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Entries in Electric Car (5)

Monday
Aug202012

Fisker Issues Second Recall of Electric Car

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After the second of two mysterious fires in a Karma sedan, the government-backed electric car-maker Fisker has initiated a voluntary recall of its luxury vehicles.

In a statement, Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher said that Fisker engineers and an independent fire expert had "identified the root cause" of a fire that swept through a Karma parked outside a Woodside, Calif., grocery store on Aug. 10.

"The investigation located the ignition source to the left front of the Karma, forward of the wheel, where the low-temperature cooling fan is located," said the statement. "The final conclusion was that this sealed component had an internal fault that caused it to fail, overheat and start a slow burning fire."

Fisker announced a voluntary recall "with respect to this cooling fan unit" and said it had already contacted its retailers.

As first reported by Jalopnik.com, the owner found the vehicle burning in the parking lot when he returned from shopping. At the time, the Woodside Fire Department said the immediate cause of the blaze appeared to be "heat from powered equipment," and firefighters cut the car's battery cable after putting out the fire. Woodside Fire Chief Dan Ghiorso told ABC News that the origin of the fire appeared to be inside the engine compartment, though Fisker said in a statement that it was determined to be outside the compartment in an area "forward of the driver's side front tire."

Ghiorso said Monday that he did not dispute Fisker's new findings about the origin of the blaze. The fire did not cause any injuries but did cause damage to an adjacent vehicle, according to the Woodside Fire Department.

The fire is the second mysterious blaze in a Fisker Karma in 2012. Earlier this year, a Fisker Karma parked in the garage of a Sugar Land, Texas, home caught fire, destroying a portion of the residence. Fire officials blamed the electric vehicle for the fire, according to media reports, but Fisker contended that neither the car nor its battery had anything to do with the fire, since the car was unplugged at the time of the fire and the battery pack was intact and still working after the blaze.

In March, another Karma broke down in the middle of a Consumer Reports road test, a failure that Fisker later said was due to a faulty battery.

More than 250 Fisker Karmas, out of the more than 1,000 that the company says are on the road, have been subject to a recall over the last year due to problems with the cars' lithium ion batteries that could have led to fires in the $102,000 cars.

Monday's statement from Fisker noted that its independent experts had determined the Woodside fire "was not caused by the lithium-ion battery pack."

In 2010, the Department of Energy awarded Fisker a $529 million green-energy loan, in part to help purchase a shuttered General Motors plant in Delaware, where it predicted it would one day employ 2,000 auto workers to assemble a clean-burning gas-electric family car, known as the Atlantic.

Fisker collected nearly $200 million until February this year, when the government froze the loan because the company was failing to meet the government's milestones. Most of those federal funds went into bringing the Karma, which Fisker assembles in Finland, to the U.S. market.

Company executives began hinting in February that Fisker would reconsider its plan and look for a cheaper place to build the Atlantic, despite the federal funding it received to build in the U.S.

"If Fisker no longer gets government monies, then obviously we are in a place where other options are open to us and have to be considered from a business perspective," Roger Ormisher told ABC News in May. "However, given the work that we have done at the plant in Delaware and the fact that we own it, it is still our primary option to consider."

Ormisher reiterated to ABC News earlier this month that Delaware "is still very much our first choice. We own it. We've cleared it out. We've actually made it production-ready." Ormisher also said that negotiations with the DOE were ongoing. "We're hoping for a conclusion fairly soon," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug142012

Fisker Investigating Another Fire in Karma Electric Car

File photo. Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WOODSIDE, Calif.) -- Fisker Automotive is investigating the cause of a fire that broke out in one of its Karma luxury hybrid sports sedans last week, the second mysterious blaze in a Karma and the latest setback for the Obama administration-backed electric car maker amid continuing questions over whether it will ditch plans to build vehicles in the United States -- despite tens of millions of taxpayer dollars the administration funnelled to the company.

Fisker announced Monday that it had hired independent investigators from the Pacific Rim Investigative Group to work alongside its engineers to determine the exact cause of the fire, which occurred Friday in Woodside, California, near Palo Alto.

According to Jalopnik.com, which first reported the story, the Karma's owner discovered his car ablaze in a grocery store parking lot after finishing shopping.

The fire did not cause any injuries but did cause damage to an adjacent vehicle, according to the Woodside Fire Department. The immediate cause of the blaze appeared to be, "heat from powered equipment," according to the fire department, which cut the car's battery cable after putting out the fire.

Woodside Fire Chief Dan Ghiorso told ABC News that the origin of the fire appeared to be inside the engine compartment, though Fisker said in a statement that it was determined to be outside the compartment in an area, "forward of the driver's side front tire."

Earlier this year, a Fisker Karma parked in the garage of a Sugar Land, Texas home caught fire, destroying a portion of the residence. Fire officials blamed the electric vehicle for the fire, according to media reports, but Fisker contended that neither the car nor its battery had anything to do with the fire, since the car was unplugged at the time of the fire and the battery pack was intact and still working after the blaze.

In March, another Karma broke down in the middle of a Consumer Reports road test, a failure that Fisker later said was due to a faulty battery.

More than 250 Fisker Karmas, out of the more than 1,000 that the company says are on the road, have been subject to a recall over the last year due to problems with the cars' lithium ion batteries that could have led to fires in the $102,000 cars.

In 2010, the Department of Energy awarded Fisker a $529 million green-energy loan, in part to help purchase a shuttered General Motors plant in Delaware, where it predicted it would one day employ 2,000 auto workers to assemble a clean-burning gas-electric family car, known as the Atlantic.

Fisker collected nearly $200 million until February this year, when the government froze the loan because the company was failing to meet the government's milestones. Most of those federal funds went into bringing the Karma, which Fisker assembles in Finland, to the U.S. market.

Company executives began hinting in February that Fisker would reconsider its plan and look for a cheaper place to build the Atlantic, despite the federal funding it received to build in the U.S.

"If Fisker no longer gets government monies, then obviously we are in a place where other options are open to us and have to be considered from a business perspective," Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher told ABC News in May. "However, given the work that we have done at the plant in Delaware and the fact that we own it, it is still our primary option to consider."

Ormisher did not immediately respond to a request for further comment on Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar092012

Bad Karma: Fisker Electric Car Dies During Road Test

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The government-backed electric car maker Fisker Automotive has encountered its share of speed bumps financially -- announcing in recent weeks that it would have to lay off some workers and suspend work on a more affordable electric-gas hybrid version of its new luxury sports sedan, the Karma.

But since unveiling the $107,000 Fisker Karma, the car conceptualized by legendary designer Henrik Fisker, the sleek and quiet vehicle has received mostly rave reviews from auto experts, enthusiasts, and several of those who have bought the 2,000 cars that have so far come off the line.

When Consumer Reports took the car out for a test spin recently, however, the Karma did not perform as planned. The consumer company bought a Karma from a dealer for the purpose of putting it to the test. And in a video now posted on its website, Consumer Reports auto engineer Tom Mutchler explains what happened.

"It is low, it is sleek, it is sensuous. It's also broken. Right here in the middle of our driveway. The car doesn't go in gear. It doesn't move," he says.

The new car had to be towed away.

A Fisker spokesman tells ABC News the dealer that sold Consumer Reports its Karma "immediately arranged for the car to be picked up and diagnosed by trained service technicians."

"Our engineers are in contact with the retailer and are working closely with them to understand the cause and resolve the issue so they can return the car to their customer quickly," said Roger Ormisher, Fisker's spokesman.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct192011

Back to the Future: DeLorean Plans an Electric Car

A DeLorean sports car, refitted with an electric motor. The DeLorean Motor Company of Humble, Texas, hopes to sell custom-made electric DeLoreans by 2013. Grenex Media/Handout(HUMBLE, Texas) -- "Marty, you've got to come back with me! Back to the future!"

It is one of those great bits from film history -- Doc Brown, the mad genius inventor from 1985's Back to the Future, builds a time machine out of that iconic-but-failed sports car of the early 1980s, the DeLorean DMC-12.

There is still a DeLorean Motor Co. of Humble, Texas, which supplies parts and occasionally builds new cars for DeLorean lovers, and it has now announced a new version -- a DeLorean powered entirely by electricity.

"The car of the future has really become the car of the future," joked James Espey, a vice president at DeLorean, which has about 60 employees.

So far, said Espey, the company has retrofitted one car with an electric motor. If all goes well, he said, the company would start selling built-to-order electric DeLoreans around 2013. The sticker price (if a custom-built car can have a sticker): about $90,000.

The original DeLorean, with its brushed stainless-steel body and gull-wing doors, still looks futuristic to those who are fond of it, and Espey said it has turned out to be a good base on which to build an electric vehicle. The aluminum engine in the rear is replaced with an electric motor, batteries fill the front, and the car balances well.

Espey said he expects the final car will have the equivalent of 260 hp, be able to hit 125 mph, and have a range of at least 70 miles on a single charge.

No, there's no flux capacitor or Mr. Fusion (go watch the movie again if you don't get the joke), but the batteries will be made by a California company called Flux Power.

The DeLorean was famous well before Michael J. Fox, as Marty McFly, drove it at 88 mph in the Back to the Future films, and it has endured since. John DeLorean's company made about 9,000 cars before it went bankrupt in 1982, and Espey says about 7,500 of them still exist. Stephen Wynne, a car-loving entrepreneur, revived the name in 1995. John DeLorean, a once high-flying General Motors executive before he started his own company, struggled in his later years and died in 2005.

The company has been making eight to 10 made-to-order DeLoreans per year with gasoline engines and a price of $57,500. Espey said it is not yet taking orders for the electric version -- the single prototype is playfully called Version 0.9 -- until it is confident it has all the details worked out.

"But we're getting a lot of good feedback," Espey said. "People are offering to make deposits."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Sep172011

Toyota Unveils New Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Mark Renders/Getty Images(RICHMOND, Calif.) -- Toyota unveiled the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid at the annual Green Drive Expo in Richmond, Va. Friday.

The newest member of the Prius family features the benefits of the standard Prius model's hybrid vehicle operation, more affordable pricing than pure electric or range-extender type vehicles and a quick home charging option that uses a standard AC outlet.

The 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid seats five is slated to achieve 87 miles per gallon equivalent in combined driving and 49 mpg in hybrid mode. In keeping with the continuity of former Prius models, the new Prius will feature the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system that seamlessly shifts the car into hybrid operation at a pre-determined state of battery charge

More than one million Prius models have been sold in the U.S. since the first-generation model was introduced for model-year 2001.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio