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Superstorm Sandy ignites hybrids

Superstorm Sandy has been very destructive to the Eastern coast of the United States, especially New York and New Jersey, and while our hearts and thoughts go to those directly and indirectly affected by this massive storm, we are here to report on a piece of rather peculiar news, related to some hybrids catching on fire during the storm.

Sixteen brand new Fisker Karma extended-range hybrids were parked in Port Newark, New Jersey, burned to the ground, which is quite interesting and peculiar considering that there was quite a bit of water to be had during a storm.

The cause of the fires is quite mysterious, but we should note that the Karma has been subject to many other fire investigations as well, probably the most recent being one concerning a parked car that pretty much spontaneously self-combusted in August, in California.

When asked for details the Fisker press statement reported that no injuries resulted from the fires and that the cars were not being charged at that time. They did mention that the cars were submerged in sea water, so that might be a clue to what they think might be at least part of the cause of the fire hazard.

The flaming hybrid news do not stop with the Fisker Karma though, as it turn out that in a completely separate incident during the storm, three Toyota Prius models, including a conventional hybrid and a plug-in hybrid, were somehow fire damaged.

Toyota confirmed the incident stating that one of the models burned out completely, while the others “just kind of smoldered and got really hot”. They also added that the fire most “likely started because saltwater got into the electrical system”, which is the same cause that Fisker would seem to be pointing towards in their press release, and a cause that would make sense to some extent.

The exact way in which these hybrids caught on fire is still unknown, seawater is most likely the catalysts, but it is not yet known if the lithium in the large batteries is to blame as well, considering that lithium can catch fire under water, we’ll have to wait and see the results of the investigations.

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