Human Events Blog

Another electric car bursts into flames

The Administration has been striving mightily to ignore all those Chevy Volts bursting into flames, but last week an electric Fisker Karma – another Obama “green jobs investment” – caught fire in Texas, and damn near took out the owner’s house, as reported by AutoWeek:

According to Fort Bend County, Texas, chief fire investigator Robert Baker, the Fisker Karma started the fire that spread to the house.

“Yes, the Karma was the origin of the fire, but what exactly caused that we don’t know at this time,” he said. The car was a complete loss.

According to Baker, the driver arrived home in the Fisker, pulled into the garage, and less than three minutes later the car was in flames. It reportedly was not plugged in at the time of the fire and the Karma’s battery remains intact.

Right before the fire, the owner reported a smell of burning rubber.

That’s probably not what the owner had in mind when he dreamed of “burning rubber” in his $100,000 taxpayer-subsidized electric sports car.

Fisker had a big recall recently, producing financial shock waves strong enough to rock their old battery supplier, another Obama “investment” called A123 Systems, to the very edge of bankruptcy.  Karmas are actually built in Finland – that’s where all 500 of the million-dollar “green jobs” Obama created with his Fisker “investment” were “created or saved” – but presumably they’ve got engineers somewhere in the United States to handle recall issues.  But probably not in Delaware, because they laid off everybody at the Delaware plant, which was built with millions of dollars in public funding.

Will that Fisker recall prevent this sort of tragic Obamamobile fire from destroying anyone else’s home?  Nope!

“The car was brand-new,” said Baker. “He still had paper tags on it, so it was 60 days old at [most].”

According to Baker, the Karma was a post-recall vehicle bought in April.

There was substantial damage to the garage, which then spread to the second floor. No injures were attributed to incident. The house was new, but the owner had already moved in.

Baker estimated damages at roughly $100,000, not including the other two vehicles in the garage, a Mercedes-Benz SUV and an Acura NSX.

It’s awesome the way Obama seized so much of our money to build stuff for the Little Guy so he can Win the Future, isn’t it?

Other Karma owners will be glad to know the incident is being investigated.  Fisker says they are dealing with “conflicting reports and uncertainty surrounding this particular incident,” and claim the cause of the fire could have been fireworks stored in the garage, or an electric panel located near the vehicles.  They’ve got a team of 15 engineers working at the scene, prompting Baker to remark, “I’ve worked homicide cases with less secrecy.”  It doesn’t seem like it would take a 15-man forensic squad from Fringe Division very long to figure out if the fireworks went off or not. 

Writing at Breitbart.com, Seton Motley notes that “conflicting reports and uncertainty” are cited in every report of an electric car fire.  They’re always portrayed as inscrutable mysteries, even when (as in this case) experienced fire investigators offer confident assessments.  The scene in Texas is notably similar to a golf cart fire, which are not uncommon in the area, and the same basic lithium-ion battery technology is involved.

So look to the future, America!  Your brilliant President needs another term to give you the choice between pumping $10 gas into cars that cost more and get you killed more frequently because of sharply rising CAFÉ standards… or driving insanely expensive, taxpayer-subsidized, unreliable electric vehicles with sky-high maintenance costs, which you must handle very carefully, lest they either fuse into immobile “bricks” or burst into flames.  Algae-based fuel can’t get here fast enough!

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  • ursine

    Consumer Report could not even test this racy looking car – it died on arrival.
    The billion dollar investment was probably good for Finland, where this vehicle is built, here in US this looks like one more example of  Obama’s crazy obsession with green energy and green jobs ($9 mil+ each, so far)
    The new “Forward (and off the cliff)” slogan probably implies Solyndra in every town and Chevy Vault in every garage, but one has to wonder what these folks think when they pay $100K for this miraculous piece of engineering. Is this just another form of campaign contribution?

  • http://twitter.com/Doc_0 John Hayward

    That Consumer Reports guy has no idea how lucky he was that the Karma just died on him.  He could have been roasted to a crisp!

  • AgTrotter

    “According to Baker, the Karma was a post-recall vehicle bought in April.”

    So, they’ve already had one recall on this thing. It must really be a pile of reid.

  • JayC777

    ” The car was a complete loss”

    And that was BEFORE it went up in flames.

    Jay
    Burnt out, today, burnt out, tonight … I’ve seen signs of what (freezing their eyes) went through.

  • Dustoff

     I just wonder WHO the home owners are going to sue! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/esievering Eric Sievering

    It’s ridiculous to claim all electric cars are bad when this was a house fire unrelated to the fact that it was an electric car.  The fact is that electric cars are safer then internal combustion engine cars.  I saw an internal combustion car in a ball of flame a couple months ago on the side of the freeway, but I don’t see you reporting on that fire.  Another fact is that electric cars, although a small section of the market, have now taken hold as a product, and their percentage increase over the last few years continues to climb higher and higher.   Did you know the toyota prius is now the second or third most popular car in the country?  As the price of these cars comes down more people will buy them, and those still left driving 15 mile per gallon cars are going to feel stupid throwing their money away on something so inefficient.  Next time try to write an article that isn’t so blatantly ideological and maybe put just the smallest amount of objectivity into it.

  • GomeznSA

    Your diatribe is a bit short on rationality – a couple of examples will suffice. Is the Prius number 2 or 3 most popular – has to be one or the other, not both.
    Do you KNOW for sure that the car you saw in flames on the side of the road was indeed an internal combustion vehicle – and more importantly – what caused the fire?
    I have no problem with more fuel efficient vehicles, regardless of the power source – my ‘beemer’ averages nearly 60mpg – which beats the heck out of just about any hybrid out there. 
    Try to make a more valid point instead of pontificating how ‘stupid’ we are because we don’t (necessarily) embrace your view of things.

  • Borghesius

    Prius: Hybrid, is an internal combustion engine car.

    Plug in Electric:  in Ohio, we call these Coal Fired cars, because that is where the electricity ultimately comes from (because thanks to zealots, we can’t get clean modern nukes permitted).  

    As the price goes down…   I would like to see the prices and sales figures if the Government did not both heavily subsidize their production and purchase.  Even with that, the difference between a hybrid or electric vs an efficient combustion engine car makes it so that I would NEVER reach payback in the life of the car unless someone managed to double the cost of fuel, which may happen if the same zealots are in charge.  Then what happens if the EPA applies shutdown pressure to coal plants, then prevents natural gas production from fracking, and the hydro dams are removed for the salmon migration?  Are we all going to use Chinese solar collectors, because the American factories are going belly up even with corruption money?

    I am in favor of companies making products, and consumers choosing to buy them.  Part of that is knowledge of what benefits and risks each product has.  Hopefully, the electric car companies will work all these kinks out and produce a product that we will purchase at fair market price.  As it is, currently the subsidies are tax breaks for the RICH ( I can’t afford a Prius or Karma, I’m lucky to get a used Chevy Aveo) who buy these to feel good and superior and socially conscious, and don’t even think that electricity isn’t magic that just comes out of a wall socket, and that mining for elements for these batteries doesn’t pollute.

    I reread the article, and found no claim that all electric cars are bad.  Wasteful perhaps, ideologically driven, not cost effective, and require special care, heavily subsidized, all of which is true.  Personally, my favorite was the 1912 Detroit Electric, which was popular with the ladies because you didn’t have to start it with the arm breaking hand crank.  

  • sigp238

     Eric writes “Did you know the toyota prius is now the second or third most popular car in the country?”

    Actually Eric it is # 44. Remember you are writing on a conservative website, we like facts and don’t take kindly to BS.

  • GomeznSA

    So let me get this right – this guy already owns a Mercedes SUV as well as an Acura NSX and somehow he is helping the environment by buying the Karma? Sounds to me like he has more money than sense – of course he can spend his bucks any way he wants to but perhaps conspicuous consumption is not the best way to save the environment. 

  • endpork

    HEY,  JOHN HAYWARD..

    How about an article on challenging RINO McConnell and Beohner to stay true to conservative values.
    How about something encouraging these two RINO’S to question the media as to why they DO NOT question Obama on these and other REAL ISSUES facing the American public.
    How about an article on groups and organizations trying to take back power from the federal government.

    Instead of writing so much… how about REALLY ENCOURAGING people to get more involved!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QGJB6XKBWEVILASOVXE5FP65SA Dave D

    Spot on!  Alternate energy is not in the best interest of the job creators.

  • http://www.facebook.com/esievering Eric Sievering

    This from the April sales figures. The Prius was the fifth most sold car in April with 25,168 sold, which was a 55.7 percent jump from the year before. There were 86, 027 sold so far this year.

    So, sorry you’re right I didn’t exactly have my figures correct.    So, it was the fifth most popular not second or third.  My bad, on that, but I think you’re figures are also off.  Maybe we can agree that it is a very popular car and in the top ten best sellers and leave it at that?

    The point being electrically powered cars whether they be hybrids, plug ins, or 100 percent electrics are here to stay because they’re good products and people want them. Why would you come down on a product that is currently helping the economy, and shows promise for the future?

  • Niniane

    And you know it was a house fire rather than the Fisker HOW? Psychic ability? Your reading comprehension skills are lacking, to wit: “According to Fort Bend County, Texas, chief fire investigator Robert Baker, the Fisker Karma started the fire that spread to the house.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/esievering Eric Sievering

     First of all I didn’t say you were stupid.  I said people in the future will feel pretty stupid owning a car that gets 15mpg when there are so many alternatives that are better.  The car I saw on the side of the road was not an electric, it was a 90′s four door.  I’ve got video of it if you’d like to see it, and the reason it was a ball of flames was because of the gasoline burning that was inside the car.  My points seem to be more valid than yours when I provide some hard facts like the sales numbers from April.  Instead maybe you should tone things down and come up with a cogent argument that supports your ideas.?.?.?.?

  • globalcrap

    LOL

  • sigp238

     Oh, so you are talking about a month and not a year eh? What happened in April? Did the government buy a bunch of em?

  • Dr. Leroy Shitslinger

    So, the new car is actually a transportation AND a home heating device.
    Sounds like a plus, plus to me.
    Good thing the car wasn’t black……it would have burned the neighbor’s house too……..LMFAO

  • globalcrap

    Maybe the car that was in flames on the side of the road ,was built in another O Bogus country.

  • Dustoff

     It’s great for re-building burned out homes. Or mortuaries if you die in the fire.

  • globalcrap

    If the job creators were in America,instead over in O Bogus lands in other countries it would be a good thing

  • Dustoff

    The price of the prius is coming down because Toyota is subsidizing to cost of the car though sales of it’s trucks. 
    That was reported  long time ago. 

    PS…. Eric. you got you’re fire science deg from where?

  • globalcrap

    How many people can this  O Bogus car carry on a vacation ,and with the luggage?

  • Dustoff

     Like the state of FL  did with fed money. Then left them to sit and rot.  (-:

  • Dr. Leroy Shitslinger

    There IS a positive side to this exploding car syndrome.
    Look at all the jobs saved or created.
    1. Govt workers finding money to invest in the company
    2. Offshore manufacturing jobs
    3. Coal miners supplying power plants
    4. Firefighters to put ‘em out when they burst into flames.
    5. Construction workers (probably union) to rebuild the houses the cars burn down.
    6. The 15 or so investigators to figure out WHY the car blew up.
    7. And lastly…..the lawyers that will file all of the lawsuits against the government that funded all of these rolling firebombs.

    Sounds very positive to me.

  • Dustoff

    You ever think that 1990 car had NOT been cared for. Un-Like a brand new car. Or that just maybe the owner of the car had his fuel filter replaced and either he did it wrong or the shop did. -

  • globalcrap

    I’ll take my V8 that gets 27 miles per gallon over the O Bogus car anyday.

  • http://www.facebook.com/esievering Eric Sievering

     Come on now you’re going to disagree with me on that now?  This is the most recent sales data we have, shouldn’t I use that?   The car is popular because gas is expensive and a new prius costs around 20-22000 depending on what add ons you get.  If you’re driving a car that gets 15, 20, or even 25 miles per gallon and you jump to a car that get 50plus miles per gallon your going to save some money even if the car costs a few extra thousand more than something else.  The popularity of the car right now proves that.  To get back to the main point here it’s that electric, hybrids, plugins have a future.  You might not want one, but lots of people do.  Here is an interesting fact, did you know part of the reason gasoline is expensive is because we’re using so much less of it?  Many refineries have closed, because we’re using so much less gasoline in this country compared to 2005, and the remaining refineries are charging more to refine the gas.  So part of the rise of gasoline prices is due to issues with refining?  Interesting I think.

  • sigp238

     One month doesn’t make a year, it may drop lower than 44 in a years average

  • Dustoff

     Many refineries have closed, because we’re using so much less gasoline
    **************************

    WRONG….

    Many have closed because the cost of Gov regs are killing them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/esievering Eric Sievering

     Seems like every car out there is subsidized in by the government in your opinion.  The hummer was developed for the military, and paid for by the government, so that car was subsidized as well I guess.?.?  General motors was saved by the government so is every car now that’s made at GM a subsidized car?  Ford motor company got lots of cash back in the world war two era from the government so is every car from ford subsidized? 

  • Dustoff

    2011
     
    Unlike in previous years, however, when import-brand vehicles
    dominated the list of best-selling cars in America, this year has seen a
    surge in popularity for domestic models. Six of the 10 most popular
    vehicles in America through October are made by General Motors, Ford Motor or Chrysler Group, compared to just three last year.

    Tumbling out of the Top 10 are the Honda Civic and CR-V, two
    perennial favorites whose sales have been hurt by natural disasters in
    Asia, and the Hyundai Sonata,
    which was nudged out by more popular vehicles from Ford and GM. Pushing
    their way into the Top 10 are the Ford Fusion and Escape, and GM’s new
    compact, the Chevrolet Cruze.

    PS.. the first and second place are both trucks.
    Prius is # 12

  • Dustoff

    Eric… You have NO idea what your talking about the M998 Humvee was build by AM general. under contract with the US armed forces.

    in 1998 GM bought it and made the H1 H2 & H3. 
    These are based on the Chevy SUV design and it nothing to little to do with the M998.

    The Prius is sub by Toyota because the cost to make it is so darn high.

    The ONLY gov sub car is the Volt. Which was and still is a total failure.

  • Dunestone

     My V8 is getting about 13 . . . and yet I love it so.  Going downhill or catching a tailwind will push it up to almost 16 in the city.

    Still, it’s a good thing those tiny cars save their owners so much in gas every year – they will need it for the funeral expenses after they get t-boned by some idiot yakking on the phone.

    As for me, I will continue buying $80 tanks of gas and writing it off as life insurance.  Given the size of my vehicle, I can be reasonably sure that if/when the paramedics arrive, at least they will not be hauling my remains to the morgue in a wet/dry vac.  That’s worth spending a few extra bucks on gas, I think.

  • http://www.facebook.com/esievering Eric Sievering

    Neither of us knows what happened exactly, but we do know it had nothing to do with the car being electric.  Sounds like it had something maybe to do with the tires, and burning rubber or something.  The main point is this article is nonsense.  Combustion engines car gasoline which is very flammable and dangerous, pure electric cars do not. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/esievering Eric Sievering

     Great you can waste your money all you want, instead of owning a more efficient car.  As the trend of higher gasoline prices continue you should stay steadfast to this idea, and buy a car that gets 10 miles per gallon next just to stick it in the eye of people that want to save money.

  • GomeznSA

    Aww – are you a wee bit ‘sensitive? You may not have ‘intended’ to call me (and others on here)’stupid’ but you did indeed do so……………..
    Never mind that you still haven’t ‘determined’ whether it (the Prius) was 2 or 3……………………but now you are claiming it was April sales figures (not in your original post).
    And of course you know beyond a shadow of a doubt what make and model the flaming car was – plus what caused the fire. You specifically said it “was because of the gasoline burning that was inside the car” – which was not included in your original comment. If someone was indeed transporting gasoline inside the passenger compartment………….

    Nope – I don’t need to ‘tone’ anything down – you just need to be a bit less thin skinned.

    BTW – my preferred transport averages in the high 50′s for mileage – can you make the same claim?
    I have nothing against alternate energy sources – be it for home use or to power my vehicles. What I do have a problem with is someone (be it you or anyone else) in effect ordering me to embrace technology that is a long way from being perfected for the average user. When I can buy an electric (or solar or hydrogen) vehicle that will allow me to take a 1600 mile trip without having to stop every hundred miles (or less) for an 8 hour recharge, then I will replace my ‘gas guzzlers’ – maybe.

  • GomeznSA

    General motors (you spelling – most of us call it GM) was ‘saved by the government’ – and exactly how did you arrive at that conclusion? They still have not paid back the TARP loans – regardless of what you are told by the lsm. 
    Yep – Ford (along with all of the other vehicle builders) did get ‘cash’ from the government – it is called buying the products they produced – in this case for the war effort.

  • Dustoff

     Sounds like it had something maybe to do with the tires, and burning rubber or something.
    ***************************

    I’ll ask it again, you got your Fire science deg from where? 

    Burning rubber is a term used in hot-rodding. The tires get hot, they don’t burn. It makes them stick the asphalt better.

  • GomeznSA

    Borg – you forgot to mention that essentially the 1912 Detroit Electric had the same range as a pure electric car of today. Amazing how far technology has come!

  • Niniane

    And I suppose you own one of those nifty Volts? Even they need gas when the battery runs out after 26 miles.

    How do you know it had nothing to do with the car being electric? The lithium ion batteries have proven not viable for the general market. But thanks for the amusement since you have made it so obvious you really don’t know what you are talking about.

  • Dustoff

     So your option is to have a car that cost a huge amount of cash and burns down  your home. Or a car that get’s 10 to 15mph.

    I’ll stick with the latter

  • GomeznSA

    Shoot – my li-ion powered cell phone gets warm to the touch after just a few minutes of continuous use – I can well imagine the amount of heat an 800lb battery pack would be capable of generating after extended use – just might be more than enough to ignite other flammables – either within the car itself or something nearby. Nah – there is no way the car could have caused that fire – cuz eric the expert said so……………….

  • GomeznSA

    Nah – the H1-2-3 were directly funded by the gummint – eric said so. It couldn’t possibly have been a marketing strategy – or could it?
    As to the Volt – what’s the total gummint subsidy PER car up to now – my calculator can’t keep up with the rising costs……….

  • Dunestone

    “hybrids, plug ins, or 100 percent electrics are here to stay because they’re good products and people want them”

    If even one of those three assertions was actually true, then we’d have been driving hybrids/electrics for decades already.

    Good products that people want are not subsidized by federal tax dollars.

  • Bob_Wallace

    What do you think you gain by repeating a lie?

    The battery pack was intact.  The car was not plugged.  It is extremely unlikely that the fire was started by the EV.

  • RenegadeScholar

    Seems like every car out there is subsidized in by the government in your opinion.

    We’re not talking about theoretical subsidies.

    Some cars actually have their prices subsidized by the government.

    The thing is, Eric, if these cars are so great, why do they need someone to artificially lower their prices? They should be worth every penny….

  • RenegadeScholar

    Great you can waste your money all you want, instead of owning a more efficient car.

    If only it were that simple.

    I’d prefer to “waste my money” on incandescent light bulbs. But mommy gubmint is taking that right away.

    If these things are a “waste of money,” shouldn’t it by MY choice whether to waste it?

  • TenFace

    Usually people use most cars sold in a year because a month is too short of a time frame to be significant.  Most people aren’t trying to paint their own version of reality though so maybe that’s where you went wrong.

  • DaneChile

    How did you arrive to that conclusion based upon the two premises cited?  It has a bohunkus  battery that can produce an “arc and a spark” without itself burning.  Is the battery casing inflammable?   There IS gasoline in the car and that battery DOES heat up a lot. 

    And perhaps it WAS plugged in.  I cannot imagine the owner of a battery-powered car that does not plug it in as soon as he arrives home.  Much like a celphone.

    In any case, a trained, experienced and certified fire inspector made a determination.  While one may second-guess him, you better show why his determination may be suspect.

  • TenFace

    Why are you so intent on this not being caused by the battery?  We don’t know that for sure, no one there ever said that, unless you have a link to some other information about this story that you have held out till now.  Once again we DO NOT KNOW this had nothing to do with the tire and you’ve provided nothing to prove otherwise but speculation.  What we do know is golf cart batteries which are similar do catch on fire they catch on fire much much much more often then rub on tires do. 

  • DaneChile

    It´s a four-seater and, judging by the photo, not a lot of luggage space.  The people that buy this car do so for the prestige;  there is no ecologic concern.  At U$100,000, you need to consider other options:  a Toyota compact with the same engineering performance costs what these days?  U$20,000?  Leaving $80,000 to buy gas or, at $5/gal, 16,000 gallons equating to about 480,000 miles.  Hell, even if you spend U$50,000 on  a snazzy little sports car, the money save will buy 300,000 miles.

  • Borghesius

    And electrons are not free.  

  • DaneChile

    Exactly.  In days of yore, there were steam-driven autos and trucks – many of which used coal.  All we have succeeded in doing is removing the coal plant from the cars and centrlized them in huge generating plants.  But it is still coal that is powering these electric cars.

  • http://www.facebook.com/esievering Eric Sievering

     You’re right.  We should bring back the horse and buggy, and you can bring that to register at the DMV, or maybe the steam powered car would serve you better?  Throw incandescent bulbs in the dust bin with the rest of technology that has become outmoded like, the car phone, an apple 2E computer, and other now useless products.

  • DaneChile

    Sport, are you aware that the Karma has a 260hp gasoline engine?  Thus, it has the same hazards of any gasoline-engine car plus the hazards associated with a bohunkus battry pack, a hefty generator and two electric motors.

    I guarantee I will feel significantly less stupid paying the high cost of gas than I would wasting $100,000 on a car to get me and mine from Point A to Point B safely.

  • Borghesius

    We have a sizable population of Amish about one county over, who never left the horse and buggy.  Large families, generally happy, and more likely to survive global turmoil than most, with the exception of their passivism.  When all other family farms were collapsing under debt and fuel costs, they were still profitable.  

    It is their choice, because we (used to be) are free.  We get to decide what product is useless.  If I want to go home and play Pong on my Atari, it is none of the Government’s business.  If I want to use incandescent lamps to warm my baby chickens and ducks (using the “waste” heat) it is none of the Government’s business.  If I want to read a book made out of paper, I will go to a store or on line and buy a book made of paper, and fold down the pages to mark my place.  And I will use a computer too.  My choice.  Efficient gasoline or diesel car: my choice.  

    Technology tyrant.  Please find yourself a copy of Lehmen’s non-electric Catalog, which you can even review on line.  You may even find products not made in China that last more than 25 minutes.

  • DaneChile

    I have a teensy little question:  how could the estimated damage caused by the fire be $100,000 when the Karma itself cost $100,000 and it was less than 60 days old?

  • http://www.facebook.com/esievering Eric Sievering

    It’s really too bad that there is sooo much negativity towards, hybrids, electrics, and other cars like that on this page.  There is a real economic opportunity here and if we do nothing to gain a foothold with this technology someone else will.  China is also working hard to develop electric cars.  We may still need traditional oil and gas jobs for some time, but why shouldn’t we also take advantage of the new opportunities business offers us.  I think we can do multiple things in the economy at the same time.  For example Tesla may not be a big company at the moment, but it is an American company making cars here, providing jobs, here, and those cars all use energy from this country, meaning jobs here.  Some of you need to open your eyes to the opportunity here instead of this endless negativity I see. 

  • Borghesius

    China is also building ghost cities with empty buildings, so that later they can force people to live there.  And if you have an unapproved baby, it gets left in a room till it dies.  Ask Mr. Chen if the China model is one we should copy.

    We do not mind a company taking advantage of the new opportunities business offers.  If Tesla can produce a product that people want, playing off of rich people who want to look like they care about the world, go to it.  What most conservatives bridle against is the heavy hand of central planners deciding what we want, or should have, and then confiscating money from all the taxpayers to give to politically connected friends who in turn give large amounts to campaign contributions.  It is the opposite of a company taking advantage of a business opportunity.  And when we see the failure of Central Planning, be it solar panels or electric cars or “high speed rail” that NEVER can survive without tax money, it just highlights that central planning is coercive, anti-productive, and wastes valuable resources.  It makes the world poorer.

    When technology works, and is competitive, the market and human inventiveness will take care of it entirely without government intervention.

  • http://www.facebook.com/esievering Eric Sievering

     I think that’s a good point about their labor.  It’s interesting to see that many of the largest economies in the world are simply those with the most people and consumers, i.e. China, India, euro zone(which as a whole has a large population), and Brazil.  By the way did you know back in the 1800s England was the manufacturing powerhouse of the day, and that an American went to England, and worked in their factories to steal their designs?  He then brought back their better designs to our manufacturing abilities and it was a big boost to the industrial age for our country?  I’m not saying it should be okay for China to steal all these ideas, and it is interesting to watch how that has been playing out in the solar sector.  It has caused many of our companies to close up shop which is bad for us, but it has driven the cost down and now solar is expanding at a record pace.  I sometimes wonder with your idea about wage rates equalizing if that’s really just going to happen everywhere including here with globalization.  So would that mean our wages will come down until they meet the rest of the worlds, or will their wages come up to meet us???  Probably something in the middle which isn’t really great for most of this country. 

  • Concerned4America

     The fact that the battery survived does not mean that the electrical system was not at fault, just that the battery was not the weak link in the system and this was not a case of lithium battery overheat/explosion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/esievering Eric Sievering

    This from other news sources that discredits the idea that the battery caused the fire.  I think you should take this article down, change it or something.

    From the investigation:
    “As of now, multiple insurance investigators are involved, and we have
    not ruled out possible fraud or malicious intent. We are aware that
    fireworks were found in the garage in or around the vehicles. Also, an
    electrical panel located in the garage next to the vehicles is also
    being examined by the investigators as well as fire department
    officials. Based on initial observations and inspections, the Karma’s
    lithium ion battery pack was not being charged at the time and is still
    intact and does not appear to have been a contributing factor in this
    incident. 

    From fisker:

    “Fisker released a statement saying that the electric car’s battery pack
    was intact and “does not appear to be a contributing factor in this
    incident.” The Fisker Karma is a luxury sports car that runs on electric
    motors and has a gasoline engine to extend the driving range.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/esievering Eric Sievering

     See my post below that points to the battery as not the cause of this fire, as reported now from other news sources.  Additionally there was a pretty in depth study that showed yes in some states a pure electric car isn’t always the cleanest.   Although many states that don’t run on 100 percent coal don’t have that issue.  Essentially if you live in Wyoming a 100 percent electric car isn’t the cleanest, but if you live in say California or Vermont a 100 percent electric car is the cleanest, because there is very little emissions from the power in those states.  The cleanest car to drive in a 100 percent coal powered state was determined to be….the prius, which is as we know is somewhat electrically charged being it’s a hybrid.  I can point you in the direction of the study if you’re interested.

  • http://www.facebook.com/esievering Eric Sievering

     Sorry that’s not exactly true.  There was a pretty in depth study done on that recently and it depends on what state you live in.  If you live in a state with high coal use like Wyoming yes the Toyota Prius was deemed to be the cleanest car not an 100 percent electric car….But if you live in say California, an 100 percent electric car was deemed to be the cleanest because the energy there is so much cleaner.

  • Borghesius

    Yep, central Ohio, dirty coal.  But the general point is, the energy is coming from somewhere.  And just because it is “clean”, doesn’t mean it has no environmental problems, or cost.  All of these things blunt the marketing “greenness” of the plug in electrics.  Including the mining for battery components.  
    Wind = dead birds.  Hydro = dead fish, change to the river ecosystems.  Nuclear.  I love it, but the plants are getting old and they aren’t being replaced with modern safer plants.  Natural Gas: still a fossil fuel w/ carbon.  

  • Borghesius

    Agree.  Meet somewhere in the low middle (there is a lot more of them than us) and it will be very hard on us, especially Union employees.  It already has been.  

    The one thing I agree with Marx on, is that value in the world is produced by the power of human labor.  Without labor, a tree is pretty but not of use.  Ore is a rock in the ground.  People create wealth.  People are a resource.  That why the population control people are mistaken:  eliminate 50% of the people, they actually don’t have more stuff to go around, they have less stuff and nobody to support their lifestyle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gordon-Michael-Avery/1307461165 Gordon Michael Avery

     SPLENDID post. I was a used car dealer for 30 years.Before that a mechanic. Here is a TRUE economy car. Go by yourself a hard- loaded suburban with a 350 v8 from some guy who lives in an upscale neighborhood who is a guy over 50 with a good job.You can buy his 99 model in excellent condition that had been meticulously maintained for around 3 t0 4 grand.  He paid around 50 grand for this puppy in 99. Naturally it slept in a climate controlled garage almost every night of its life. An investment like this is not abused or neglected. it has maybe 125 k. on the clock.If you continue to service this unit properly,do not try to pull a trailer while in overdrive or while using the cruse,you should be able to get an additional 200 k. out of it while getting 15 in town and 17 on the highway. if you get in an accident,you are the most likely to walk awa y from it to live another day. You can take every body you want to in the same vehicle when with a smaller vehicle,you probably will have to take more than one vehicle to even go out to dinner,if you have friends or grand children,as we do. also,every one on board has plenty of room to stretch their legs out and be comfortable. That is what I have been doing for years,and i have saved thousands,and we have been safe and comfortable. Before that,I drove fleet wood Caddies  15 mpg.. The worst car I ever bought was a brand new 79 Honda wagon. The best mileage it ever got was 17 on the highway. It was extremely uncomfortable. The first time we went out of town.[300] miles. It quit in a small town in central Texas.I fooled around under the hood and figured out the contact points had burned up. CONTACT POINTS???  Gm had electronic ignition beginning in 75. and this technically advanced wonder machine was still using points. After many,many repairs, I sent this marvel to the local dealers auction,or ”dust bowl”  It had 75 k. right miles on it and was wore slap out. I t fetched the kingly sum of $250. Good riddance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gordon-Michael-Avery/1307461165 Gordon Michael Avery

    maybe someone stored a nine volt battery and steel wool together in the glove compartment. or ball lightning rolled into the garage and set it off. Seriously though,i have seen a tahoe catch on fire because a wire in the heated front passenger seat shorted out on the steel inside the seat. when the passenger changed her position with the seat control,the short set the rubber seat foam on fire and all hell broke loose at 70 mph. you never know what will set a vehicle off,really. My dad would never park a vehicle in an attached garage. he didn’t cherish the thought of burning up in his sleep because of an auto fire.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gordon-Michael-Avery/1307461165 Gordon Michael Avery

     Finally, a commenter who knows how to do simple,real world math. A rare find these days. Amazing how so many over educated people cannot take a dime store calculator and do 5 minutes of cost- benefit study. like they say,do the math,like this guy did

  • Dunestone

    Yes, buying used is definitely the way to go.  I bought new once – just once.  The thrill of being the first owner was more than off-set by having to get all the ‘factory errors’ corrected.  That car was back in the dealer’s shop every other week for almost 2 months before it was actually up to spec.  So much for that vaunted GM quality control we’ve heard so much about.

    On the upshot, it did eventually turn out to be a great vehicle for me and I drove that thing as my primary car for just short of 15 years.  Even so, it only had 130k on it when I traded . . . but the body was rusting out, so we had to part ways.  Which was unfortunate because that engine & drive train (Buick’s 3800 series) would have easily held out for another 100k, I’m sure.

  • Popsi_Here

     EV-gas hybrid sales topped 2 million in 2011, and while these numbers are modest, demand is growing.  Still, we have to face the reality that the current manufacturing infrastructure will not be able to supply each household in the U.S.A with an EV in the near future – even if there was enough demand for it. We already have alternatives that are cheaper, cleaner and American made. The problem is that the current fuel system is a monopoly.  A free fuel market will enable the consumer to select their fuel, and it will eliminate the need for subsidies.

    Ethanol: Derived from plant materials, ethanol can be a cheaper, cleaner
    alternative to the gasoline that fuels our vehicles. Much of the
    gasoline sold at the pumps is already up to 10% ethanol & flex-fuel vehicles run on fuel that is up to 85
    percent ethanol. Ethanol in the U.S. is made from corn, yet ethanol
    can be made from any biomass—including garbage.

    Methanol: Cheaper, cleaner and less
    flammable than gasoline. Made from both fossil fuels and renewable
    resources, it is used in race cars and in emerging economies such as
    China.

    Natural Gas: Most of the natural gas used in the U.S. is going to homes and
    businesses, but it also powers more than 100,000—and counting—vehicles.
    It’s popular with fleets and buses: non-toxic, odorless, clean-burning
    and cheaper than gasoline and diesel. And consumers can buy a natural
    gas-powered Honda Civic that is already on the road.

    Since EV supply will not meet the demand that is needed for us to cease our dependency on foreign oil, and since our domestic oil supplies cannot satisfy our transportation needs,
    either now or in the future-we need to supplement these with cheaper,
    cleaner American-made fuels. We have abundant supplies of natural gas as well as the technology and ability to produce Ethanol and Methanol.  We need to open the markets and put the American consumers in the driving seat as we transition to better energy solutions.

  • Bob_Wallace

    Ethanol can be made from waste material. But as the world population grows we probably can’t afford the luxury of using food productive land for growing fuel. We also have to consider the long term effect of removing plant “waste” from field. Doing so removes organic matter from our soil and makes it less productive. Other wastes can be used for ethanol, but we might be best off using those sorts of fuels for airplanes and long distance trucking type demands which would be harder/impossible to move to electricity.

    Methane releases less CO2 when burned than coal or oil, but it still releases significant CO2. And leaked methane is an even worse greenhouse gas than CO2.

    Over a period of 12 to 20 years (depending on how one views ‘replacement’) we replace the majority of cars on the road. We can replace them with EVs as easily as replacing them with fossil or agricultural fueled cars. That’s a choice we are allowed to make.

    Ford set up an assembly line for Focus EVs in a couple of years. Nissan is building a new Leaf EV plant in Tennessee, a process that has taken only a couple of years. New battery plants are build in less than two years. Almost every car manufacturer now has at least one electric or plug-in hybrid model for sale or on the way to market.

    If we desired we could change over our manufacturing process to be a
    majority electric very quickly, most likely in less than five years.

    (Affordability is the issue. Battery prices have to come down.)

    About 50% of all American driving is done with cars that are five years old
    or newer. (People who drive a lot tend to change cars more frequently.)
    If we had affordable EVs we could make a major impact on imported oil very
    quickly. We could quickly limit our use to only US and Canadian sources
    and then fade out the very dirty Canadian supply. That would take away the
    hammer that the Middle East holds over our heads.

    Our grid could charge roughly 72% of all US cars were they to somehow
    magically turn into electrics overnight. We’ve got the generation capacity
    and the transmission. That tells us that we can easily charge 100% long
    before we can get that many units on the street.

    We build wind farms in less than two years, sometimes less than one year.
    Large solar arrays are brought on line in only weeks. We’ve got millions
    of willing workers who would be very happy to go to work installing new
    generation and earning a decent salary.

    All those people going to work would stimulate all of our economy. They
    would have money to spend on housing, clothing, appliances, cars,
    entertainment. Name your business and think about having millions of new
    customers would improve your bottom line.

    All those people would no longer need government help to keep them and
    their families going but would turn into good tax payers. We could start
    serious payment of our national debts. Cut social programs, not by cutting
    people loose to flounder, but put people to work so that there would be
    less need for those programs.

    The smart way to reduce social programs is to reduce the need for them.

    We could rebuild our middle class. People going to work at the ‘hands on’
    level means more management/supervisor jobs. And an influx of business for
    the local stores and owners.

    Long run we would all save significant money. The cost of driving an EV on
    $0.12/kWh electricity is about 4 cents per mile. You’d have to own a 50mpg
    gasmobile using $2/gallon gas to drive as cheaply. We all know that there
    is no $2/gallon gas in our future.

    Charging with late night wind-generated electricity would almost certainly
    cost much less than $0.12/kWh. Probably half that number. “$1/gallon gas”.

    That money not sent out of the country for oil would be spent inside the
    country. That would make business very much better.

    If one is conservative because of fiscal concerns, then it seems to me that
    they have to be in favor of electric cars and renewable energy. The
    numbers tell you so.