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Thread: Fisker's plight continues...

  1. #1

    Fisker's plight continues...

    Approximately 16 of the $100,000+ Fisker Karma extended-range luxury hybrids were parked in Port Newark, New Jersey last night when water from Hurricane Sandy?s storm surge apparently breached the port and submerged the vehicles. As Jalopnik has exclusively learned, the cars then caught fire and burned to the ground.

    You can read the full story and pix here.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  2. #2
    Team Z8 jawz's Avatar
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    Heard about that this morning. I guess when the salt water bridged the gap on the high capacity battery terminals, the fires ensued. Not sure one can really blame Fisker's design/manufacturing for this though.
    Guess that just proves there exists both good Karma and bad Karma.

  3. #3
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    Hope they have good insurance.
    Marty

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  4. #4
    That is an incredible story!
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  5. #5
    Z8Mania
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    Whats incredible about it? Not believable or just wild incredible?

    I can tell you that the whole story isn't out - I hope Fisker will clear that up. I can't really say much more except that once again the media has done a poor job of actually reporting facts.

    My observation over many years is Jalopnik often writes entertaining stories but they may not be correct.

  6. #6
    Story aside, the pictures are sobering, those cars were cinderized while sitting in salt water! Makes me think of those magnesium burning on water experiments in the chem lab at school.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  7. #7
    Z8Mania
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    Yes it does. However, you have to wonder how they got those pictures when it appears the area was strictly off limits to "everyone"...... Just saying.....

  8. #8
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    I found it very interesting that water made the cars catch fire. There were plenty of submerged cars I saw on the news but none of them caught fire. Also, doesn't water usually extinguish fires? Just asking.
    Marty

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  9. #9
    DSC Off StuM's Avatar
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    Fisker

    Assume lots of disappointed pending customers for those cars. Yet, many probably have a lot more pressing problems right now, if they live in the area. We have close family there in the NJ-NYC area and they were hammered, but generally OK right now. Having lived through several hurricane events on the Gulf Coast, our hearts go out to them and wish them the best.
    Donate via the Red Cross if you can. I don't trust the numerous other supposed benefit organizations.

    Safe motoring,
    StuM
    StuM
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  10. #10
    Z8Mania
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    Thanks Stu. I tend to agree with you but there are so many on SI right now who are saying the Red Cross is not doing anything for them. Its hard to know what to believe. How is it that we can refuel a plane in mid air; we can drop supplies into a war zone half way around the world; and we can't seem to help OUR OWN PEOPLE RIGHT HERE AT HOME?!!! That really pisses me off.

    Marty, I'm no expert, but I believe salt water is a good conductor of electricity and some how it helped create a circuit out of (I am guessing here) the electrical equipment (battery) and that probably sparked a fire. Open questions- did all cars catch fire? Was it one that maybe started it? Is it possible this was some kind of human error? Im sure there are others. I take a skeptical view of stories like this because they don't really give much coverage to what happened. And its a big deal because its a low volume car maker. Like when you see a Ferrari on fire- its big news. When a Toyota catches on fire, no one blinks. That happens too.

    One thing I do know about water of any kind is that while its better than nothing to use to extinguish a fire, it doesn't always do that because a fire needs Oxygen and water contains Oxygen. Thats why fire extinguishers aren't water- they are usually a foam where the goal is to suffocate the supply of air (oxygen).

  11. #11
    Z8Mania
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    FYI - it seems Toyota's Prius is not immune to saltwater chaos.....

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012...-in-cars-burn/

    Mystery at Port Newark: Why Did 17 Plug-In Cars Burn?

    Amid all the damage left in Hurricane Sandy?s wake is an automotive whodunit, or rather, what-dunit? What caused more than a million dollars-worth of plug-in hybrid vehicles, including 16 Fisker Karma luxury sedans, to catch fire Monday night at Port Newark?

    Fisker, based in Anaheim, Calif., has had problems with vehicle fires in the past, including one incident this year that prompted the recall of more than 2,000 Karmas to replace a faulty cooling fan.

    But the circumstances during the big storm were clearly unusual, raising the question of whether this latest incident is a sign of design flaws, of possible risks associated with plug-in vehicles generally or simply a result of the abuses wrought by extremely rare weather conditions ? or some combination of the three.

    In a separate incident during the storm, three Toyota Prius hybrids at Port Newark also were damaged by fire. ?One Prius out and out burned, the others just kind of smoldered and got really hot,? Cindy Knight, a Toyota spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview on Thursday. The smoldering cars included a plug-in hybrid Prius and a conventional hybrid Prius. The car that burned was a plug-in. That?s three cars out of the 4,000 Toyotas that were at Port Newark during the storm, including more than 2,128 plug-in or hybrid models. According to Ms. Knight, the fire ?likely started because saltwater got into the electrical system.?

    ?We can?t be certain exactly what happened at the port,? Russell Datz, a Fisker spokesman, said in a telephone interview. ?But we think being submerged in 13 feet of saltwater had something to do with it.? The company said the cars were not charging at the time of the fire and there were no injuries.

    Based on photographs of the scene obtained by the blog Jalopnik, Fisker?s cars were parked fairly close together, so whatever the initial cause, a fire in one car could quickly spread to others. The cars are made of aluminum, which has a lower melting point than steel, and experts said this would likely contribute to the destruction seen in the photographs. And for any modern cars loaded with electronic components, exposure to saltwater can be a problem because it is highly corrosive and conductive.

    ?Picture a charged AA battery,? suggested Daniel Abraham, a lithium-ion battery expert and chemical scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. ?If you connect the positive and negative terminals with a wire, it will short the battery and generate tremendous heat in the process.?

    Seawater can act like that wire. ?The conductivity of saltwater is much, much higher than that of freshwater because of all the salt,? Mr. Abraham said. Salts dissolved in water break into positively and negatively charged ions, which then act as conductors. So if seawater connects both the positive and negative electrical terminals of a battery, it will tend to short.

    ?These were definitely extraordinary circumstances,? Ms. Knight said. ?Once the salt gets in there, it?s ready to do damage.? Corrosion from the salt can damage wiring, for example, and the harness that holds the wiring, elevating the risk for fire, she said.

    ?This is a very large facility that inspects the vehicles, installs any accessories,? Ms. Knight said. ?There?s seaweed everywhere, all kinds of stuff that came floating in.?

    Although lithium catches fire in water, this volatile reaction would almost certainly not be the culprit here because the lithium is sealed inside the Karma?s battery cells, a transportation research engineer who tests plug-in vehicles said in an interview Thursday. ?The fact that these cars have big batteries in them may or may not have contributed to the issue. Any electrical system can short and cause a fire ? it doesn?t need a high-voltage battery pack for that to happen.? He spoke on the condition of anonymity because his company does not allow employees to be named in the media.

    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey did not respond to questions about the fires.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Z8Mania View Post
    Whats incredible about it? Not believable or just wild incredible.
    Put the Fiskers on fire story into the wild incredible category. In hindsight, all of the right elements for a fire were present. I just didn't anticipate that type of collateral damage via Sandy.

    I hope the relief efforts are taking hold.
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  13. #13
    Z8Mania
    Guest
    Yeah its pretty crazy.