Porsche Faces Lawsuits in Germany Over Car Carrier Fire Linked to Electric Vehicle

March 3, 2024

Porsche Faces Lawsuits in Germany Over Car Carrier Fire Linked to Electric Vehicle

March 7th, 2024

Porsche finds itself embroiled in legal battles as two separate lawsuits have been filed against the luxury car manufacturer in Germany, stemming from a car carrier fire in 2022, allegedly ignited by one of the brand’s electric vehicles (EVs) onboard the vessel.

Large RORO carrier engulfed in smoke and charred in the ocean. Porsche faces lawsuits as a result
Felicity Ace / Photo: Marinha Portuguesa (Portuguese Navy)

The incident occurred in February 2022, when a fire erupted aboard the Panama-flagged, Japanese-operated Felicity Ace car carrier. The vessel, en route from Germany to a US port in Rhode Island, subsequently capsized and sank about 400 kilometres off the Portuguese coast. Fortunately, all 22 crew members were rescued unharmed.

Reports from business publication Bloomberg indicate that both Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), the ship’s operator, and Allianz, the car carrier’s insurer, have lodged lawsuits against Porsche in Germany. They allege that a faulty EV manufactured by Porsche was the root cause of the fire, resulting in the loss of 3,965 vehicles onboard the ship.

The fire blazed for three weeks and inflicted damage estimated to cost between $400 million and $500 million. When ignited, lithium-ion batteries used in EVs can reach temperatures exceeding 2,700 degrees Celsius, highlighting the inherent risks associated with transporting such vehicles by sea.

In a report by Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality, fire and explosion incidents were identified as the leading cause of marine insurance losses by value from 2017 to 2021, underscoring the importance of proper safety measures for transporting electric vehicles.

The plaintiffs allege that Porsche’s parent company, Volkswagen, failed to adequately inform MOL and Allianz about the potential dangers and necessary precautions for shipping an EV. Although Volkswagen confirmed receipt of the lawsuits when approached by Bloomberg, it refrained from commenting on the accusations.

Notably, the Felicity Ace was transporting a mix of new and used vehicles, including 15 Lamborghini Aventador Ultimaes, prompting the restart of production to fulfil the unmet deliveries.

No Australian-bound vehicles were affected.

MORE: Heres a list of cars that sank with the Felicity Ace car carrier

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