Shocking. Another electric car recall.

posted at 10:30 am on December 31, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Earlier this month we talked about the various problems being experienced by car and automotive component manufacturers who had received taxpayer dollars to put “greener” vehicles on the road. The question also arose as to whether or not the White House was playing politics with a potentially deadly safety concern, as some batteries in these electric cars were demonstrating an annoying tendency to go up in flames.

One of the manufacturers was, as we noted, at least producing a few cars, though… Fisker Automotive. (Of course, they were making them in Finland.) Well, the revolutionary company is back in the news again.

Electric car company that received a $529M federal loan recalls vehicles

An electric vehicle manufacturer that received a $529 million loan from the Energy Department is recalling 239 vehicles.

The Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Thursday that the company, Fisker Automotive, will recall its Karma vehicles made between July 1, 2011, and Nov. 3, 2011, because of a faulty electric battery component that could cause a fire.

“Within the high-voltage battery, certain hose clamps may have been positioned incorrectly during assembly. If positioned incorrectly, the batter compartment cover could interfere with the hose clamps, potentially causing a coolant leak from the cooling hose,” NHTSA said in its recall notice Thursday.

“If coolant enters the battery compartment, an electrical short could occur possibly resulting in a fire.”

It’s a tough call to say which carries more irony here: the fact that they named their car “Karma” or the name of the company itself. (For those not familiar, the Urban Dictionary definition of “fisking” notes: The word is derived from articles written by Robert Fisk that were easily refuted, and refers to a point-by-point debunking of lies and/or idiocies. )

If and when alternate technology vehicles are ready for market and financially viable for the consumer, they will flourish if the demand exists for them and the price point is tolerable for drivers. But the “up in smoke” results of these experiments in Washington picking winners and losers on the taxpayer dime is instructive, if expensive. A123 Systems received $380 million of your money to produce batteries for cars and was also supposed to produce a lot of jobs. Instead, they’ve laid off a large portion of their workforce. A second battery maker, EnerDel, cashed in to the tune of $118 million in the form of a federal grant to make batteries for Think. They are now bankrupt. The list goes on from there.

Is anyone listening? And will they remember these stories next November?


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Is anyone listening? And will they remember these stories next November?

Yeah, Palin called it ‘Crony Capitalism’.

ChuckTX on December 31, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Let’s subsidize it more…that will make the problem go away.
That’s how it usually works with government…does it not?

KOOLAID2 on December 31, 2011 at 1:53 PM

I recently got a recall notice from Honda. Oh those crappy honda vehicles!!!

tlynch001 on December 31, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Smart power=something more like no brain no headache.

Challenging the laws of physics or just refusing to accept their validity?

Speakup on December 31, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Reno_Dave on December 31, 2011 at 1:13 PM

I’d hate to find myself accidentally arguing against regenerative braking :)

commenting == “fraught”

To reiterate and focus my comment a little, maybe it would be better if we spent our crony capital on infrastructure, if we are going to be cronying our capital — and I wish we’d stop that — so whatever technology we implemented wouldn’t ultimately reduce to a conversion from coal to mechanical energy.

I really do think that link — coal in/quick-run-to-Taco-Bell out — is broken in the minds of a lot of people tossing “luddite” around to describe resistence to “electric cars” — and that was really my only point.

– That and my desire to be carried around in a box resting on people’s shoulders — but that’s just 2012-based optimism, and a guy can dream :)

Axe on December 31, 2011 at 2:13 PM

If you are smart and care about the planet you will buy a $40,000 exploding car.

CorporatePiggy on December 31, 2011 at 10:35 AM

NATURAL SELECTION saves the planet from propagation of the “stupid green” gene…

landlines on December 31, 2011 at 2:13 PM

and that was really my only point.

Axe on December 31, 2011 at 2:13 PM

That and inserting ever more conversions doesn’t make something “cleaner” — it gets into perpetual motion thinking.

Axe on December 31, 2011 at 2:17 PM

RE: Luddite: any opponent of technological progress.

Aren’t the REAL “Luddites” the ‘greenies’ who are stuck on supporting failed 1910 auto technology (which is STILL a failure 100+ years later for the exact same reasons as in 1910) who refuse to accept the obvious superiority of modern PORTABLE, effective, and efficient fuels such as gasoline for transportation??? And aren’t these the same people who are opposing virtually all modern, proven energy sources such as hydropower, coal, natural gas, and nuclear???

landlines on December 31, 2011 at 2:26 PM

These solar power topics are always Luddite-magnets.
 
nice_poltergeist on December 31, 2011 at 10:41 AM

 
Amen. All these idiots railing against direct injection and…
oh, wait, you meant it brings out people opposed to funding a product YOU want/demand but refuse to buy.
 
Sort of like healthcare, right?

rogerb on December 31, 2011 at 2:30 PM

“And will they remember these stories next November?”

Only if she-that-can’t-be-named-or-some-folks-at-HA-go-unhinged is running. She is the one and only that if call the bastards out; the only one that could run on a reform/throw the bastards out platform. Sadly she won’t be on the ballot.

Tarnsman on December 31, 2011 at 3:16 PM

When the Camry was being recalled due to false and fraudulent allegations of gas pedal issues, the news media made giant headlines and major coverage specials over it. Of course, when the falseness was revealed, they were nowhere to be seen.

Now we have a real issue with The Obama/Chevy Volt, and the news media is barely covering it.

jediwebdude on December 31, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Still, while I think that these cars are interesting from an engineering perspective, I’m still not sure they make sense from a cost and “overall” energy consumption standpoint, i.e., the energy required to manufacture, operate over the service life, and (eventually) to dispose or recycle the car and power systems. FWIW, I drive a 2006 BMW 325Ci. It gets roughly 20MPG city, and 31MPG Hwy. I’d rather have it than a Karma or Prius.
Reno_Dave on December 31, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Most of my driving is short trips around the city, and I often find myself idly thinking how much more efficient a hybrid car would be.

But the thing is, when I’m driving like that I use about a tank of gas per MONTH. So even if I got twice as much mileage, who freaking cares!

When I have to make long trips on the highway, I can easily use that much gas in a DAY. But that’s when A) hybrids don’t get much better mileage, and B) I need a real car, and not some glorified golf cart.

A lot of the people who buy these things as eco-status symbols just use them as a spare car, for a few miles a year. And that’s about a hundred times more wasteful and environmentally destructive than just owning one real car.

logis on December 31, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Is anyone listening? And will they remember these stories next November?

Rhetorical question? These stories don’t even exist now. They might as well be part of today’s Twilight Zone marathon. Out of sight, out of mind.

Look over there! Newt Romney’s son repeated a joke a complete stranger uttered about Barack Obama’s unseen school grades!

Western_Civ on December 31, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Amen. All these idiots railing against direct injection and…
oh, wait, you meant it brings out people opposed to funding a product YOU want/demand but refuse to buy.

Sort of like healthcare, right?

rogerb on December 31, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Don’t you just love it when people lecture you on how great something is and yet when questioned on it will tell you in great detail just why they’d really like to get one but it just doesn’t fit their lifestyle, pocketbook, needs of the moment or some other BS. But it’s a wonderful Earth shattering innovative new thing that everyone else should buy or at least cough up part of the price in some new tax.

Oldnuke on December 31, 2011 at 4:30 PM

When I have to make long trips on the highway, I can easily use that much gas in a DAY. But that’s when A) hybrids don’t get much better mileage, and B) I need a real car, and not some glorified golf cart.

logis on December 31, 2011 at 4:03 PM

My daughter was considering buying a Prius to replace her 2005 Corolla. She drives about 70 miles per day for work and back. We sat down and did the math using sticker numbers for both cars and present day gas prices. I didn’t coach or try to influence her in any way. After going through several runs her conclusion was. There was no way she could recoup the cost difference between a new Corolla and the Prius.

Oldnuke on December 31, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Awesome picture, Jazz.

BallisticBob on December 31, 2011 at 5:15 PM

landlines on December 31, 2011 at 2:26 PM

That’s just crazy talk. / Hubby is a fan of SkyTran. Here, too.

Fallon on December 31, 2011 at 5:40 PM

“Hot Product” That’s so funny(yet tragic) I had to make this nonsense comment.

hotairhead on December 31, 2011 at 7:23 PM

“Within the high-voltage battery, certain hose clamps may have been positioned incorrectly during assembly. If positioned incorrectly, the batter compartment cover could interfere with the hose clamps, potentially causing a coolant leak from the cooling hose,” NHTSA said in its recall notice Thursday.
“If coolant enters the battery compartment, an electrical short could occur possibly resulting in a fire.”

No duh! As I have pointed out, lithium as in lithium batteries, ignites when it comes in contact with water/moister. Ya think someone would have checked this before putting humans in these moving bombs!

DSchoen on December 31, 2011 at 9:24 PM

These solar power topics are always Luddite-magnets.
 
nice_poltergeist on December 31, 2011 at 10:41 AM

interesting linkage considering photovoltaic was invented in 1839

In modern usage, “Luddite” is a term describing those opposed to industrialisation, automation, computerisation or new technologies in general.
What is new about a 173 year old technologies?
Did you know solar panels/photovoltaic was a 173 year-old technology?

Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel (March 24, 1820 – May 11, 1891) was a French physicist who studied the solar spectrum, magnetism, electricity, and optics. He is known for his work in luminescence and phosphorescence. He discovered the photovoltaic panel, which is the physics behind the solar cell, in 1839. He was the son of Antoine César Becquerel and the father of Henri Becquerel.

DSchoen on December 31, 2011 at 9:39 PM

The efficiency of this administration knows no bounds, especially in wasting taxpayers money. These are the same guys that call the Afghanistan government corrupt.

savage24 on December 31, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Fisker is actually run by people who know the auto industry – unlike, say, Tesla.
Never mind that the 10%-alcohol gasoline that’s being sold (the subsidy’s gone but the mandate remains) destroys fuel systems in older cars and causes fires, or that the 15% blend the EPA would like to approve is even worse.
JEM on December 31, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Fisker is actually run by people who know the auto industry

.
That’s nice. What do they know about batteries, electricity/electronics and basic physics?
the 10%-alcohol gasoline that’s being sold (the subsidy’s gone but

the mandate remains) destroys fuel systems in older cars and causes fires.

Along with MTBE in gasoline another green disaster. This should be a clue keep the government out of the auto industry.

DSchoen on December 31, 2011 at 11:11 PM

Don’t you just love it when people lecture you on how great something is and yet when questioned on it will tell you in great detail just why they’d really like to get one but it just doesn’t fit their lifestyle, pocketbook, needs of the moment or some other BS. But it’s a wonderful Earth shattering innovative new thing that everyone else should buy or at least cough up part of the price in some new tax.

Oldnuke on December 31, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Jackie Mason used to laugh at old Jewish folks who didn’t mind buying German-made coffee machines, but would never, ever buy a BMW or Mercedes from those stinking Nazi bastard German companies. Once they couldn’t afford something, it became a matter of principle, darn it!

It’s easy to have principles above your price-point. Explain to people that all these stupid liberal ideas affect their bottom line and they become conservatives (depending on brain size, of course), as evidenced by the story with your daughter.

ChicagoJewishGuy on January 1, 2012 at 12:25 AM

Why isn’t Steven Chu in jail?

franksalterego on January 1, 2012 at 8:12 AM

The Karma is being built under contract by Valmet Automotive. Formerly a Saab plant, they’re currently building Porsche Boxsters and Caymans, along with the Karmas. So, they know how to build cars. If the people assembling the Karmas were putting the hose clamps on incorrectly, it’s because Fisker didn’t train them correctly.

Ward Cleaver on January 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Since when do we send hundreds of millions of dollars to foreign companies to build cars which will ultimately compete with domestic brands? Why, its unprecedented! Fisker was supposed to build these cars at a GM plant in Maryland I believe. He took the money and ran back to Finland. Obama and Biden got left with the bill. Of course, the taxpayers will pick up the tab when Karma follows Solyndra and so many other green boondoggles into bankruptcy. The Karma costs over one-hundred thousand dollars. There is no market for the car. It is but an expensive novelty for a few rich Obama supporters to patronize…

Nozzle on January 1, 2012 at 1:27 PM

They can’t come up with a non-conductive cooling fluid for an electric car?

Resolute on December 31, 2011 at 10:47 AM

You mean like water?

Oldnuke on December 31, 2011 at 11:28 AM

LOL Careful with that blow dryer.
http://www.lenntech.com/applications/ultrapure/conductivity/water-conductivity.htm

S. D. on January 1, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Don’t be too hard on the people who make electric cars or the people who buy these things. If you know the history of the gasoline powered car very well, you could see that the electric car is probably somewhere between the Stanley Steamer and the Model T in technological development. And remember, the Model T was the product of years (well, a few) of technological progress. We wouldn’t have the cars we do, with the efficiency and performance and passenger comfort and safety – relative to a horse and buggy, the tried and true technology when the auto was first introduced – without over a hundred years of technological development. And to make that progress, somebody had to buy and drive those cars with all those shortcomings in between then and now and produce the lessons learned that automobile designers incorporate into current models.

So while I appreciate someone buying those cars and exposing all those problems that don’t appear on the test track or in the lab, the electric car isn’t for me, just yet. Perhaps near the end of my lifetime, and certainly not with government intervention in the form of cash inducements or regulations unnecessarily restraining the gasoline car.

A. C. on January 1, 2012 at 7:39 PM

LOL Careful with that blow dryer.
http://www.lenntech.com/applications/ultrapure/conductivity/water-conductivity.htm

S. D. on January 1, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Most people don’t know that pure water is actually a better insulator than conductor.

Oldnuke on January 1, 2012 at 11:14 PM

In light of the EPA’s foaming-at-the-mouth hysteria over “farm dust,” shouldn’t Lisa Jackson be banning these rolling piles of pollution from the roads? Hey, Hoss, did you get a permit for that fire?

TheClearRiver on January 2, 2012 at 11:08 AM

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