Burned Karma owners not fazed by fire, investing in Fisker Automotive
A couple weeks ago a Fisker Karma caught fire while parked outside a grocery store in Woodside CA, and following an investigation Fisker found the battery pack and electric drive system was not at fault, and has since issued a recall. One might think the owner of that Fisker Karma would be scared off from the company, but the Orange County Register is reporting that, instead, Wendy Burger and her husband are investing in Fisker Automotive. Talk about a vote of confidence.
The Fisker Karma in question caught fire while Rudy, Wendy Burger's husband, had gone inside a grocery store. He came out, saw the car was smoking, called Fisker's hotline, and they told him to call 911. The fire department came, and put out the fire. As you can see in the video embedded below, the fire was in the engine compartment which is located well away from the battery pack and other electric drive train pieces. While there may be electric car naysayers trying to use this incident to create hype around the Fisker Karma, it's clear from this video what part of the car caught fire.
The Burger's are on board with the Fisker Automotive mission. "[Fisker] tried very hard to make the ultimate environmentally friendly car," said Wendy Burger told the OC Register. "Their intent to me is the thing we should all be supporting if you can afford to. And the fact that it's a new technology means you're going to have to spend a little effort supporting it." With that sort of sentiment, and the fact that Mr. Burger is a managing partner at Woodside Capital, an investment bank in Silicon Valley, it will be unsurprising to learn the couple had already been planning to invest in Fisker Automotive, and that they are going ahead with investing.
The company is in extensive fundraising efforts following the suspension of the Dept of Energy loan program in February, which in turned followed the company missing several business development milestones required by that loan program. Since then the company unveiled the Fisker Atlantic, but has steadfastly refused to acknowledge the obvious impact on the Atlantic's production schedule (it was due to start manufacturing at the end of this year) or confirm a new production date for that car. Instead the company released a business update saying everything is fine while at the same time every pundit who wants to make hay attacking the Obama green tech strategy is trying to portray Fisker (and A123 Systems) as the "next Solyndra".
Given the heaps of bad vibes aimed at Fisker Automotive, and the direct personal experience of having his own Karma catch fire spontaneously, what Rudy Burger told the OC Register is interesting: "I am not concerned about the recalls. Every car company in the world has had recalls. My rationale for investing is very simple ... to make money. I think that Fisker is going to do well in the market."