American Elephants

Woopsie! by The Elephant's Child

Just when the news about Chevy Volts’ having a minor habit of catching fire died down, Bloomberg reports that the very expensive, very high-profile, very highly subsidized Fisker Karma luxury extended-range hybrid’s battery manufacturer has revealed a “potential safety issue”  in the cooling system of the batteries that it makes for the car. The uncomfortable subtext in the news is the $529 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy that subsidizes the assembly of the very expensive, very high-profile cars in Finland, creating many new jobs in that country — not ours.

A123 Systems, a leading producer of Lithium-Ion batteries that supplies Daimler and General Motors in addition to Fisker, said that hose clamps connecting parts of the Karma battery pack’s internal cooling system were not aligned properly, creating a the potential for leakage of the coolant, which might cause overheating and also possibly short-circuit the batteries, causing a fire.

Because current Li-Ion batteries are flammable, battery temperature control and cooling is a critical process. Concerns over EV fire safety were raised when a crash-tested Volt later caught fire in a NHTSA facility. Short circuits caused by leaking battery coolant is suspected to be the cause. While GM uses a different battery supplier, LG Chem, for the Volt, A123 will be the battery vendor for the EV version of the Chevy Spark subcompact, to go on sale in 2013.

The luxury hybrid car company has shipped 225 of the $102,000 Karmas to Fisker dealers. The only one I know of that they sold went to Leonardo DiCaprio.  I just don’t quite grasp why taxpayers are subsidizing a $102,000 car. Though if I’d just bought one, I might be a little irritated if it caught on fire.

ADDENDUM: Fisker and the NHTSA have just announced a recall for 239 Karmas.
Within the high-voltage battery, certain hose clamps may have been positioned incorrectly during assembly. if positioned incorrectly, the battery compartment cover could interfere with the hose clamps, potentially causing a coolant leak from the cooling hoses.
Consequence: If coolant enters the battery compartment, an electrical short could occur possibly resulting in a fire
So if you have one of the new Karmas in your garage, you might want to get in touch with your dealer.

6 Comments so far
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Doesn’t Al Gore and John Kerry own a lot of stock in Fisker?


Comment by Spartan

I don’t know, but there seems to be an unfortunate pattern of people in Congress capitalizing on their knowledge of how upcoming government action is going to effect the stock price. I’m just appalled that the taxpayers are subsidizing a high-end company that is making $102,000 cars! They are good looking though.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Why both cars are igniting?

(The Karma will work much like the Chevrolet Volt, delivering 50 miles of all-electric range before the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine kicks in to drive a generator that will recharge the 22.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and provide juice to keep the car moving.

Although the Karma’s electric drivetrain is a proprietary system designed in conjunction with Quantum Technologies, the engine, air-conditioning system, steering column and other “bits and baubles” were pulled from the GM parts bin, says Fisker spokesman Russell Datz.

Fisker may be getting help from GM, but, like Tesla Motors, he’s bringing a new business model to the auto industry.)

Then there’s this,,,,how could anyone think that this WOULDN’T be a failure??

(In the nine months ended September 30, Tesla lost $31.5 million, down from a loss of $57.3 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue jumped to $93.4 million from $580,000. It has lost it a total of $236.4 million since its founding in 2003.

The company said it would continue to post losses until it begins making “significant” deliveries of its Model S sedan, which is not expected to launch until 2012, barring any delays in setting up an assembly plant – a process that has not yet begun.

But here’s the problem: Tesla will stop selling the zero-emissions Roadsters next year. The company, which has opened 10 dealerships worldwide the past two years and says it wants to open 40 more in the next few years, will have a long stretch with nothing for them to sell.)

How in the world could you ‘legally’ run your business like this? Out of this kind of numbskull thinking we have now gotten this, Solyndra and MF Global. God only knows what else?


Comment by Spartan

The major mall in Bellevue — across the lake from Seattle — is Bellevue Square, an increasingly high-end mall. Every time someone moves out, a higher-end store moves in. It is a two-story mall, and on the second floor is — a new Tesla dealer!!!! We haven’t even figured out how they got a car up there.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Have you been able to actually sit in it or get close? It’s probably one of those car beds?


Comment by Spartan

I haven’t seen it, my son has. It is definitely a Tesla. He used to work at the mall, and he can’t figure out how they got it up there.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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