Hurricane Sandy had absolutely devastating effects on the Northeast last week. And as we exclusively told you, that included a fire that destroyed 16 Fisker Karma plug-in hybrids in Port Newark, New Jersey.
Now, Fisker is saying that the entire shipment of cars that were in Newark are write offs. That's 300 cars worth a total of $30 million. Ouch.
The cars had just arrived from Europe and were waiting to be sent off to dealers. Fisker ships over the cars in bulk to save on shipping costs, and it seems that these ended up at the port at the wrong time.
We've also heard more about the fire from the company, which released this 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.
The "exploding" reference is to us, of course, because a witness told us there were explosions associated with the fires. When pressed to explain how they know there were no explosions, a spokesperson said NHTSA investigators determine that, but had no video to back up the claim.
Fisker had insured the cars and the $30 million loss is covered, but it is still a blow to the beleaguered automaker, since production and shipping is not an easy task and takes a while.
The company said that dealers still have cars, so customers can still get a Fisker if they so desire one. That also begs a question: If Fisker has inventory at dealers for its niche market cars, why is it bringing over $30 million more worth of cars?
(Hat Tip to Andrew!)