Fisker Recalls Karma Due to Fires
Fisker, a privately held maker of luxury plug-in hybrid cars that has received funding from the U.S. government, announced a recall of its Karma luxury sedan Saturday.
Plug-in electric vehicles have become a hot commodity since Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) released its wildly popular Roadster in 2008.
The recall is centered around a pair of mysterious fires, both of which started in the front left area of the vehicle.
ABC News cited a Fisker engineer who said:
"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."
The Karma has had a troubled past before this recent recall. Over 200 of the approximately 1000 Karmas on the road have been recalled for one reason or another.
As part of a push towards green energy, the U.S. Department of Energy granted Fisker a $529 million loan in 2009. The company claims they have only drawn about $193M -- the rest of the funds have been frozen following a Senate investigation into the loan and the ownership links between Qatar and Fisker.
The loan was to allow Fisker to purchase a former General Motors (NYSE: GM) plant in Delaware to produce the Karma and a new vehicle targeted towards families. The plant is projected to create up to 1500 new jobs, saving many of those lost after GM ended its operations.
Interestingly enough, Fisker poached GM's former head of its Volt division, Tony Posawatz, for its CEO spot. His experience in hybrid-electric vehicles made him a prime candidate for the position. What makes this an important development isn't just the fact that Fisker is poaching top talent from GM, but the fact that the Volt has had trouble with battery fires as well. Ironic that Fisker grabbed Posawatz in the middle of an investigation concerning fires, only to run into the same problems themselves.
Fisker has reportedly delivered over 1900 Karmas, with sales topping $100M through April.
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