Wealthy residents of opulent Mid East countries such as Abu Dhabi have been well known for owning various types of luxury vehicles, ranging from solid gold Mercedes sport cars that run on biofuel to ungreen armored gold trimmed Rolls Royce EWB Phantom limousines. A new type of luxury sports car, the US-made Fisker Karma electric hybrid sports car, is now being imported into the UAE and other Middle East countries by Dubai based Al-Futtaim Trading Enterprises, as reported in a recent Green Prophet article, but potential buyers should be warned that the car has been riddled with problems.
A Fisker Karma hybrid
Some Middle East buyers may have to wait awhile for their new Fisker, however, as it was reported that 16 of these super fast electric hybrids burned and exploded at a storage lot in the Port of New Jersey where they had been parked prior to being exported abroad. The cars were flooded by seawater during the recent hurricane Sandy super storm and investigators are trying to determine what caused the car’s batteries to catch fire and then literally explode.
Although it is still too early to determine exactly what caused this to happen, theories seem to point to the possibility of an electrical short circuit caused by the cars being submerged in seawater. This isn’t the first time that these cars have caught fire, however. There have been other incidents, including one in the US state of Texas when a Fisker Karma caught fire when its owner stopped at a supermarket to buy groceries. This incident occurred about two months after the company recalled 600 cars due to a possible battery defect.
Another US manufactured hybrid car, GM’s Chevrolet Volt also has had problems with car batteries catching on fire during side impact crash tests.
Importing these $140,000 cars into the Middle East, especially Arabian Gulf countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait could cause more problems for these cars due to the extremely high summer temperatures of as much as 45 degrees Celsius as well as the possibility of the danger of tidal surges caused by cyclones and similar storms.
It’s still too early to tell whether these cars, which incorporate a small auxiliary gasoline engine to recharge the car’s battery pack to extend their driving distance, will have similar problems in the Middle East. But we do advise buyers to proceed with caution.
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