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Fisker Automotive probes second flaming eco car

Not only price tag that's too hot to handle for Karma

The luxury sports sedan of the ecologically-minded, the Fisker Karma, is being investigated after another one went up in flames.

A Karma caught fire on Saturday when it was parked in Woodside, California, but Fisker Automotive said that neither "the lithium-ion battery pack, new technology components nor unique exhaust routing" were to blame for the incident.

"The area of origin for the fire was determined to be outside the engine compartment. There was no damage to the passenger compartment and there were no injuries," the company said in a canned statement.

Fisker said it would continue to investigate the fire, which follows a similar incident in Sugar Land, Texas in May this year. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into the Texas fire, but hasn't identified any cause yet.

Fisker has been plagued by rumours that the Karma, beloved of planet-hugging celebs like Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio (who is also an investor), was rushed to market before it was really ready.

The car has also had a string of mishaps including two recalls, getting cut off from a $529m pot the Department of Energy was handing out after it failed to meet unknown milestones and an SEC investigation of its venture capital fund raisers.

The car is a plug-in hybrid that can do 50 miles on its battery before needing to switch over to its gasoline engine. Only around a thousand customers have been able to afford the luxury green vehicle since it went on sale in December for the pocket-roasting price of $103,000. ®

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