must increase to peovide the same power. When you put too many amps through too small a wire you get a toaster ah, I mean Fisker.

Yes. Unfortunately fuck face above us doesn't understand the basics of Ohm's law so he'll never understand.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:05 | 2699138 John_Coltrane
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Ohm's law, V = IR, Power = VI is important and so is chemistry:

Li + H2O = L2O + H2

And H2 is explosive at all stoichiometric ratios (air:fuel) unlike gas which requires about 15:1 ratio to explode.  So, anything that can produce H2 when in contact with ubuquitious water is a problem (see Fukishima reactor explosions for example) (It wasn't the reactor fuel per se that was the problem, rather that water was the coolant in the system-if liquid Na had been used no explosion would have occurred or release of radionuclieotides)

This chemistry is a fundamental problem for Li/Li(ion) batteries.  And the charging process for Li ion batteries must be very carefully controlled-much more difficult than teaching consumers how to put gas safely in a tank.

Disclosure:  Short TSLA via Sept puts and wil likely be laughing all the way to the bank once the bad Karma from this publicity hits the financial world.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:53 | 2698998 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

"It's got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks..."

Don't forget the frequent screeching u-turns to the donut shop. We pay for that shit.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:28 | 2699068 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture

"They are not vehicles I would trust my family's life in."


NOOOOOOOOOO! we're too late! he's already reproduced!

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 13:50 | 2698898 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

If you truely want to reduce oil imports one must keep it cheap (second hand ?) & simple stupid.


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:10 | 2699020 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Coming soon to a Bakersfield near you...for the price of a bullet train.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:22 | 2699045 css1971
css1971's picture

The train can't replace the car.

Look, Americans are willing to kill hundreds of thousands of their and other countries people so that they don't have to ride trains. What does that tell you about rail?

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:51 | 2699098 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

politicians have been trying to replace the car with trains, tubes, trams, buses and electrified wardrobes for 100 years ..a century of total expensive subsidised failure and we're no closer to a wise conclusion (ie. bin the f'n lot)

..that's Govt for you, the dumbest institution in history

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 23:43 | 2700068 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Yeah but that dude from Cork is Irish - the people who gave us the vile and f**king demonic Kennedys.  I say this being part Irish but I am not a boozer.

Still - the Bulgarian railway he posted the youtube video of - is probably far far better than U.S. union goon Obama-like Amtrak.  Amtrak is total shit.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:53 | 2699114 knukles
knukles's picture

Nobody Really wants to reduce oil imports, else they'd go off grid, no fossil, walk to work, no lights, no nothing...
Lotsa people talk about wanting to reduce oil imports... all hypocrisy.

Insofar as I'm concerned, my Jaguar runs just fucking fine on Middle Eastern oil.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 13:51 | 2698900 Walt D.
Walt D.'s picture

You can find the economic incentive for these "Green Energy Projects" in Mel Brooks Broadway Play/Film "The Producers".

The Green Energy Projects are the equivalent of "Springtime for Hitler".

The cronies who own these Green Energy Companies are "Biallystock and Bloom" making off with all the money after the play flops.


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 13:53 | 2698906 Turin Turambar
Turin Turambar's picture

Awww, if only Justin Bieber had been in the car, then this would've been good publicity. ;-)



Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:56 | 2699005 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

or if Randy Travis had been driving it naked and drunk?

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:57 | 2699123 knukles
knukles's picture

With Justin sitting on his lap wiggling while Randy was moaning doing 100 mph in the kindergarten School Zone, flames and smoke trailing, blinding people for miles behind with noxious, caustic, deadly chemical residues all the while listening to old Boy George albums at 222 db........

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:46 | 2699212 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

your fantasies a little too thought out.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 13:54 | 2698907 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

How come Tesla's electric cars are not burning up?  Perhaps it has something to do with competing for both private and government funding to build their cars and develop their ideas.  Seems like the taxpayer and the private investor alike get much better results when the politicians are NOT directly picking the winners and losers.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:12 | 2698934 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


Does draining a Tesla’s battery turn it into a $40,000 brick?

No electric car builder has more momentum than Tesla Motors, with a new sedan going into production this year, orders for a new SUV next year and a high-volume factory coming online in California. Yet a former Tesla service agent says 2,500 Tesla Roadsters have a significant flaw: Leave them unplugged too long, and their battery packs turn into useless bricks that cost $40,000 to replace.

According to blogger Michael DeGusta, the problem comes from the Roadster's tendency to drain its batteries even when not moving;  Tesla's own manuals warn that the Roadster will drain from a full charge in 11 weeks if not plugged in. DeGusta says an unnamed Tesla agent told him the company has seen five such cases so far -- and that when the charge drops to zero, the battery pack is damaged beyond repair, requiring a replacement set of 6,831 lithium-ion cells that runs $40,000. The agent even shares that Tesla was so concerned about battery damage in one case it tracked down an owner's car via its GPS system to get it charged.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:29 | 2699036 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

You are ignoring the major drawback of all electric vehicles.

The current batteries still have the same drawback that stymied all electric car

development;Battery "memory".

This is a phenemon that causes battery's once discharged to be unable to be recharched to

100% of the original.This is a cumulative effect,each discharge reduces total capacity

add infinfitum.Over time the battery is scrap metal.

It is the reason only slow moving electric vehicles have worked in the milk delivery

vehicles in the UK.

To get a decent power to weight ratio required for sellable vehicles requires putting inadequate

batteries into them,or vehicles that travel at 10mph.

I wish anybody purchasing these Govt boondoggles  good luck.

In a couple of years all the batteries are phucked.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:49 | 2699108 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

Laws of Physics - sorry mate but Tesla is also into State subsidy, and it ain't going well taxpayers will ever see their money back

there's 1 Dealer for the whole UK, it's in London, so you couldn't even drive the noddy car up home to Birmingham or Scotland without days of over night-stopping to recharge this electric turkey

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 13:54 | 2698909 AssFire
AssFire's picture

It takes a 1/4 square mile area of solar collectors 1 hour to collect as much power that is contained in a 12 ounce can of gasoline.

I feel safe saying that since Trav666 has been awol for a while.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:18 | 2698946 aaronb17
aaronb17's picture

Maybe at night . . . 

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 18:36 | 2699413 AssFire
AssFire's picture

No, I feel safe saying it during the day too.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:51 | 2699226 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

"12 ounce can of gasoline."

so how much for a 6-pac?

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 13:55 | 2698910 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture
  • In 2003-2007, highway-type vehicle fires accounted for 17% of reported fires and 12% of U.S. civilian deaths.
  • Older teens and young adults are age groups at highest risk of highway vehicle fire death.
  • On average, 31 highway vehicle fires were reported per hour. These fires killed one person a day.
  • Ninety-three percent of reported fires and 92% of vehicle fire deaths involved highway-type vehicles such as cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles.
  • Three-quarters of highway vehicle fires resulted from mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions. Collisions or overturns caused only 3% of these fires but 58% of the associated deaths.
  • One-third of non-fatal highway vehicle fire injuries occurred when civilians attempted to fight the fire themelves.
Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:06 | 2698922 Drachma
Drachma's picture

I'll bet these cars were actually running when said incidents occurred, not parked in a driveway turned 'off'. Thanks for the stats.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:13 | 2698935 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Shill.  Do these facts matter, or will you have an ideology based response to this too?

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:47 | 2699102 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Hmmm...lets talk percentages. How many Fiskars are on the road? How many Fords? None of your links with your "facts" dig into details of age and/or maint. records of the vehicles involved.

What exactly is your point anyway? Is "Shill" your initial respone to everybody who disagrees with you? Starting out with personal attacks does not strengthen your argument. One could surmise from your commentary that you possess an equity stake in Tesla and/or solar panels, and are shilling for them.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 19:05 | 2699467 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Perhaps they should have charged $100K+ for the Explorer? How many, Ford GT's, Aston Martin's, and Jag's have spontaneously combusted?

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:14 | 2698937 aaronb17
aaronb17's picture

When are people usually IN the cars?  When they're running, or when they're parked and turned off? 

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:01 | 2699130 knukles
knukles's picture

Betcha Justin Beiber sits in his nude in the garage turned off dreaming of Randy Travis coming in nude to share a smoke with him and look what happened....

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 13:58 | 2698912 Geruda
Geruda's picture

The speakings many are having is being caused from the cravings of Americans to be having gratifications that are being instant.  Peoples, especially American peoples, are having many angries when the pleasures they are wanting are not happening as soon as the wanting is happening. 

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:16 | 2698939 koncaswatch
koncaswatch's picture

All human interaction in a market place constitues some form of gratification: and why shouldn't a market participant expect their gratification expectation to be quickly and efficiently met. What's your point?

Oh, I get it, Americans...


Mon, 08/13/2012 - 00:02 | 2700098 Geruda
Geruda's picture

Wanting to be having gratifications quickly is the way that peoples are being and wanting to be having gratifications without many waitings is a thing that is how peoples are naturally being.  But the wanting and the behaving if the wantings are not being the things that are happening are two things that are being very different.   The good way for peoples to be acting when they are not having the wantings as fast as they are wanting is to be having patiences and perseverances and determinations to be positive in the minds they are having.   We were having many frustrations with the wanting we were having when the Russian peoples were putting Sputniks into the skies but Americans were not acting with crazinesses when the Vanguard satellites were not giving them what their wantings were making them to be wanting.   Only the footsteps of Americans are on the moon.    

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:01 | 2698914 Pretorian
Pretorian's picture

I am suprised why Uncle Sam waited so long to start them on fire. In 1984 he organized 12 trucks to the Arizona desert for "spontanius" combustion of volts. No green for you suckers suck this CHevron shit, pay Uncle Chevron some more. 

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:02 | 2698917 straightershooter
straightershooter's picture

WOW, spontaneously combusting?


Folks, Never park beside any telsa/fiska/or any environmentally-friendly-electric car. If you see one, proceed immediately to follow Forest, run for your life.

Wonder how high the insurance premium will jump if one parks one in the garage?

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:06 | 2698921 Zola
Zola's picture

They should have had John Galt design the engine... Oops i heard he left and went on strike ... 

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 20:11 | 2699641 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

Mr. Galt drives a pickup truck that he fixes himself with parts made from the posers who invoke his name.


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:07 | 2698924 Kali
Kali's picture

Why don't they just make cars outta this?

We could just crawl along like worms.  Love that this worm robot is "funded by the US Dept of Defense, which could be used for difficult terrain vehicles or to crawl out of  your shower drain!"

One more source of paranoia.  If you see one of these crawling out of the drains in your house, "it can't be destroyed by stomping on it or hitting it with a hammer".

Strange and scary planet.  What if you find one trying to burrow into your body, could see this married with nanotechnology very easily?  Freak out!



Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:16 | 2698940 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Dallas of all places is doing something practical although I don't know the passenger numbers.

The A train now links to the Green line........................

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:33 | 2698971 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Practical maybe, but we're not ants to be shuffled to and fro.  Having a car gives you the freedom to wander and go almost anywhere you want.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:47 | 2698982 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Sure sure - but You must go to Iraq first.... because that is where the Desert spring of freedom resides.

American life at one time orbited around its trains  .... why not again ?


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:05 | 2699000 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

"American life at one time orbited around its trains  .... why not again ?"

At one time life "orbited" around Trains because Automobiles weren't invented yet.  Just how far back do you want to take us?

BTW: The US gets most of it's imported oil from Canada and Latin America.  But what would you know.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:07 | 2699015 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Its a question of high quality liquid fuel and the costs of force projection around the world to obtain the  stuff..........Carters Gulf doctrine is clearly moving to its end game don't you think ?

PS those vintage 1950s Budd railcars are going it seems - shame , they looked great.

Antiseptic but top of the line Swiss Stadlers are replacing them....... (Austin Metrolink also uses these vehicles)

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:15 | 2699029 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

+1, DofC. - LOL - you can argue forever, some of our friends's way of life is utterly psychologically dependent on big gas-guzzler, you european. btw, I would seriously appreciate your two cents on Ireland.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:31 | 2699072 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture


Ireland 2006 : 200,000 BPD ~

Ireland 2012 : 135,000 BPD (12 Month moving average)...... I guess you can save more fuel by coming to a complete stop but its not very nice.................

PS The Americans could also use some modern Euro Signaling......(the location for this station is terrible - see 3.00 minutes into the video)

Those Texas Lads are really trying though - its against the typical Texas sterotype which is great.

Although The Austin metrolink needs to do some post Midnight runs if it wants the custom..............


Daytime Austin people are different to Nighttime Austin people it seems……it looks like a interesting town.
“It was too much …. you could smell peoples…..”



Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:03 | 2699135 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Shit. Whiners in the second video need to ride trains in Japan. There is no personal space. "Bumping" would require space between you and the people next to you.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 21:36 | 2699872 Tom Green Swedish
Tom Green Swedish's picture

Are you crazy?  This is in some crap town somewhere.  The USA is like 2000 times bigger than Ireland UK and Japan combined.  Take a look at the Chicago rail system.   Its the best in the world (not taking into account the speed).  You'll shit your pants.  BTW a railroad executive completed the Panama Canal.  The French failed at it.  The USA does whatever we choose to do better.  It's that simple.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:25 | 2699053 Offthebeach
Offthebeach's picture

Horses more really. Ships along the coasts, and rivers. With few exceptions railroads were always government /crony taxpayers screwing boondoggles.
Muppets everywhere wanted their own horse, boat, plane, car. Still do.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:16 | 2699035 Kali
Kali's picture

so do two legs or a Hoveraround. : )  And the gov will fund your Hoveraround purchase!

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:41 | 2699090 css1971
css1971's picture

Nobody uses trains. By that I mean that an insignificant percentage of journeys are made by rail. Hell, even in France or Germany with their tens of billions in subsidies it's a tiny percentage.

There's a fundamental physical reason why rail can't replace the car. Rail transports groups of people, cars transport individuals. I'll let you go and think about the implications of one vs the other.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 17:44 | 2699149 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Nobody uses trains as you put it because the settlement has changed post war....... it will just have to change again.

The credit hyperinflated envoirment is dead.........

Nobody uses rail in France ? what are you talking about ?

The Heavy Tram is becoming the spine of public transport in Most Medium size French cities now.....

This year alone - Montpellier has added 2 more Tram lines to its 2 existing lines  , Brest has got its tram system up and running , Orleans got its second line last month  , Dijon & Le Harve will be up and running at the end of this year , the beginning of the next.....Lyon and Bordeaux are extending their already large systems now.

The Tours line is progressing , Valenciennes second line is progressing ,the Paris orbital train and tram network is exploding ,Grenoble is getting its fifth line.........I could go on.

PS Cars are a product of Bank consumer credit...... when it dies begin to age and die off.....

Trams trains and stuff are created (until recently at least ..see PPPs) chiefly via fiscal means in can never pay for themselves - they are a product of commercial banks wasting the existing surplus energy in thee most wasteful manner.

Montpellier line 2 heavy tram : 21.9 million a year !!!

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 20:13 | 2699650 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

Yeah, noone uses the Metro, that's why it smells so fresh.


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 21:28 | 2699851 prodigious_idea
prodigious_idea's picture

The fundamental reason is that trains run on tracks and those tracks were laid to move tonnage and are almost entirely owned by private entities that were early monopolies (subsidized by the governement to connect the east and west coast for human settlement) that have no intention of putting track out to all the little spots humans choose to live.  Notwithstanding industry losses, the other reason is that commercial aviation is more cost effective - time/$ - than ground transportation. But to compare to Europe you should express a better understanding of diesel versus gasoline consumption, taxation and the difference in environmental regulations regarding air quality.  I'll let you think about the implications of these ideas.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:31 | 2698948 Joebloinvestor
Joebloinvestor's picture

I bet that fire created more pollution then the entire production of KARMAS "reduced".

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:32 | 2698966 Kali
Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:27 | 2698954 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Toyota made a RAV4 ev years ago that had NiCad batteries in them. You could and should run the battery all the way down. They lasted ten years or more without excessive loss of capacity and I don't think very many burst into flames. Lithium Ion is best left for igadgets.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:30 | 2698963 Amish Hacker
Amish Hacker's picture

Obviously the work of the STUXNET virus. Ah, well, at least the taxpayers' $249 million created some jobs---for firemen.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:07 | 2699140 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

FLAME virus is more appropriate.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:43 | 2698969 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

The Chevy Volt reminds me of a local story here in Norcal 20 years ago. At that time, Ford manufactured a compact called the "Probe", the mother of all lemons. A guy parked his recently bought lemon outside the dealership with a huge sign on it which read: I GOT PROBED AT SUN VALLEY FORD! The dealer sought an injunction to have the guy move his car but the judge ruled in favor of the car owner citing his right to free speech.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:44 | 2698987 Getting Old Sucks
Getting Old Sucks's picture

Wonder what would happen today? 

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:50 | 2698994 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

I hear 'ya GOS..............

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:03 | 2699007 Kali
Kali's picture

the car would get towed to impound, you would get thrown in jail for being a terrorist (protesting outside a free speech zone, you see).  When you get out of jail, you would receive a hefty bill for towing and impound storage charges : ) 

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:29 | 2699128 toady
toady's picture

I worked with a gay dude named PJ years ago who bought a probe. His custom plate said 'probe PJ'

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 20:42 | 2699748 Wannabee
Wannabee's picture

+1 for the Seinfeld fan

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 14:44 | 2698986 Tom Green Swedish
Tom Green Swedish's picture

Battery powered cars are a novelty.  We can produce algae fuel instead. Better Batteries are definitely good though, as long as they don't explode. I'm not too cool with that, but Dicaprio is.  But he is an uniformed fool.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:14 | 2699027 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Which branch of service is he in ?

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:09 | 2699019 Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

Sometimes an insurance fire is cheaper than those high payments. 

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:30 | 2699070 Offthebeach
Offthebeach's picture

Wait until the utes start tapping into those batteries to drive speakers. Now we be talhing fires.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:26 | 2699172 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

If you're making payments, the insurance $ goes to pay off the loan and now you don't have a car.  What am I not getting?  Are you saying you should not have bought the car in the 1st place? 

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:59 | 2699239 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

remedy for buyers remorse.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 17:22 | 2699285 Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:10 | 2699022 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

We'll probably find out soon enough that Obama has set 500 billion aside for a solar powered jumbo jet.

An Airbus 300.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 15:27 | 2699061 css1971
css1971's picture

Is that water they're pouring on an electrical fire?,

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 20:14 | 2699654 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

is that your assumption that the fire was electrical burning? (it wasn't)

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:13 | 2699091 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

The usual blather from the usual suspects....

The message in all this is that EVs are a difficult technology and they will likely not be a solution to the problem of what replaces oil and the ICE when oil supplies turn over....

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:08 | 2699142 patb
patb's picture

how many Priuses or Insights have caught fire?


The difference between a prius and a Volt is just scale. A Fiskar Karma is just a scaled up volt.


The Volt and the Karma are operating at the edge of the engineering database, no surprise there are issues.

I suspect the Toyota Plug In Prius will do just fine as it's closer in to the scale limit.

and within 5 years the Plug in Prius will have the range of the Volt

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 22:01 | 2699913 Benisprintingqu...
Benisprintingquintillionsbehindourbacks's picture

Comparing a Karma to a Volt is an insult to a Volt. Comparing a Volt to an Insight is an insult to an Insight. Those old Insights are unbreakable, they're stable at 100mph and handle well enough on the curves to give an old porsche a run for its money

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:22 | 2699164 Satan
Satan's picture

This fire had nothing to do with batteries. The only reason for running an exhaust out the front is due to space constrictions aft. Inadequate heat shielding due to lack of space in the forward section is the most likely cause here. It makes sense that the car ignited after it was turn off. An engine will only cool itself while it is running. With inadequate ventilation, a poorly insulated exhaust and motor- gen in a small compartment, the latent heat build up will quickly spike. Any small leak of oil or even coolant can flash.

This just comes down to very poor design.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 16:42 | 2699203 optimator
optimator's picture


Give me an up arrow if you agree with the specs I'm submitting to the Government for an inexpensive vehicle. I need a loan, no bigger than Fisker got, to come up with a few prototypes. Here are the specs. Convertible only (no A/C needed). Top speed, 40 MPH Estimated average cost per mile .005 cents Maintenance costs 0 Fuel costs $3 per day, unlimited miles. No emissions. Style - Slick, the rear reminding you of the candidates. Estimated power, 1 hp. Notes: No pollutants, no rubber, no plastic, metal or POL. and at no extra manufacturing cost a distinctive warning horn. (



Sun, 08/12/2012 - 17:51 | 2699331 Big Corked Boots
Big Corked Boots's picture

The technology you refer to has considerable emissions and, depending upon the availability of illegal Mexicans, can have considerable maintenance costs.

Keep in mind some economists cite the surplus of food generated by the mechanization of farms as a contributor to the Depression. Something like 20% of arable land went to farm-laboring livestock feed. Once those horses (mules, oxen, etc) went to the glue factory the agricultural outputs went out of balance.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 20:16 | 2699661 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

No emissions?

Come open your mouth behind this horse, then.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 17:20 | 2699277 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 17:25 | 2699295 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

Yeah!  It took a minivan with it!

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 17:34 | 2699310 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

As usual, the Germans and Japanese will continue to outpace the U.S. in  automotive tech.  Soon we will even be outpaced by the Chinese and India. This goes for all mechanical tech for that matter. In the minds of most Americans, tech equals computers and electronics. Ironically, we even believe this is all that really matters to the future of the automotive industry. The more onboard GPS and video screens the better. You can sell  anything  with wheels as long as it has that. And sadly, that's where all the emphasis really lies in the U.S. auto industry, in marketing and selling. When I say lies, I mean that 'literally. It's really sad. 

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 18:39 | 2699420 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

According to my now well known and apparently INFAMOUS "Commentariat Daily News Action Team" I have now been cleared to report that the Fisker Legal Team is arguing that it was the drummer from Spinal Tap who spontaneously combusted while DRIVING the Fisker and in fact had nothing to do with the "battery thingy" at all. Back to you at Zero Hedge!

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 18:45 | 2699431 ddtuttle
ddtuttle's picture

I wish it wern't true, but batteries are terribly inefficient.  Since th 1960's people have been saying battereis will power future cars, but  the lead acid battery is 150 years old, and not much better than it was in 1850.  Batteries are simply not up to the task for the foreseeable future.

The main issue is energy density.   If you have ONE gallon of gasoline, how many gallons would a high quality Lithium Ion battery with the exact same energy be?  Wait for it ... 28 gallons!  Imagine a single can of gas sitting next to  28 gallons of lithium batteries.  28 gallons of lithium batteries weighs at least 500 lbs, which you have to drag around with you everywhere you go.  

28 lithium ion battreis = 377 lbs :  ONE gallon of gas = 6lbs (at the beginning of the trip). 

Of course, electric motos are more efficient than gasoline engines, but by the time you include battery charge-dischage losses, an electric car is only a little more efficient than the most effeicnt trubo diesels, around 22% compared to 30% (if you drive slowly).  

Another issue, batteries charge and discharge slowly.  If you try to do it faster the batteries heat up wasting a large fraction of their energy.  In other words, a Tesla max acclerating onto the freeway is probably not much more effecient than a 300hp muscle car doing the same thing.

Contrary to popular belief Lithium Ion batteries should not be discharged or charged all the way. They need to operate in their middle range: patly charged to partly discharged.  Otherwise, they wear out MUCH faster.  They wear out anyway, but not as fast.

Of course, gasoline cars burst into flames all the time.  Lithium ion battereis do the same thing, so they're no better or worse on that count.

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 07:04 | 2700377 fredquimby
fredquimby's picture

Another issue, batteries charge and discharge slowly.  If you try to do it faster the batteries heat up wasting a large fraction of their energy.  

Never understood why they don't have (say) four small batteries you can charge at the same time rather than one fat slow one???!!!


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 19:17 | 2699515 Rusty Diggins
Rusty Diggins's picture

This time Obama is right... "I" did NOT build that.

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