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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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




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.

CIABS's picture

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

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!

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...

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!

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:

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.


Pladizow's picture

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

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.

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.


Pladizow's picture

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

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.


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.  

unemployed's picture

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

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 ;-)

CompassionateFascist's picture

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

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

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.

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."


AU5K's picture

Crony socialism at its worst.

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. 

I am Jobe's picture

Amerika is the most Ethical Nation- Sarc

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....

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

climber's picture

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

holdbuysell's picture

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

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?

FEDbuster's picture

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

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.


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.

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?

Harbanger's picture

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.... ;)

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?

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.


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?

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.