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Fisker loses $32m in EVs to Hurricane Sandy

Posting in Energy

Hurricane Sandy damaged at least 15,000 new cars parked at a New Jersey port, including 320 Karmas, the luxury plug-in hybrid electric vehicle by Fisker Automotive.

The loss might not sound like much. Nissan, for example, estimates more than 6,000 of its cars and light trucks are will have to be scrapped. And the superstorm may have damaged as many as 200,000 vehicles, including used autos and those of individual owners, National Automobile Dealers Association Senior Analyst Larry Dixon told Bloomberg.

For Fisker, 320 vehicles is a lot, considering the new automaker has sold more than 2,000 cars to wholesalers and dealers as of September, reported WSJ's Venture Wire.

Plus, these aren't your run-of-the-mill economy vehicles. The Karma sells to consumers for more than $100,000, making this a $32 million loss for the company.

A Fisker spokesman has said the loss won't have a material impact on the business because the cars were insured. U.S. consumers could experience a shortage, in terms of variety. Although more cars will be shipped from Europe, where they're made.

This isn't Fisker's first hiccup. The company has run into a number of challenges with its cars over the past year.

Electric car battery manufacturer A123 Systems, which supplied batteries to Fisker Automotive and GM’s Spark electric car, filed  for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month and announced it would sell off its automotive business to Johnson Controls in a deal valued at $125 million.

In March, Fisker announced it would swap out drive batteries for 2012 Karmas free of charge after customers experienced unsatisfactory performance. This was the second recall for Fisker, which preemptively recalled faulty A123 systems batteries late last year for posing a fire hazard.

Editor's note: Due to an editing error, the original headline to this post -- "15,000 electric cars lost to Hurricane Sandy" -- was inaccurate. More than 15,000 cars were indeed damaged, but only 320 of them were electric. It has been fixed. We apologize for the confusion.

Photo: Fisker Automotive

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— By on November 7, 2012, 3:47 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure