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Entries in Fisker (4)

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

Wednesday
May302012

Fisker May Never Build Electric Cars in US

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The luxury carmaker Fisker Automotive continues to signal it could ditch plans to build its next generation hybrid electric vehicle in the United States, despite the nearly $200 million in Obama administration loan money it has already received.

Fisker received federal funds 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 the clean-burning gas-electric family car, known as the Atlantic.

But company executives began hinting in February that it would reconsider that plan and look for a cheaper place to build the car after the Department of Energy froze the $529 million green-energy loan the company had received, and had been drawing on since 2010.

Fisker used the first $169 million in taxpayer funds to bring to market the Karma, a flashy $100,000 hybrid sports sedan that it assembles in Finland. After a series of delays and stumbles, the company announced it had sold its first 1,000 Karmas, bringing in $100 million in revenues so far this year. The sleek, high-end model has been well received by critics, and the company reported this week it has started to sell in Europe, and could soon be on sale in the Middle East.

Earlier this year, one of the Karmas stopped working in the middle of a Consumer Reports road test -- an embarrassing breakdown that Fisker later blamed on a faulty battery. The lithium-ion batteries became the subject of a recall, including for a defect that raised the risk of fires.

More recently, one of the high-priced cars went up in flames in the garage of its Texas owner. Fisker said the car was unplugged at the time of the fire and the battery pack was intact and still working after the blaze -- all clear indications, they said, that neither the car nor its battery had anything to do with the fire. A spokeswoman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told ABC News the agency is "aware of the incident and is working with local authorities to evaluate whether there are any potential safety implications."

The U.S. Department of Energy has said little about its decision to freeze the balance of Fisker's loan, which was intended to pay for the development of the Atlantic. The department confirmed it hired a restructuring advisor to study the terms of the agreement and assess the performance of the company.

"The Department continues to review Fisker's financial and operating status and is working with the company to review its revised business plan, but no decisions have been made," an Energy Department official said in response to questions from ABC News.

Roger Ormisher, a Fisker spokesman, acknowledged that Fisker had failed to meet the government's milestones for the rollout of the Karma, and that those delays "put us into the process of negotiation with the DoE, who put further monies on hold until we could settle on mutually agreeable milestones" for the rollout of the next car.

It now appears that the company's decision about where to assemble the Atlantic could hinge on whether it will continue to receive federal support. ABC News asked Ormisher if Fisker still felt bound to manufacture the car in Delaware if federal funds were no longer available, or if the company would look for a cost-effective location in or outside the U.S. to build the car.

"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," Ormisher said. "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."

Fisker appears to be preparing for the possibility it will need to move forward without further government support. The company has continued an aggressive push for outside investors.

"It is important to note that Fisker Automotive's success is not dependent on government money," Ormisher said. "We are primarily privately funded, having raised more than $1 billion in private equity financing since 2007."

One of the company's major backers is the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, according to published reports. The firm's partners include John Doerr, a billionaire tech mogul who serves on President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

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







ABC News Radio