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DATE News (chronologically)
05/14/12
automotive
Fisker fires back, refutes expert's theory on garage blaze
So what caused the Sugar Land, Texas, garage fire this week that destroyed a Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid and two other cars?

The local fire inspector told Autoweek that the fire started in the Karma, but said he didn't know the exact cause. On Thursday, EV expert Jon Bereisa suggested to me that the Karma's cramped engine-bay packaging could have created conditions that led to the blaze.

Now Fisker Automotive has fired back, refuting Bereisa's speculation in a detailed statement to Automotive News.

As I noted in a Friday blog, Bereisa said the Karma's tight engine compartment packaging could result in a "thermal condition" and the car's possible inability to diffuse heat away from the engine bay and exhaust system.

Bereisa -- formerly chief engineer of the GM EV1 and systems architect of the Chevrolet Volt, and currently CEO of Auto Letrification LLC -- said: "That engine is shoehorned into that bay, because they had to use a larger engine, because it was too heavy a car. As a result, there's no room for exhaust routing and heat-shielding to route the heat away."

But Fisker says the thermal management of its Karma plug-in hybrid adequately diffuses heat in hot-weather and high-load conditions.

The company says the Karma passed safety certification following, "extreme testing of the vehicle, involving laboratory simulations of thermal incidents and on-the-road tests in extreme climate conditions… No incidents of any kind involving engine systems were found." More at autonews.com

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