Last week Hurricane Sandy caused millions of dollars worth of damage in the Northeast of the United States. There was even a fire in Port Newark, New Jersey that destroyed 16 Fisker Karma plug-in hybrids.
Fisker said that the entire shipment of cars (300 vehicles) that were in Newark are write-offs worth a total of around $300 million.
The cars were sent from Europe and was waiting to be sent to dealers. Fisker ships the cars in bulk to save on shipping costs. The vehicles ended up at the port at the wrong time.
Fisker sent out the following statement:
On October 30, following Superstorm Sandy, several electric hybrid and non-hybrid cars from a variety of manufacturers caught fire and were damaged in separate incidents after flood waters receded at Port Newark (NJ), including 16 award-wining Fisker Karmas. Port Newark is one of the largest vehicle handling facilities in the U.S., and many thousands of vehicles of many makes and models were severely damaged as a result of the unprecedented flooding.
After a thorough inspection witnessed by NHTSA representatives, Fisker engineers determined that the damage to the Karmas was the result of the cars being submerged under five to eight feet of seawater for several hours that left corrosive salt in a low-voltage Vehicle Control Unit in one Karma. The Vehicle Control Unit is a standard component found in many types of vehicles and is powered by a typical 12V car battery. This residual salt damage caused a short circuit, which led to a fire that heavy winds then spread to other Karmas parked nearby. There were no explosions as had been inaccurately reported. The Karma’s lithium-ion batteries were ruled out as a cause or contributing factor.
The Fisker Karma meets or exceeds all safety requirements for markets in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Fisker Automotive is the leading manufacturer of luxury Electric Vehicles with extended range and will continue to develop and market vehicles that deliver an unmatched combination of style, performance and economy.
Fisker insured the cars and the $30 million loss is covered, but there was a lot of effort put into building the vehicles and shipping them. Fisker said that dealers still have cars so customers can still buy one.