Fisker Karma Fire in Texas Garage Being Probed by NHTSA Businessweek

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Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma Fire in Garage Being Probed by

By Angela Greiling Keane May 18,

U.S. auto-safety regulators are inquiries into a Texas fire that destroyed a Automotive Inc. Karma, a plug-in electric vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Administration sent investigators to investigate the cause of the fire at a in Sugar Land, Texas, Fisker learned of May 3, Claude the agency’s director of vehicle compliance, said today.

“We are an ongoing field inquiry for an EV in Texas,” Harris said at a Department electric-vehicle safety in Washington. “We are still engaged in activity, and no determination has been at this time.”

Lynda Tran, an agency confirmed that the Texas is of the Fisker fire.

Fisker, in Anaheim, California, received million in electric-vehicle loans the U.S. Energy Department to the Karma and a proposed second the Atlantic. The credit line was last year after the was late in meeting milestones to the Karma, which is made in

‘Routine,’ Fisker Says

Ormisher, a company spokesman, the inquiry “routine.” The company is with NHTSA and insurance to determine the fire’s cause, he

“We also understand that the looked at other vehicles in the fire too,” he said in an statement.

“The lithium-ion of the Fisker Karma was fully after the fire and has been and is in full working condition. the precise ignition source and of the garage fire is still to be

NHTSA’s inquiry is one in a series the has done of incidents involving vehicles equipped with batteries, Harris said. include a fire in North last year that was to not have been caused by the car, and an incident in which a Motors Co. (GM:US ) Chevrolet caught fire three after the agency performed tests on it.

Fisker officials said May 8 the car couldn’t have caused the because its battery was intact and being charged at the time. The was purchased after the recall of with defective battery supplied by A123 Systems (AONE:US )

Loan Defended

It those statements after a Bend County, Texas, investigator was quoted by Auto an industry publication, as saying the originated with the vehicle.

Fisker Karma

The Department, whose loan are subject to congressional scrutiny, its loan to Fisker in a letter to Republican Senators Charles of Iowa and John Thune of Dakota.

The pair had asked the agency month to respond to questions the loan to Fisker, which called “one of the more recipients.” Ford Motor Co. ). Nissan Motor Co. and Tesla Inc. (TSLA:US ) also Advanced Technology Vehicles loans.

Months of Diligence

the due diligence performed on all ATVM the department’s due diligence for the Fisker was extensive with rigorous technical, legal and market conducted over many by DOE’s internal professional including qualified engineers and experts and outside experts,” Frantz, acting executive of the department’s loan programs said in the letter.

Grassley and Thune said the ignored the questions they

“There’s also a lot of discussion of the due that went into the loan but no evidence to show that due diligence actually Grassley said in an e-mailed “I intend to follow up for a more response.”

Representative Andy a Maryland Republican who is chairman of the Science Energy and Environment also sent a letter to the Energy Department asking for about its advanced-vehicle spending, grants given to Ecotality (ECTY:US ). which installs infrastructure.

To contact the reporter on story: Angela Greiling in Washington at

To contact the responsible for this story: Kohn at

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