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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-tesla-batteries-catch-fires-bolt-and-volt-batteries-dont
 

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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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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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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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No, was staged by the Chinese to discredit a president in the Russian's pocket.

(joke, by the way)
 

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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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Discussion Starter #11
It makes no **** difference how many fires are caused by ICE cars. This is a red herring always thrown in by people who are on the defensive. Same as "but daddy, she hit me first!"
This is a new technology and we get to start over and make the world a better and safer place. Not be smug and in contempt because we are not quite as bad as the other guy. If Tesla and any other car manufacturer are trading off safety for range than this is just wrong and has nothing to do with statistics of gas powered cars.
If I'm walking down the street and there is a drive by shooting and the bullet just misses me I don't get to go home and say guns in the hands of gangsters is ok cause look, I'm still alive.

I'm am totally open to hearing that in China they ran over a chunk of road debris and that is what caused the S to burn. Still makes me wonder about shielding though.

And yes, it should make the news and be in the headlines just like the BMW's and Mini Coopers that spontaneously combusted were. Fair is fair and people need to know what they are getting into. How safe do you feel tonight parking your Tesla S in your garage with all your other toys and your loved ones sleeping feet away? How safe is the Bolt really? No one really knows but to hide behind statistics to say "not that bad really, just look at ICE cars".

Oh I almost forgot, the Boeing Max 8 crashes are not that big a deal because statiscally, airplane travel is getting safer every year. We all accept a certain amount of risk in our lives, and car driving is dangerous enough without car companies spiking the punch. Thinking Ford Pinto here. I truly, truly hope this is not the case with Tesla. Keeping an open mind.
 

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It makes no **** difference how many fires are caused by ICE cars.
That's right. I doesn't matter that Teslas are more likely to catch fire than Chevys either. California is more likely to catch fire than Montana. I don't own a Tesla or live in California, but for the most part I don't think anyone should be overly worried about either unless you actually smell smoke.

It's a car fire. Watch it burn, say "wow" and move on. If it's your car, then my condolences to you.
 

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I'm am totally open to hearing that in China they ran over a chunk of road debris and that is what caused the S to burn. Still makes me wonder about shielding though.
This is the typical scenario, where someone runs over debris that penetrates the shield on the battery pack. Can't imagine that one wouldn't hear the impact. If you run over something, don't go parking any EV in your garage until you're satisfied that it didn't do more damage than you think. Same goes with a gas car, you penetrate the fuel tank, don't park in your garage either. Maybe an improvement to EV's is an odorant that stinks so bad, you'll know that you've damaged the battery.
 

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It makes no **** difference how many fires are caused by ICE cars. This is a red herring always thrown in by people who are on the defensive. Same as "but daddy, she hit me first!"
This is a new technology and we get to start over and make the world a better and safer place. Not be smug and in contempt because we are not quite as bad as the other guy. If Tesla and any other car manufacturer are trading off safety for range than this is just wrong and has nothing to do with statistics of gas powered cars.
If I'm walking down the street and there is a drive by shooting and the bullet just misses me I don't get to go home and say guns in the hands of gangsters is ok cause look, I'm still alive.

I'm am totally open to hearing that in China they ran over a chunk of road debris and that is what caused the S to burn. Still makes me wonder about shielding though.

And yes, it should make the news and be in the headlines just like the BMW's and Mini Coopers that spontaneously combusted were. Fair is fair and people need to know what they are getting into. How safe do you feel tonight parking your Tesla S in your garage with all your other toys and your loved ones sleeping feet away? How safe is the Bolt really? No one really knows but to hide behind statistics to say "not that bad really, just look at ICE cars".

Oh I almost forgot, the Boeing Max 8 crashes are not that big a deal because statiscally, airplane travel is getting safer every year. We all accept a certain amount of risk in our lives, and car driving is dangerous enough without car companies spiking the punch. Thinking Ford Pinto here. I truly, truly hope this is not the case with Tesla. Keeping an open mind.
I’d be interested in how many EV fires there are as a percentage of EVs on the road, versus the same statistic for ICE vehicles.

No technology is perfect, especially a new technology with new risks. However, it appears that EV fires are rare, there is no epidemic of EVs catching fire. It is perhaps this rarity and novelty that’s driving the headlines when an EV does catch fire.

The two Boeing crashes killed hundreds of people, certainly a cause for alarm.

Nobody has died as a result of an EV car fire.

According to Tesla, an ICE vehicle is about 11 times more likely to catch fire than a Tesla. Now, you can take that statistic with a grain of salt, but how safe do you feel with your ICE vehicle in the garage and loved ones sleeping feet away?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I feel concerned enough that I am researching a fire suppression system in my garage. I don't see any that will put out a 60kWh Li battery fire yet. The point I am trying to make is that it would be a shame if Tesla pulled a Boeing and took risks to achieve great numbers. I sincerely hope not, I have zero malice towards Tesla and am not shorting their stock. Musk plays a little to fast and loose for my likings but I respect the vision.
When autos started to replace horses people were concerned that lots of people would die from those new fangled contraptions. They were right.
 

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It makes no **** difference how many fires are caused by ICE cars.
It does make a difference, at least to the extent that it sets a bar showing how many vehicle fires the public is willing to accept as being a necessary evil in order to get the benefits of car ownership. As long as EVs don't result in any more fires (by some criteria, per vehicle or per vehicle-year or per vehicle-mile, for example, and sure to be argued over) then the EV industry can point to ICE fires as being worse.

It's rather like fully autonomous cars. Any accident involving death or injury is big news despite the fact that conventional cars kill tens of thousands every year. In my opinion self-driving cars don't have to be perfect, they just have to cause less carnage than the humans do.
 

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If Tesla and any other car manufacturer are trading off safety for range than this is just wrong and has nothing to do with statistics of gas powered cars.
Safety vs performance is always a compromise, 100% of the time, in every single design. The notion of zero compromises in safety is a fantasy, and we wouldn't want it anyhow.

What if I limit the vehicle's speed to just 5 miles per hour for increased safety? Well, we could lower that to 2 MPH so that we have no compromises in safety... but wait, what if we limit it to zero miles per hour to have no compromises in safety? Heck, it won't even have a battery that could catch fire, or a metal body that can cut you. Just send me a check, and I'll send you nothing; the safest option.

So, every decision weighs risk with reward and attempts a best compromise. Sometimes the risk and reward, or both, are poorly estimated. Back to re-evaluating the assumptions and tweaking design.

The red herring is to imagine a uncompromising safety design and expect anything useful to come of it.

...see my signature.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Redpoint5, I respectfully disagree. Safety can be engineered in from he beginning with little or no decrease in performance. Say I build a kayak with positive flotation built in to the bow and stern. The kayak flips over and the person can easily right the boat, climb back in and bail out the water. Where is the performance lost? Maybe a few cubic feet of storage? I'm sure as your boat is sinking you would have been glad to give that up. You are confusing issues here, Capitalism, performance and safety, Capitalism says make the product so we can get great return for our investors. Make the product just safe enough to pass some regulations and so too many people won't die. Performance I have found is to be largely ego driven and would not have to be a compromise with safety if our expectations matched our supposed wisdom. Do we really need a motorcycle capable of 200 mph delivered to an 18 year old who just got their drivers license? You get your performance sure, but how hard would it be to have a factory rev-limiter that clocks miles and shuts off after 5000 miles of "training time". Might cost $5 worth of a chip or two. Well that's not American I here you cry. Don't tell me how to drive my bike! Ego. No, performance at least regarding motor vehicles, is mostly ego. And your argument about a zero miles per hour car is absurd. It would be unusable and therefore irrelevant. Safety, lastly is the most elusive. There is your own personal safety but how fair is it to take other people out with you because of your need to please Wall Street or because your bike or car is faster than your brain? Life isn't 100% safe for sure, but we seem to make the same mistakes over and over again because we make assumptions like "Safety and performance are always a compromise" which gives us the permission to cut corners when we know better.
The whole problem with the Boeing Max 8 could have been avoided by simply limiting the up travel of the stabilizer or elevator to avoid a stall. But greed, not performance gets in the way and says the plane must get to flight level 350 as quick as possible so our planes looks as good as Airbus's. Performance, I guess I'm saying, is a state of mind that is easily adjusted or modified by careful reasoning of what do you REALLY need here to accomplish the job. Is ten miles more range on paper for an EV worth a battery fire? Safety or lack of it is lights out, game over.
Except in a few rare instances, safety and performance do not belong in the same equation. It is only us stupid humans who are taught that to provide ego rushes or more money.
 
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