Model S catches on fire - Chevy Bolt EV Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Model S catches on fire

This is interesting. https://electrek.co/2019/04/21/tesla...-flames-video/
Tesla catches on fire parked in underground garage in China. Burns to a shell.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 12:16 PM
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I saw this earlier and it got me wondering about battery safety in my bolt for example "How likely am I to die in a fire in a bad enough accident". Looking for examples for the Bolt was not very fruitful;
I found a claim from someone who had their Bolt catch fire on their driveway and an interesting article claiming the battery pack isolates cells better and included some fire retardant which the teslas do not.

https://www.torquenews.com/1/why-tes...batteries-dont
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 02:28 PM
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Always remember that the number of car fires is significantly higher for ICE that EV and that the statistical ratio of car fires per 1000 vehicles (EV vs ICE). EVs can catch fire sometimes, but I think keeping a container of flammable liquid and the vapors from it (even more flammable) puts the needle pointing more towards ICE vehicles rather than EVs burning. Definitely explosive force is greater in ICE vehicles.

To your point, however, I have noticed that my garage gets warm if I charge the car while it is closed. I have a NEST smoke detector in my laundry room that was put there mainly for the washer/dryer but in theory it should detect a car fire as well. I also have a camera in the garage that allows me to check it in case something suspicious happens and it keeps footage in the cloud -- so if my garage burns, GM and I will have a conversation about how that fire might have started -- using clear 1080p as evidence.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 07:02 PM
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This is not limited to autos. A couple of days ago a battery storage substation just outside Phoenix, AZ exploded. See attached jpg of article.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 07:58 PM
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To put EV fires in perspective, consider these statistics from FEMA:

“Each year, from 2014 to 2016, an estimated 171,500 highway vehicle fires occurred in the United States, resulting in an annual average of 345 deaths; 1,300 injuries; and $1.1 billion in property loss.1 These highway vehicle fires accounted for 13 percent of fires responded to by fire departments across the nation.”

That’s almost 500 vehicle fires per day, or about one every three minutes.

They’re so commonplace that they rarely make the news, unless there’s a Tesla badge on the hood, and then it’s a big story.

Yes, EVs have the potential to catch fire in some circumstances. Based upon the FEMA statistics, it appears that every vehicle has the potential to catch fire, and many do, at least one every few minutes.

EVs are a fairly new technology, and every attempt should be made to research the causes of EV fires and to design EVs to minimize the chance of a fire, but it’s certainly not an epidemic, and the occasional EV fire shouldn’t be a cause for alarm or sensational headlines.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 09:36 PM
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I am perhaps overly cynical, but my first thought was I wonder if this was staged by the Chinese to promote their own
EVs or to basically discredit Tesla. This might be more effective than trade sanctions. It will be interesting to see what Tesla's investigation shows.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 12:31 AM
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No, was staged by the Chinese to discredit a president in the Russian's pocket.

(joke, by the way)

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 11:20 AM
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Garage
The main factor that increases the chances that all Tesla Model S and X vehicles will suffer a battery fire is the simple fact that each lithium cell is a thin aluminum cylinder isolated by just a jab of epoxy from the neighboring cells. Tesla admits that this is how they can obtain the highest energy density of all manufactured batteries.

But if one cell overheats and explodes, it begins a cascade effect. The shrapnel will take out the six nearby cells and continue the damage. If the explosion opens the pack and exposes the lithium to oxygen, then the cells will burn and the fire happens. The first external effect is the steam from the overheated coolant, then smoke and flames will appear after the coolant has evaporated.

The LG built battery for the Volt and Bolt EV are packed three in parallel and separated from the other cell packs by an aluminum cooling plate. If a cell overheats and explodes, the two neighboring cells will be impacted but the separating plates will isolate that damage and the pack will not suffer a fire.

So, in the design and construction of a battery pack, the manufacturer must decide between efficiency (higher energy density) and safety (more isolation between cells. This is like deciding between a lighter and energy efficient car (with less steel and safety) and a heavier and safer car (with more steel and safety) which will be less energy efficient but protect better. I prefer the latter because I make my cars energy efficient by changing my driving style.

Unless Tesla adds more insulation or uses stronger aluminum cases for each cell, we will be reading more Tesla fires in the news, and giving EVs a worse reputation than what they deserve.

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 11:41 AM
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This happens every single day for even ICE cars parked. The ONLY reason this is news is because it is a Tesla. Every day do a search for car catches on fire and you can find an example.



https://www.nbc-2.com/story/40346809...rtment-complex
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discodanman45 View Post
This happens every single day for even ICE cars parked. The ONLY reason this is news is because it is a Tesla. Every day do a search for car catches on fire and you can find an example.



https://www.nbc-2.com/story/40346809...rtment-complex
Not just every day, every three minutes!

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