#Greenfail: Obama Cars Not Safe Around Salt Water

Russ Steele

A total of 16 Fisker Karma extended-range electric cars, each costing more than a $100k each, have gone up in flames after reportedly being partially submerged by flash floods caused by Hurricane Sandy. The brand new cars were parked in Port Newark, New Jersey, and are believed to have caught fire last night.

Images of the wrecked Karmas are at Jalopnik, The damage to each of the cars to be quite extensive.

Fisker has since released the following statement:

“It was reported today that several Fisker Karmas were damaged by fire at the Port of Newark after being submerged in sea water during Superstorm Sandy.  We can report that there were no injuries and none of the cars were being charged at the time.

“We have confidence in the Fisker Karma and safety is our primary concern.  While we intend to find the cause as quickly as possible, storm damage has restricted access to the port.




Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/10/31/fisker-karmas-catch-fire-after-being-submerged-by-hurricane-sandy-flood/#ixzz2B0QLKF9h


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

22 Responses to #Greenfail: Obama Cars Not Safe Around Salt Water

  1. Dena says:

    With at least 200 volts across the batteries, that must have been a sight to see. I am a little surprised that they don’t disconnect the battery when shipping like they do on cellphones and other electronic devices. This eliminates the risk of fires caused by shorting and also ensures the battery won’t be deep discharged (damaged) if there is a delay in getting the device to the end user.
    The post office has become very selective in what they will accept for priority shipping. This may become true of ocean shipping in the future.

  2. stevefrisch says:

    Since I am not sure anyone buying a Karma plans to park it under 5 feet of seawater I hardly see how this is a “fail”.

    • Dena Wiltsie says:

      I come from the old days where if you drove through several inches of water you would get wet break and sometimes water in the distributer cap or on the wires causing the the engine to quit. You would have to get out and dry things off before you could continue. The car industry has learned and I haven’t seen these problems for a long time. If the electrical system of the Karma is not well sealed, you might see them burn up if somebody goes through deep water to fast or as is common out here, try to cross a river bottom that’s to deep.

      • stevefrisch says:

        Salt water Dena…salt water. And my guess is that if you ran any car through five feet of water the engine block would crack. I would hardly say that a unique event like this is an example of a ‘greenfail’, nor is it issue that cannot be dealt with. If we had stopped manufacturing cars when any safety hazard was found we would be on horseback.

  3. MikeL says:

    The real fail with the Fisker Karma is the price. Just like solar panels and windmills, this car is only affordable for those pesky rich people. How fair is that?? You would be better off buying 3 Prius’s then buying one $100k Karma.
    Steve, just so you know, unless you plan on flooding your Karma with distilled water the high current discharge and resulting fire would most likely occur regardless of the “water” being fresh or salt.

    • stevefrisch says:

      New technology is always expensive..early automobiles were unreachable to any but the very rich until Henry Ford cracked the nut….alternative vehicles will likely be the same…..there are other options as well.

      For example, I live at 6000 feet and used to have a Jeep. What I discovered was I was using my 4WD about 4-5 times a year for off mountain use, and did not really need it in town. My Jeep got 18 miles to a gallon. I shifted to a Honda Civic Hybrid getting 45 mpg. When I am traveling for work it is actually less expensive for my employer if I rent for any trip over 200 miles (like to the Bay area and back) rather than pay mileage, so I rent. If it snows and I need to travel I rent. My CVC gets me everywhere else for half the price. I am actually considering a GEM eS ($8,000) now, or a neighborhood electric vehicle (Google NEV). Half the price, street legal, top speed about 45 mph, 50 cents for a 23 mile range….seats two…330lb extra cargo capacity so I can use it for local shopping….and we don’t really need a second full car.

      So, lets just assume that there may be room for all kinds of niche vehicles, shared ownership models like Zipcar or Citycar, and even medium range EV’s that begin to diversify the market. As demand increases, production gets streamlined, and peoples habits and expectations change, these vehicles will become more affordable.

  4. Arthur M. Day. says:

    The unmentioned problem with EVs is that the nation’s electric grid is already running in it’s emergency reserve level. Unless someone has a quick, cheap, and easy way to convert oil refineries into electric power stations we do not have the electrical capacity for a meaningful shift to EVs.

    • stevefrisch says:

      We build more capacity.

    • Todd Juvinall says:

      When all those heavy metals from these EV’s batteries etc. end up in the water and food supply down the road i bet the eco’s will be long gone.

      • stevefrisch says:

        The batteries are recycled. I have an agreement that requires me to recycle the battery on my Honda…but even more important, the value of the battery for recycling has already created the market for the used materials. Besides, since when have you been concerned about heavy metals in water? Does not seem to bother you from coal fired power plants…are you supporting stringer clean water standards now? I don;t think so.

      • Todd Juvinall says:

        Coal fired power plants eh? Just like a liberal, lose the argument change the subject. Since you eco’s oppose coal, hydro, nuke and oil, where you gonna get the juice to power your batteries. Wind? Solar? I just can’t wait. What a hoot!

  5. Arthur M. Day. says:

    Yeah, right, tell that to the NIMBYs and the BANANAs and the NOPEs. (Translations follow)You seem to forget that California’s Democratic Government wanted to build a large solar facility out in the Mojave Desert and kicked over a hornet’s nest of Green Zealots.
    Acronyms revealed: Not In My Backyard, Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything, Not On Planet Earth.
    Since Peak Oil, Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, Ocean Acidification, etc. are all just Devout Democrat propaganda, it’s much better for all but the Green Zealots if we just stay with internal combustion and fossil fuels. Of course the rent seekers won’t be happy with that idea, their urge to join the One Percenters is overpowering.

  6. Arthur M. Day. says:

    That’s interesting, the clock display on my monitor is on Standard Time and the clock in the computer or elsewhere that time stamped my post is still on Daylight Saving Time.

  7. Arthur M. Day. says:

    Mr. Frisch. What stopped you from telling me about all the real power plants built in CA in the last 20 yrs? Answer: there aren’t any. California has not had enough in-state generating capacity to meet it’s needs for years. They are using the Green Slease method of buying power from out of state and then claiming they have reduced their emissions.
    You couldn’t dream up power generation methods less suited to electric power needs than solar or wind. Both are laughably (if they weren’t such a waste of money) unsuitable for 24/7/365 availability. There are no available power storage methods in the foreseeable future to bring them near to useable.
    I repeat, Peak Oil, Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, Ocean Acidification, etc. are all false problems. You know that very well. That’s why your response to Mr. Steele’s graph showing no connection between rising CO2 and flat line global temp. was first, a smoke cloud about sources and then an eloquent, revealing, silence.
    As was pointed out to you in another post, little in the way of standing is required to throw legal monkey wrenches into the gears of any large project. What was left out is that the filers of frivilous and destructive law suits have little skin in the game and will not be required to pay all costs if their suits do not prevail.

  8. stevefrisch says:

    You can track the status of all new power plants and upgrades to existing plants right here Art…you may note there are numerous examples of new plants, including combined cycle natural gas plants…

  9. Arthur M. Day. says:

    Well, you forgot the link. And what kept you from telling me about the recent CALIFORNIA plants?

  10. stevefrisch says:
  11. Arthur M. Day. says:

    I thank you. Any idea what the total MW/day power usage of CA is?

  12. Good resource for you. The answer is 200,000 Gwh generated in Ca. and another 60,000 Gwh from other sources (primarily southwestern US and Pacific Northwest) or about 65,000 MW.

    See forecast for more data.


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