Well, this is toasty!
Video has surfaced of a parked Tesla Model 3 erupting into flames. These things can kill even when they aren’t moving, apparently.
This is a dubious “first.”
There have been cars that do not perform well in crash tests; there have even been crash-prone cars. But they were safe when standing still. Teslas apparently aren’t. This one just spontaneously combusted. And when it lit up, it took out at least three other cars parked within the orbit of the auto-da-fe.
Luckily, no one was killed.
This time. But how about next time?
Better to park outside – as far from your home and family as possible. And from your business. Or anything else you’d rather not see burned to charcoal.
Maybe there should be reserved spaces for electric cars, complete with automatic chemical fire extinguishing systems – which ought to be mandatory.
Cost is already no object when it comes to electric cars. Limitless money (other people’s money) has been hurled into the proverbial – and actual – electric car bonfire. More can’t hurt, right?
There are IC No Go zones – premised on the allegation that internal combustion presents a danger to public (but never a specific individual’s) health. Well, here we have a type of car that is demonstrably dangerous; which has actually killed people and will almost certainly kill again.
Maybe there should be EV No Go Zones, too.
Schools and surrounding areas, for openers. Isn’t the saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety of “the children” important? There is hystericized speed enforcement near schools, even when school is not in session, on the theory that a car traveling at a rate faster than a man can jog poses an intense threat to any tot who might be in the area.
Well, what about a Tesla parked right outside a classroom, or anywhere near where kids might be playing? We have proof that these cars can explode without warning, spewing not just fire but toxic fumes.
It is allowed because it jibes with the Agenda – on the same general reasoning that the Catholic Church covered up the doings (and diddlings) of pedophile priests, i.e., the “greater good.” It is important to preserve the sanctity of electric cars; to not scare people off.
But the fact is that EVs are uniquely dangerous. Tremendous voltage (400 volts or more) stored in a highly reactive battery pack that can – and has – caught fire without an external ignition source.
All it takes is a short circuit or physical damage to the battery pack itself, which triggers the short circuit.
Gasoline is inherently much safer. It only burns when vaporized – and only when there is an ignition source. A gas tank damaged in a wreck does not result in a fire unless there is a spark. Liquid gas can be dripping out – and so long as there’s no spark, there is no fire.
Gasoline is stable. Diesel even more so. It is almost impossible to ignite diesel without compression and heat. You can throw a match onto a puddle of diesel and it usually won’t burn.
But lithium-ion battery packs can – and have – just lit up. Even when the car they are in wasn’t hit by anything. Like the cell phones which have taken down airplanes. They, too, just went into thermal overload and now we’re cooking.
Tesla, as usual, is denying there’s a problem.
“We immediately sent a team onsite and we’re supporting local authorities to establish the facts. From what we know now, no one was harmed,” Tesla said in a statement.
Well, sure. No one was harmed – because (fortunately) no one was nearby. Or sleeping in any of the cars parked nearby. If they had been, they would have been hurt – a point the Teslian statement misses.
There have been at least 14 instances of Tesla cars catching fire since 2013, with the majority occurring after a crash.
“The car fire is just another data point of continued difficulties,” Roth Capital analyst Craig Irwin wrote in an email. “Not a lot of good news for Tesla these days.”
Indeed. Shares were down 4 percent when the news of the Shanghai fire erupted.
Tesla will report its first-quarter results tomorrow; the company has pre-emptively stated it will post yet another in a series of losses going on now for the past almost 15 years.
Amazing what crony capitalism can do.
But that’s just the point. The crony part. Tesla survives because it does not have to abide by the rules of capitalism – the prime directive of which used to be: Make a profit by convincing enough people to give you more money for an item than it cost you to make it.
It is much easier to take money by serving the interests of the busybodies and control freaks who constitute “the government.”
They want us in EVs, no matter how much it costs us – and even if it kills us.
. . .
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400V batteries? Holy hell! That could cause an arc-flash, i.e electrical explosion, if the opportunity presents itself. I’d rather buy a type of car that doesn’t require a multi-thousand dollar arc-flash protective spacesuit just to work on it. Perhaps that’s what they want anyway, people who own the car not being able to repair it themselves.
I love this John Stossel video about “green” energy (including batteries): https://youtu.be/RIOiGtO2UBA
Great article. Although I’m not excusing Telsa from responsibility, I do recall some news articles on some Ford products spontaneously combusting due to some issue with the cruise control switch.
They would often catch fire overnight while parked.
Not as impressive as a EV battery fire, but still a case of this happening to IC cars.
I blame Ford for forcing everyone to spend more at each tire replacement for tire pressure monitors. One car (Ford Explorer) has an issue with tires running low, and now everybody has to adopt this ridiculous technology. Not sure if it is a coincidence, but when having my wheels balanced, there are a boatload of weights opposite the TPM on the valve stem – or every valve stem. Just another annoyance.
And then you have to flash the ECU for the new wheel locations if you rotate tires like you should.
I have a newer ford, thankfully, it recognizes the wheel rotations all by itself, without needing to reprogram the ECU.
My damn subaru, on the other hand, needs some really annoying reprogramming that’s hard to debug.
The Explorer rear tire issue was not a tire issue. They sold it as that. The oem tire manuf. was laid out as the culprit. And then the tire manuf. was able to dodge by saying ‘too low a pressure is the problem’. They went roundy round till no one remembered.
It was a poor rear suspension design that side loaded the tires too much. Yes, low psi tires exasperated the problem. Ford quickly redesigned the rear suspension. And the feds forced tire monitors on us all.
They’re charging them too fast trying to make them more appealing. This destroys the cell insulators and allows for a short circuit. The heat rapidly spreads to the nearby cells and any combustible material lights off. I have seen lead acid batteries do this although rarely. Lithium batteries are much more dangerous. I’d say eight on a scale of ten.
If governments come down on these batteries it would immediately eliminate any credibility built up over the years. Of course the fires aren’t helping either. IMO ‘useful’ battery technology isn’t much further than the early 1900s when they gave up battery for the IC engine which was much more efficient.
And Eric,,, This article isn’t going to get ghoul-goo’s seal of approval either. A lot more work is needed to smooth off those rough edges…..
And, to be precise, the phenomenon of “regulatory capture” you reference and many call “Crony Capitalism” should, IMHO, be called Crony Communism, since the power “flows from the barrel of a gun” held by the State.
I understand these terms get mixed up but I think crony capitalism is really fascim. Theres an illusion of private companies but really the corporations and government are in bed together. Same thing with google instragam facebook tesla blah blah blah. Germany was the same way in WW2. the corporations acted at the instructions of the government.
Another front for fascism is public private partnership. My personal favorite.
Or the thought that it isn’t Fascism if the ends are green/progressive/social justice.
M3 all western countries are now fascist countries. No different to Germany or Italy WW2 at all. We are ruled by corporations, not governments. That’s why all companies now have these totally vague “social platforms”, to remove all freedom of speech.
supposedly the orange bloated ass was supposed to rescue us from this but apparently not.
Rescuing the USA is as possible as rescuing the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. As a constitutional republic it’s for sure burnt toast.
Lincoln started trashing the Constitution, and it only got worse from there…
Well, many view the Constitution itself as trashing the far superior Articles of Confederation. Still, the trashing of the Constitution began well before Lincoln. It only made it about 11 years until Hamilton’s idea of implied powers superseded the clear language of the text.
What did Hamilton do? I can’t remember. I know Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, prohibited the MD legislature from meeting, stuff like that. I can’t remember what Hamilton did though. That said, it wouldn’t surprise me, because he was a staunch Federalist.
Hamilton founded the Federalist party which passed the “Alien and Sedition Acts”, signed into law by John Adams in 1798. The Sedition act specifically “criminalized making false statements that were critical of the federal government”. In addition, Hamilton was the primary voice in favor of an expansive reading of the text; he argued that the Constitution should be construed to allow for “implied powers”. This debate is responsible for the famous Jefferson quote, “bound by the chains of the Constitution”.
Hamilton could be viewed as the godfather of the “living constitution’.
Most of our problems can be traced back to Hamilton. It’s a shame that he didn’t get into his little dust-up with Aaron Burr a bit earlier in his life.
Then again even if we had been rid of Hamilton I’m sure someone else would have arisen fill his shoes. There never seems to be a shortage of statist control freaks in every era.
Ah, now I remember! I remember the Alien & Sedition Acts from HS.
And yes, if Burr had knocked off Hamilton earlier, some other prominent Federalist would have stepped up.
I have been a Burrite for a long time. The guy was hip, in on the con. I part ways with him over his becoming part of the con (or trying to) but I give the guy a salute for calling bullshit on Hamilton and co. And, for getting rid of him, too.
Whatever the failings on Aaron Burr’s part, he did humanity a great service when he faced Al Hamilton on the field of honor and lit his sorry ass up.
What happened in 1787 is the best possible argument AGAINST a new Constitutional convention! There is a movement for one, you know; it’s called convention of states, or COS. The proponents scoff at the notion that it’ll be a runaway convention that gets away from simply adding amendments to our present Constitution; talk show host Mark Levin is one of the worst for this.
What the COS proponents NEVER bring up is 1787-never! The Philly convention was held ostensibly to tweak the Articles of Confederation. Once there though, the delegates claimed plenipotentiary powers and crafted the Constitution we now have.
Another thing the COS proponents ignore is this: if the Constitution’s limits are being flouted now, why will adding some amendments magically cure this? How will adding some amendments reign in an already out of control federal government? Answer: they won’t.
Levin is a very interesting lunatic. He is a fanatical neocon, and shouldn’t be trusted further than he can be thrown. That I agree with him on a few things makes me question those beliefs…
He’s more dangerous than the leftists and statists; with them, you KNOW where they’re coming from and where they’re going. Levin is dangerous because he’s a traitor who ACTS like he’s on our side, but he’s really not.
Back in the 1970s, it was leftists and statists who pushed for a Con-Con. When the powers behind the Con-con didn’t get anywhere, they changed tack; they got ‘conservatives’ to push it instead. Thanks to the neocon efforts, a disturbing number of states have RATIFIED calls for a COS. God help us if we ever get one! We ain’t seen NOTHIN’ yet…
Despite his protestation to the contrary, Levin is an extreme Statist. His core belief, that government should be empowered to do what he prefers and barred from doing what he does not like, is identical to that of the leftists he despises. And, just like them, he will twist the Constitution so that it supports his view.
Remember when he would scream “Idiot” at anyone who pointed out that the Constitution reserves the war making power to Congress? Or his continued support for the drug war? Or his contempt for nullification and interposition?
Of course he’ll say some things that you agree with but, as you point out, he’s still a fanatical neocon.
Back in the ’90s – when I was still on the reservation (working in DC, as an editorial writer at The Washington Times) I met several of these neocon creatures, including arguably the most loathsome of them all – Bill Kristol. This puffy poltroon incited in me the berserker rage Heine wrote about in his poems. If a battle ax had been handy, I doubt I could have restrained myself…
My real fantasy, though, is to equip Kristol and all the other neocons with the very latest BDUs, give each an M16 and then air drop the bastards over Tehran to “regime change” the place.
I refer to Kristol as the Paul Ehrlich of the right. Being wrong about everything, as well as being transparent moral monsters, has only enhanced their influence. How the fuck does that work?
If nothing else, Donald Trump’s campaign and subsequent election to POTUS SMOKED OUT all these people such as Mr. Kristol. Prior to DJT’s ascendancy, we didn’t know what Kristol, George Will, et al were REALLY like; now we do.
It’s nice where I am today, so I’m going to hop on my Burgman, go for a ride, and get lunch… 🙂
Wait Eric, shouldn’t that be “Autonomous Immolation”? The car is so “Smart” it decided to burn itself to a cinder! I swear, if people don’t start waking up to the lethal nature of these facockamamie “thermite grenades” on wheels, they deserve to burn with them!
Oh, wait, even better….that’s the “Nostradamus Feature”…it predicts the future and “warns” it’s owner!
Memories of Vietnam monks…circa 1963.
The batteries can be shielded in EVs. I know, because Formula E race cars’ battery packs are shielded protect against collisions. In FE, they have plenty of collisions during the races, yet no cars have caught fire. Why are Teslas catching fire after accidents?
The answer is likely in very specific rules for battery pack construction in formula E that would be very costly if not simply unsuitable for passenger automobile. Looking around the web I found the cases are carbon fiber and the chemistry is different. The non-metal case certainly reduces the chances of a short (and fire) in a crash and some of the chemistries thought to be used also reduce the chance of fire. The cells however have issues (cost, lasting more than a race or two) that would make them not viable for a street car.
I don’t know how often they change the battery packs in FE; I don’t see why they couldn’t get the whole season out of them.
As for protection of the battery packs, IIRC, Tesla uses a titanium tub. I don’t know what FE uses in their cars, though I’d assume it’s carbon fiber since the rest of the car is carbon fiber too.
It’s not the strength, but the conductivity that’s the issue. Every TM battery pack I’ve seen so much as photo of has a metal case. If the cells short they cause a fire.
One of the links I read on FE discussed various chemistries. Some of them would not be good for more than a race or two. Remember in racing every tiny bit counts so if it doesn’t perform as new its no good.
I don’t know. FE doesn’t say on their site, and the other articles I came across were for the Gen I car. The Gen I car had a smaller, and different battery pack. McLaren makes the battery pack for Gen II.
As for optimizing power management, the teams mainly make software changes. I know that teams are getting as close to 0% as they can. The car can’t have 0% charge left when it crosses the line.