$100K electric vehicle being investigated after Sugar Land fire

Photo shows the remains of 2012 Fisker Karma after a fire engulfed the vehicle last week.(Courtesy of Johnson, Trent, West & Taylor law firm)

A $100,000 electric car is suspected in sparking a fire at a Sugar Land home last week, according to media reports.

Fort Bend County chief fire investigator Robert Baker told AutoWeek that a newly purchased Fisker Karma sparked a fire that quickly spread to the rest of the home.

“The Karma was the origin of the fire, but what exactly caused that we don’t know at this time,” Baker told the news outlet.

According to his lawyers, Jeremy Gutierrez said his two-week old Karma caught fire soon after he parked the luxury sedan at his home in Sugar Land. The car owner said he smelt burnt rubber before seeing flames coming from the vehicle. The fire spread from the car to the garage before damaging other parts of the home.

Gutierrez told the website that he was able to get his wife, mother and a child from their house. No one was injured in the blaze. Two other vehicles were destroyed by the fire and the home was damaged.

Since the fire, Johnson, Trent, West & Taylor law firm, which is representing the Gutierrez family, said the automaker has been swarming the garage as it investigates the reason for the blaze. The car, which uses a gasoline engine to recharge its lithium-ion battery, was not plugged in at the time.

According to the news story, Gutierrez has asked the automaker to end its probe immediately after the company said Tuesday that it “hadn’t ruled out fraud or malicious intent.”

Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher said the car maker is still investigating the fire, but he said the initial investigation has shown that the electric vehicle technology isn’t the cause of the fire.

“The battery was still intact and still had a charge,” Ormisher said. “We are just waiting for the final report on the cause of the fire.”

Ormisher reiterated that the Karma was not plugged in at the time of the fire and no similar situation have been reported. He also cautioned that the investigation could take some time.

Fisker, which received a $529 million federal loan, has encountered a series of glitches and recalls. The most notable was the high-end sedan breaking down during a Consumer Report test.

In that case, the car was only a few days old and had less than 200 miles on its odometer.