Fisker recalling Karma sedans to fix fans

AP News
Posted: Aug 18, 2012 9:28 PM
Fisker recalling Karma sedans to fix fans

DETROIT (AP) — Electric-car maker Fisker Automotive is recalling about 2,400 Karma sports sedans to fix cooling fans that can catch fire.

The recall comes after Fisker and a private fire investigation firm finished probing an Aug. 10 fire in a Karma in Woodside, Calif.

The company said the probe found that the blaze started in front of the Karma's left front wheel where a cooling fan is located. Wiring in the fan failed and it overheated, causing the slow-burning fire, Fisker said Saturday.

No one was hurt, and the fire damaged only the left front side of the car, the company said. It's the only fire caused by the problem, a spokesman said.

Fisker also said in a statement that the fire had nothing to do with car's lithium-ion battery or other new technology components.

"This incident resulted from a single, faulty component," Executive Chairman and co-founder Henrik Fisker said in the statement.

The recall could hurt the upstart Fisker, which has received government loan money to help develop its new technology. But the company said the fan recall is not expected to have a "material financial impact." The Karma also had to be recalled earlier this summer because coolant could leak and potentially start a fire.

Fisker dealers will contact customers, who also will get letters from the company. The Anaheim, Calif., company says cooling fans will be replaced and another fuse installed for added protection. Fisker said it is working with the company that supplied the fan.

The Karma is a $100,000 car that can go 30 to 40 miles on battery power. It has a backup gas engine if the battery is depleted.

The recall affects all Karmas that have been sold and those at the factory or en route to dealers, the company said.

Fisker has received $193 million of a $529 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, mostly for work on the Karma. Fisker also has a midsize sedan, the Atlantic, in development. That project was delayed after the Energy Department suspended the loan after the introduction of the Karma was delayed because of trouble with battery packs and other issues.

Fisker said in May that it raised $174 million in private financing and took in $100 million in revenue in the first four months of this year.

Last week, the company hired Tony Posawatz, 52, as its new CEO. Posawatz was formerly the head of electric vehicles at General Motors Co.