A Fisker Karma hybrid-electric luxury sedan set itself on fire earlier this evening as the owner went to purchase groceries, Jalopnik has exclusively learned. The cause of the fire is unknown but photos show extensive damage to the front left quadrant of the car.
This incident, which occurred in Woodside, California, is the second fire for the government-financed Fisker this summer. In May, a brand new Fisker was blamed for a house fire in Houston.
According to the Woodside Fire Department, the owner of the vehicle went into a store to get some groceries and came out to discover smoke pouring out of the vehicle. The owner then called the manufacturer who told him to call 911, which he did.
By the time fire crews arrived the front of the vehicle was mostly destroyed, although no one was hurt in the incident. Kyle Fehr, a Jalopnik reader who witnessed the aftermath, says the owner seemed upset.
Fisker recalled 239 Karmas in December for an improperly-positioned hose clamp that could allow coolant to leak into the battery compartment, causing an electrical short and potentially a fire. More vehicles were added to that recall in June, although its unclear if this vehicle was under that recall.
This is in addition to the battery issues and other technical problems for the $100,000 luxury car.
We've contacted the manufacturer for information on this latest fire.
UPDATE 1: As Dan Edmunds points out, the exhaust in the Karma doesn't exit from the rear like a normal car. The hybrid has a four-cylinder 2.0-liter engine from GM that charges the batteries that power the car and the exhausts exit in front of the doors. You can see the setup in these photos from Edmunds.
UPDATE 2: There's now video of the fire, which shows the vehicle burning as firefighters arrive. We also have a comment from Fisker:
We have confidence in the Fisker Karma. Safety is our primary concern and our Fisker staff have been in contact with the customer and are investigating the cause. We are also employing an independent fire investigation representative to assist in the root cause analysis. A further statement will be issued once the root cause has been determined.
(Hat tip to Kyle for the photos and Aaron Wood for the video!)