Auto recall begins after Woodside fire | September 5, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - September 5, 2012

Auto recall begins after Woodside fire

by Dave Boyce

The Karma, a luxury gasoline/electric hybrid sports sedan that made local news on Aug. 10 when it burst into flames in a Woodside parking lot, is being refitted with an "improved" low-temperature cooling fan in a recall by the manufacturer, Fisker Automotive in Anaheim.

This recall is the third — and by far the largest at 1,377 possibly affected vehicles — since the car's debut in December 2011, according to records of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

This recall involves a defect in the cooling fan that could cause an electrical short circuit that could ignite the fan housing, shroud and surrounding components, the records say.

The earlier recalls involved replacement of a high-voltage battery to correct a manufacturing defect involving hose clamps that could have leaked coolant into the battery compartment, possibly causing a short circuit and fire.

The Karma that caught fire outside Roberts Market in Woodside belonged to Woodside Glens resident Rudy Burger, a managing partner at Woodside Capital Partners in Palo Alto.

Firefighters from the Woodside Fire Protection District quickly extinguished the fire with water and there were no injuries, but the heat did blister paint on an adjacent SUV, Fire Chief Dan Ghiorso told the Almanac at the time.

Mr. Burger already has a new Karma sitting in his driveway and is hoping to participate in Fisker's next round of financing, he told the Almanac in an email.

"I have been incredibly impressed with the way Fisker has handled this incident," Mr. Burger said."I have started seven technology companies and thus know from direct personal experience that there are always bumps in the road between innovation and a sustainable, successful business. Fisker is a great company and the US needs more innovative companies of this type, especially in the automobile sector."