2012 Fisker Karma
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"Our technologies and engine design have been fully tested and certified at the highest level. It is irresponsible and ill-informed for technology pundits to suggest otherwise in order to secure media attention for unfounded claims."

So says Paul Boskovitch, director of powertrain at Fisker, in response to reports that the Karma's tight engine bay packaging may be the reason one car was blamed for a garage fire in Texas. Those statements have been attributed to Jon Bereisa, CEO of Auto Lectrification. Lending credence to the theory is the fact that Bereisa formerly served as chief engineer for the General Motors EV1 and systems architect for the Chevrolet Volt.

While Bereisa isn't exactly what we'd call an 'ill-informed technology pundit', Fisker has provided an in-depth defense of its Karma sedan in a statement provided to Automotive News. You can read more about it here, but the gist is that the car has been thoroughly tested and engineered not to bust into flames – as you might expect of any new car – and that it has been "fully tested and certified at the highest level."

In any case, we're willing to wage a significant sum that we'll be hearing more from all sides of the argument in due time.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 40 Comments
      PR
      • 3 Months Ago
      The Ford Pinto also met 100% of all automotive regulations of the day. That didn't make it immune from starting on fire. I think it is good that Fisker is openly addressing the questions at hand. But the attitude that their car is immune from lighting on fire just because they tested it and met engineering standards is a bad attitude to have. The issues brought up by Beresia were all 100% valid issues, which is why Fisker's response includes a number of mitigating actions that Fisker took during design and production to address these exact same issues that Beresia brought up. Clearly Fisker's own engineers came to a similar conclusion about the engine bay as Beresia, otherwise they wouldn't have bothered with the additional heat shielding, component placement, coolant selection, and added cooling after shutdown. It is nice that they tested it, but even the best tested system sometimes fails in real life for a dozen different reasons. And the more items they listed as items they used to mitigate the tight engine compartment, the more items that could have failed for various reasons. If they want to stop folks from speculating, they should be more transparent about their investigation. Speculation is the price of Fisker not being transparent with their investigation.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Months Ago
        @PR
        Marco Polo @PR, Jon Bereisa's 'issues' were not 100% correct, but displayed a lack of knowledge of the Karma's design and layout ! Highly generalised opinion about the Karma being to heavy or the the engine compartment being cramped are not particularly usefully. Both are obvious features of the car, in common with many cars of it's type. Diagnosing the wrong type of coolant, and inaccurately describing the engine layout, coupled with never having visited the fire scene, shows Jon Bereisa's opinion to be just speculative, not as you would have people believe, definitive !
        SVX pearlie
        • 3 Months Ago
        @PR
        "Clearly Fisker's own engineers came to a similar conclusion about the engine bay as Beresia," It's also why Fisker was able to rule out the battery pack in their initial release, but conspicuously did NOT rule out the ICE.
          SVX pearlie
          • 3 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          retard, what part of "possible fraud or malicious intent" doesn't mean arson?
          SVX pearlie
          • 3 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          You never seem to stop kissing Fisker's ass, do you? You're still going on with your made-up phony "investigation" crap. The Fire Chief has spoken, and the Fisker was the origin. That sets default, and forms the basis for fact in a court of law. The rest is completely irrelevant if it didn't cause the fire. As for shutting up, start with yourself. Fisker used their press release to accuse the owner of arson. That's libel and slander. It's simply not their place to make any such comment.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          @ SVX pearlie It's bad enough you being an uninformed bigot, but you persist with posting incorrect information just because you are lazy or malicious. Fort Bend Fire Chief (Marshal) hasn't skin at all except to say that the investigation is ongoing ! The man you mean is his employee, the Chief Fire Investigator for Fort Bend County Bob Barker who has changed his mind at least three times, initially said, [quote] “This looks just like golf cart fires we have down here, the suburban Houston area has approximately 50 golf cart fires a year, I've worked homicide scenes with less secrecy. There have to be about 15 engineers down here working on this one. [/quote] Fisker's press release did not accuse anyone of arson, what Fisker did say was, [quote] There are conflicting reports and uncertainty surrounding this particular incident. The cause of the fire is not yet known and is being investigated. We have not yet seen any written report form the Fort Bend fire department and believe that their investigation is continuing. As of now, multiple insurance investigators are involved, and have not ruled out possible fraud or malicious intent. We are aware that fireworks were found in the garage in or around the vehicles. Also, an electrical panel located in the garage next to the vehicles is also being examined by the investigators as well as fire department officials. Based on initial observations and inspections, the Karma's lithium ion battery pack was not being charged at the time and is still intact and does not appear to have been a contributing factor in this incident. Fisker will continue to participate fully in the investigation but will not be commenting further until all the facts are established. [/quote] It give me no joy making a fool of you. Save everyone embarrassment, of witnessing your ignorance. If you want to argue, get your facts straight, (or in your case, get some facts) before posting your stupid venom.
          marcopolo
          • 3 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          @ SVX pearlie You never stop being wrong do you? First of all you announced that the Bob Barker was right with his "golf cart' theory, then you say it's legal in Fort Bend to store fireworks in a garage. You'd think that might make you do a little homework before commenting again, but no, you continue even using the term 'ecoturd' about EV owners! In your latest effort of spite, you fail to understand that all fire investigations include the possibility of arson and fraud as a matter of standard procedure. (Especially, in a county famous for arson attacks). If you don't know anything, you should just keep quiet ! There are 300,000 automobile fires in the US each year. Only 3-4% are caused by accidents. 16% are acts of fraud or arson ! There is no libel, and no slander in investigating anyone. (It's included in all insurance policies! ). I dunno, maybe an EV or a Fisker ran over your dog, or maybe the Fisker Karma makes you inferior, but stop inaccurate posting bile, posing as comment !
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Months Ago
        @PR
        @PR, Jon Bereisa's 'issues' were not 100% correct, but displayed a lack of knowledge of the Karma's design and layout ! Highly generalised opinion about the Karma being to heavy or the the engine compartment being cramped are not particularly usefully. Both are obvious features of the car, in common with many cars of it's type. Diagnosing the wrong type of coolant, and inaccurately describing the engine layout, coupled with never having visited the fire scene, shows Jon Bereisa's opinion to be just speculative, not as you would have people believe, definitive !
        EZEE
        • 3 Months Ago
        @PR
        Their PR (not you) has been a bit poor. I wrote a sample statement for them, but basically, say you are concerned, you are investigating, you won't stop until you find out, you feel for the family affected (but don't apologize - lawyers look at that as an admission of guilt), and you take pride in your operations. Done. Pointing out the battery pack was intact was fine (amazing, really), but then one says, 'then what caused such a horrific fire?'
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Months Ago
      He also didn't know that the engine bay has a cooling fan to extract heat.
      krona2k
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fisker should probably stay quiet for now. If it does turn out to be the car at fault they're going to look even worse after all these statements.
        marcopolo
        • 3 Months Ago
        @krona2k
        @Krona2k, The question isn't really about whether the Karma cased the fire, but why? Three possibilities exist, 1)The fire was caused by something that had nothing to do with the Karma. (Arson, wrong coolant, static build up etc..) 2) The fire was caused by a freak component failure. 3) The Karma has an inherent design defect. Statistically, things like wheel arch fires, tyres , static build-up, cigarettes left burning, etc, (9%), Arson, or malicious activity, (23%), collisions,( 2%) , electrical/mechanical component failure (61%), Design fault (2%) unresolved (3%). [ FAR division of NFPA] According to those statistics, compiled from over 300,000 auto fires in the US each year, the most likely explanation is a component failure, followed by Arson (fraud), or just bad luck ! If it turns out to be a component failure, it's very important that Fisker discovers the faulty part, and ensures that it's a one off. Although hard for a small company, and very bad publicity, the Karma can survive such a finding. A design defect would be harder to survive. the image of the car would be badly damaged. Actually, a component failure would probably be less disruptive than a freak circumstance, giving rise to conspiracy theories. But Fisker's lucky, Karma buyers tend to be more forgiving than family sedan types.!
          Anne
          • 3 Months Ago
          @marcopolo
          "300,000 auto fires in the US each year" That's all you need to know. This single Karma generates more outrage than the 299,999.
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Months Ago
      @Ezee, Fisker has done nothing wrong in it's handling of the fire investigation. Jeremy Gutierrez, is no poor consumer, but a corporate president, with a high priced, very litigious law firm used to handling insurance cases. Within hours of the fire this law firm had commenced an aggressive preparation for the Gutierrez family. Look at it from Fisker's ( and the various insurance companies) point of view. Fort Bend County has an abnormally high rate of arson. Fort Bend's fire investigator initially, (and publicly) states the fire is caused by the Karma, in the same way the same "as 50 other 'golf cart' fires" ! Only when Fiskers team, (and the insurers own investigators) arrive and establish that the battery or charging systems on the Karma could not have caught fire, does Fort Bend fire investigator Bob Barker, change his mind. Barker gets very resentful when after disproving the 'golf cart' theory, Fiskers investigators reveal other irregularities absent in Barkers report, including unlawfully stored fireworks and non-standard electrical fittings. Naturally, J. Gutierrez's Lawyers get very aggressive for their client, as such irregularities may void the Gutierrez insurance policies. This would leave Fisker as the main target for litigation. Fiskers insurers would also insist on a very thorough investigation. The procedures taken by the Fisker team, are standard procedures followed by forensic fire scene investigators. Joe Gutierrez is unidentified as a potential victim of arson by one insurer, and his business finances are being investigated by another insurer. This is standard procedure. (especially for residents of Sugarland ) . Fisker has to be even more wary, when it's revealed that the same law firm representing Jeremy Gutierrez, also represents Western Indemnity Insurance. Jeremy Gutierrez attitude toward Fiskers experts, is understandable. Incidents like these are never pleasant and insurance claims are always messy.
      SVX pearlie
      • 3 Months Ago
      I'm sorry, but "bunker mentality" or not, accusing the owner of arson & fraud in a formal press release is straight out libel and slander. I hope the former owner sues and wins MILLIONS in damages.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fisker needs to calm down a bit. We all realize that these guys are just making their own educated-guesses. Fisker is being so aggressive that you start to get the "Methinks the lady doth protest too much" feeling.
        JakeY
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Between this and the "fraud and malicious intent" from their previous press release, I think their PR people are a bit moody right now given all the unnecessary personal attacks they are making.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Just say it, Spec, it's okay. They got their panties in a bundle.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      I seriously feel like opening a commenting account on here named 'bieber's hot new ride'
      lad
      • 2 Years Ago
      All these comments kind of beg questions: Should DOE risk more tax-payer money to support a car that appears to be a white elephant that won't work in the real world? Perhaps DOE should cut 'em loose and save the money. I think that if the company goes **** Up, someone will pick up the pieces and bring it back as a foreign company...Chinese, maybe. Other than a good body style, the car is too heavy and too expensive. And, the last question....how many more problems can a buyer of the car expect for his $100,000.00?
        SVX pearlie
        • 3 Months Ago
        @lad
        "how many more problems can a buyer of the car expect for his $100,000.00?" Given that the Fisker literally burned itself to the ground, the only remaining problem would be salvage/disposal.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          @SVX pearlie Why do you bother posting this ill-informed rubbish ? Your comments are always negative and hatred toward EV technology is obvious. It wouldn't be so bad if you at least contributed some accurate information. But since everything you write is either wrong, distorted or abusive, why do you continue ? I'm sure there must be some Fox news type of website where your efforts would be more appreciated.
          SVX pearlie
          • 3 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          No, retard, it appears that your reading comprehension is lacking. No, my issue is with bad engineering, not EVs. I have no quarrel with a well-engineered vehicle. And it is obvious that the Fisker is a poorly-engineered car, so it naturally receives my contempt. It is also obvious that Fisker management is a bunch of tools, and they receive similar contempt based on their behaviour. It's OK to be abusive if you're "for" EVs? It's OK to libel and slander people if you're "green"? Is that the message, you F-ing hypocrite? You're free to go F off any time.
        lad
        • 3 Months Ago
        @lad
        I would really like to like this car; It's nicely styled and I understand it handles well. it's not that I'm against It in a general sense. I actually drive a Leaf. But, the Fisker is really not an EV, it uses a gasoline engine generator in a serial mode to extend it's range and gets poor gasoline mileage. My hope is that EVs will be powered by electric batteries and not a derivative of foreign oil.
        PR
        • 3 Months Ago
        @lad
        Not a single penny of the funds yet to be released will go towards the Karma. 100% of the remaining funds go to the Atlantic and other Nina-based variants. So there is your answer. Personally, I think Fisker should make the Karma into a very limited edition vehicle, and only build around 2,000 of them like Tesla built Roadsters. And BMW built Mini's. Both of which had their own issues that had to be solved, but are now putting out much better 2nd generation vehicles like the Model S and the E-Active. Do you think that as a company that BMW is worthless because they had some problems in the electric Mini that they had to solve before moving forward? Forget about BMW and sell the company to the Chinese? Same thing for Tesla. They had problems with the Roadster, but forget Tesla and sell the company to the Chinese? The Roadster was too heavy and too expensive also. Fisker just needs to fix their problems, and stop being equally as mindlessly reactionary as people like you are. Unfortunately, people like you with a political axe to grind who use companies like Fisker as your political pawns without any care for what they build have poisoned the atmosphere and have forced Fisker into needlessly over-defensive position. Take your politics elsewhere, and let an American car company like Fisker succeed without trying to abuse them for political attacks.
      PR
      • 3 Months Ago
      I agree that their public relations on this has sucked. but in Fisker's defense, they aren't in anything like a normal public relations situation. They are pawns being drug into a multi-billion dollar presidential election fight where one side will be perfectly happy to repeatedly lie about the EV industry at a whim. (You can silently decided for yourself which party you think that is.) Fisker's public relations team is out-gunned, and out-spent a thousand-to-one. They are pretty much being sent out to slaughter and whatever they do they have no chance. Still, I agree that the bunker-mentality is showing, and it is affecting their work.
      marcopolo
      • 3 Months Ago
      @LTW, Yes, lot's of other stuff also. Jon Bereisa may have a little bit of an axe to grind in his comments.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      "While Bereisa isn't exactly what we'd call an 'ill-informed technology pundit'..." Nobody called him that. Fisker stated that his action of making a comment was "irresponsible and ill-informed." There's a difference there. Likewise, Fisker has every right to state the facts on their side of the matter, especially when being accused of making potentially dangerous compromises in their design by Mr. Boskovitch. His decision to weigh in was unfortunate, because he only muddied the issue with his conjecture.
        Rotation
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        While I agree jumping to conclusions is bad on the anti-Fisker side, Fisker's attempt to sway the discussion to fireworks in the garage is equally bad. Both sides are making unwarranted conclusions.
        motorhead
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        yet more comments from Fisker's on-line PR department
          PR
          • 3 Months Ago
          @motorhead
          motorhead, I guess if you don't have any intelligent comment on LTW's posts, just repeat a lie you know is false, right? Everyone knows that LTW isn't the hired shill for Fisker. LTW is the hired shill of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell industry, and Fisker doesn't even have a fuel cell vehicle. (I keed, I keed).
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Months Ago
          @motorhead
          LOL, if I were actually getting paid by all the companies I've been accused of shilling for... I'm very interested in getting to the truth of why a $110K PHEV burned to the ground in a residential garage, endangering life and property. However, random speculation gets us nowhere - a careful examination of the physical evidence by trained and knowledgeable experts is the best we can hope for. Mr. Bereisa has a valid opinion, but publishing that opinion only inflamed the situation. If he had spoken with Fisker directly, and made his concerns known to them, then Fisker could have quietly corrected him privately, instead of having to address his inaccuracies in a Press Release. That is likely why they referred to his statement as "irresponsible and ill-informed"; he shouldn't put himself in the middle of an issue that didn't require him to be there.
          PR
          • 3 Months Ago
          @motorhead
          I've actually have been accused of being a paid shill at times for at least a dozen companies before (including Fisker) all while being accused of being an anti-corporate socialist/communist. So I feel your pain... While it would be wonderful if Fisker would talk to experts in the field like Bereisa. But they have entered turtle shell mode. And while I am somewhat in agreement about baseless speculation being counter-productive, I don't think that any company (including Fisker) gets to shut down all discussion of important topics like this just because they decide not to talk to folks like Bereisa. And modern 24-hour news cycle journalism just doesn't work that way anymore. When Sully Sullenburg landed his plane in the Hudson after a bird strike, the news didn't wait for the airplane manufacturer to review all their information before they got Aviation Experts to talk about bird strikes in general, and bird strikes with this type of airplane. They didn't wait for the manufacturer or for Sully before they had Aviation Experts talk about what it takes to land one of these planes on water. And they certainly didn't remain silent until the FAA and the airlines completely finished their investigations. Nobody would have expected anything like that. This is no different in that regard. I think you are going to have to accept that modern journalism includes the practice of using Subject Matter Experts to provide Expert Opinions while formal investigations are still pending.
        dexbusy
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Yeah I'm pretty tired of LTAW's homering everything Fisker related too. do you think we're too stupid to know you work for the company? This should be a discussion forum not part of the Fisker B.S. machine.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Months Ago
          @dexbusy
          If you think I work for Fisker, then you're mistaken.
        SVX pearlie
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        "Fisker has every right to state the facts on their side of the matter," Except, that is NOT what they are doing. - Fisker raised irrelevant red herrings of fireworks, electrical panel after the origin of the fire had been officially determined to be their car - They disparage the owner, and now a Professional Engineer. - They accused the owner of arson & insurance fraud. None of the above are "facts" being simply stated. Fisker is engaging in a malicious campaign here.
      Doug
      • 2 Years Ago
      The full press release is here: http://media.fiskerautomotive.com/global/en-us/Media/PressRelease.aspx?mediaid=875&title=fisker-statement-regarding-karma-engineering I think it's fine for Fisker to express why they think Bereisa is wrong, and they do an ok job explaining that. But personally attacking the man as "irresponsible" and that he's trying to "secure media attention" is totally unnecessary. It makes Fisker sound petty and paranoid. http://fiskerbuzz.com/forums/Thread-Fisker-fire?pid=13252#pid13252
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