Fisker, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has determined that the fire that burned 16 Karma hybrids parked in Port Newark following Superstorm Sandy was the result of the vehicles being submerged in five- to eight-feet of seawater for several hours.
As you may recall, a total of 16 Fisker Karmas sustained fire damage shortly after Superstorm Sandy made landfall late last month. Both Fisker and the NHTSA investigated the incident, with the findings being made public on Tuesday.
According to Fisker, the 16-car blaze was actually the result of just one vehicle catching fire. The salt water compromised the Vehicle Control Unit in one of the Karmas submerged by floodwaters, causing a short circuit. That short circuit sparked a fire, which spread to the other 15 Karmas parked nearby because of high winds.
Although the Karma's lithium-ion battery pack was initially blamed for the fire, the short circuit actually occurred in the car's 12V system, which is powered by a typical car battery.
Fisker also noted that there were no explosions as had be inaccurately reported by some news outlets.
Fisker wasn't alone in investigating vehicles fires at Port Newark following Superstorm Sandy. Several other non-hybrid and hybrid vehicles also caught fire after the storm, including a Toyota Prius and a Prius plug-in.