Business

Obama-backed Fisker hybrids ‘burn down,’ ‘explode’ after Sandy submersion

Around sixteen extended-range luxury hybrid vehicles made by government-backed Fisker Automotive parked in Port Newark, N.J., caught fire and “exploded,” after surging water from Hurricane Sandy breached the port and submerged the vehicles, Jaloplink.com reported.

Our source told Jaloplink.com that the vehicles were “first submerged in a storm surge and then caught fire, exploded.” No injuries have been reported, and the root cause of the burning vehicles has yet to be determined.

“It was reported today that several Fisker Karmas were damaged by fire at the Port of Newark after being submerged in sea water during Superstorm Sandy,” Fisker Automotive said in a statement. “We can report that there were no injuries and none of the cars were being charged at the time.”

“We have confidence in the Fisker Karma and safety is our primary concern,” the statement continued. “While we intend to find the cause as quickly as possible, storm damage has restricted access to the port. We will issue a further statement once the root cause has been determined.”

However, this isn’t the first instance of Fisker vehicles catching fire, as two Fisker Karmas have previously caught fire — first at a home in Houston, Texas and the second on the roadside in Woodside, California. No reason was given for the first incident, but the company determined the second was caused by a faulty cooling fan.

In the wake of the second fire, Fisker recalled 1,400 Karmas that were already privately owned and another 1,000 that had yet to be sold — the third recall the company had issued in nine months, according to Wired.

“This incident resulted from a single, faulty component, not our unique EVer powertrain or the engineering of the Karma,” Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Henrik Fisker said in a release. “As this situation demonstrates, Fisker Automotive is dedicated to doing whatever is necessary to address safety and quality concerns.”

Fisker received a $529 million Department of Energy loan guarantee in 2010 and drew down on $193 million of the loan and the rest is contingent on the company reaching sales targets on its luxury Karmas.

The company has faced numerous challenges, with the most recent being its battery-maker A123 Systems declaring bankruptcy in last month and has previously received $249.1 million from the federal government as part of the stimulus package.

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