Another Tesla All Fired Up

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Tesla is on fire – literally.

The rent-seeking EV company ought to be required to indemnify against fires – which erupt spontaneously, when the car is parked.

The most recent incident occurred in Belgium, where a Tesla was charging up before it got all fired up. The car had to be immersed in a water-filled dumpster to douse the flames – which burn hotter and much more persistently than gasoline-fueled fires.

Tesla says it will send “over the air updates” to solve the problem, which they attribute to “thermal management” – i.e., recharging – issues.

But the problem goes deeper than that. It inheres in the nature of EV lithium-ion batteries, which can short circuit for a variety of reasons – including  physical damage to the case as well as contact with moisture – which represents a new and unique saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety risk that apparently isn’t of much “concern” to those who constantly tell us they are controlling us to protect us.

Gasoline doesn’t just ignite all by itself. It has to be vaporized – and there needs to be a spark or other ignition source. In other words, it takes at least two things for a gas fire to start.

With an EV, it can take just one thing – such as damage to the battery case in the course of a wreck or as the result of a manufacturing defect or just plain ol’ wear and tear (no one wants to discuss aging EVs, either; we’re just supposed to buy – rent – a new one every five years or so).

Or nothing at all.

EV batteries can erupt in flames just sitting there – as just happened in Belgium and other places, too. Too much charge, too soon – and it’s hot dog time.

This is why “fast” chargers are slow; any faster and the risk of fire goes up. Which is why EV recharging will never be actually fast – as refueling an IC car already is (let’s exchange simple and quick for complicated and preposterously time-consuming).

It is also why you can only partially recharge at a “fast” charger. Eighty percent. Any more and the risk of fire – or damage to the battery or reduced battery life – becomes more likely.

Great idea, that.

A vehicle already range-gimped relative to greatest “gas hog” imaginable gimped further – by 20 percent – if you want to “fast” charge it for 30-45 minutes rather than wait six-eight hours.

This is what passes for “progress” in our Hallucinatory era, with drivers of EVs headed up the Big Rock Candy Mountain, burning lots of other people’s money and sometimes themselves, too.

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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28 COMMENTS

  1. I’m just waiting to hear news of the 1st electrocution fatality that occurs at an uncovered charging post in the pouring rain. Either that, or something equally lethal that is weather related.

  2. For a car that is billed as “green” and “zero emissions”, I’m seeing a whole lot of fire, smoke and ashes. My impression is that it would be more accurate to put it in the “Scorched Earth” category.

    Clover George (below) writes “Who cares if your Tesla burns up, as long as you yourself are not injured and Musk sends you a replacement.”
    What kind of selfish blanket-statement is that? I’ll guaran-damn-tee you the owners of the other cars that burned in this video care, a lot!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdl78nU-NN8
    Is this what the Tesla-fans are referring to when making their flippant remarks about “making an omelette”?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6MNNgPI_MI

  3. It’s quite interesting how Elon and his “Musk-eteers” manage to get away with selling these 4-wheeled crematories. I remember when those damned “hoverboards” were popular a few years ago how the cheap Li-ion battery packs would spontaneously combust. Because of this, every effort was made into banning them from numerous public spaces, as well as many public transit agencies and airlines banning them from being transported on their vehicles/aircraft. But when it comes to Tesla Motors: “What battery fire? As long as the car doesn’t have a tailpipe, we’re good”.

  4. OK This is going to be my final rant on Musk and the Tesla/EV debate. I am sick and tired of all the crap being used as excuses for the Tesla, or any EV. When was the last time anyone needed an indepth study, debate, or subsidy to understand that a modern Malibu is a sub-standard piece of crap? How many studies did it take for people to understand the seriousness of a Pinto fire? How long did the mediocrity of the Pacer last before people figured out what a dud it was? Folks, the proof is in the pudding, and Tesla-Pudding is rancid!
    I have never in 50+ years seen such a pathetic excuse for modern transportation, INCLUDING the YUGO, regardless of the price tag, with so many endless LETHAL problems and so many endless “studies” and counter arguments that do NOT account for the overwhelming number of defects and shortcomings of this “automobile”. There seems to be NO practical, economic, or rational standard that Tesla doesn’t fail in, repeatedly, and the excuses for all of these problems seem lame compared to the seriousness of the problems.
    This whole EV debacle makes about as much sense as that group of “air eater” wackos that starve to death trying to defy all the laws of nature, biology, and physics. Henceforth, I am putting Tesla and E-Loon in my “Flat-Earthers” Bin, along with the rest of the idiotic “Area-51-Alien-Fake-Moon-Landing” Crap! I have better things to do than argue myself blue to exhaustion over a world-class govt-sponsored Flim-Flam Billionaire!

      • Their argument is still ignorant bullshit, but you are correct. Flat Earthers are not got. sponsored rent-seekers……yet. What I can’t stomach is the seriousness given to E-Loon and the EV Cult in general. It is tant amount to a worldwide Lemming Stampede!
        Jim Jones, and Jim Baker, for that matter, would have loved to have this broad range of mass-stupidity to control and manipulate!

    • Exactly. That’s because TM is a political exercise. Fans even said they have to break eggs to make an omelet.

      TM has ignored so many basics of car design and product development engineering along with so many bonehead designs it is astounding. Ford, GM, Toyota, Honda, and more would be crucified in the press had they done these things. Instead they get blasted for being behind TM on robot cars. Of course they are ‘behind’ because these automakers do proper engineering. They can’t release stuff like that to the public. The technology to make something that passes what it would need to pass at Ford or GM or the others doesn’t yet exist or is prohibitively expensive. That’s why TM’s cars will crash into jersey barriers.

      Reminds me of my days at megacorp. At megacorp’s home region we had to play by sound engineering practices developed over 80 years. They would build a design center over in Korea or China or some place far away that didn’t. Then the executives and marketing people would be like ‘we can’t you make product like them?’ Because it doesn’t pass corporate durability, performance, and other requirements, that’s why. Sometimes we would get a hold of enough product to test it the same way and it would fail miserably. Sure you can do all sorts of fancy things if you don’t care about standards and proper practices but then your product is ultimately garbage. Pretty neato garbage.

    • I have no first hand experience with a Tesla. At the local ‘premium’ mall I regularly see people taking advantage of the Tesla only parking and recharge stations, the owners seem happy with their expensive subsidized purchase. The market has spoken and actual buyers, who do require and get government subsidies, think Tesla is a valid product sold at a reasonable price. Who cares if your Tesla burns up, as long as you yourself are not injured and Musk sends you a replacement. I bet they restore your software preferences over the cloud to your new car, just like a new cellphone.

      Tesla is often compared to Apple, whose Insanely Great products also catch fire.

      Apple, FAA Investigating After iPhone Catches Fire Mid-Flight
      https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/apple-faa-investigating-after-iphone-catches-fire-mid-flight-n543516

      The genius behind the very well planned Tesla is they target only the most profitable automotive segments. Luxury cars, sports cars, pick up, and possibly trucks while promising a cheap everyman’s EV starting next year. If Tesla is successful I bet they bring down a few auto majors due to lost luxury/sports sales. The auto industry is quite crowded now and I would not be surprised to see ‘consolidation’. It is possible that the pick up and the trucks will find a niche where they actually perform certain tasks better than IC vehicles which would be the start of the US auto major apocalypse.

      • “Who cares if your Tesla burns up, as long as you yourself are not injured and Musk sends you a replacement.”

        Ah, so you’re part of the “break a few eggs to make an omelette” crowd. I bet if your car decided to have an “unplanned BBQ”, you’d be singing quite a different tune (IF you manage to escape, that is).

        “The market has spoken and actual buyers, who do require and get government subsidies, think Tesla is a valid product sold at a reasonable price.”

        Tell me, what kind of market requires subsidies for people to purchase an item? Certainly not a free market.

        “The auto industry is quite crowded now and I would not be surprised to see ‘consolidation’.”

        And while we’re at it, we should also “consolidate”, say, the housing market as there are WAY too many choices when it comes to purchasing a house. Everyone should live in broom closets that are <300 square-feet. I mean, who needs a separate bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc. when you can have everything in one room?

  5. We apparently don’t have to wait for Tesla Motors to go to Hell, E-Loon is bring Hell to us! This garbage is lethal, the consumer is the guinea pig, and E-Loon blows it all off like it’s just some “programming” issue.

  6. “The car had to be immersed in a water-filled dumpster to douse the flames…”

    Damm. Just Damm.

    I would imagine fire departments are planning for this: They’ll tow a 50,000 gallon tank of water to any EV fire for immersion purposes. They’d be derelict if they didn’t.

  7. Eric,

    You can charge to more than 80% at a supercharger, BUT it’ll take longer. The charging curve is exponential; the rate of charge decreases (i.e. levels off) as battery charge increases. To put it in plain English, it takes as much time to go from 80% to 100% as it does to GET to 80% charge. In any case, you can go beyond 80%; it’ll just take longer. Since Tesla now has thousands of superchargers in the country, 80% will be more than enough to get you to the next one.

    • Hi Mark,

      In re: “Since Tesla now has thousands of superchargers in the country, 80% will be more than enough to get you to the next one.”

      Where you’ll wait – again.

      Meanwhile, any IC economy car that costs half or less what the least costly Tesla costs can go 400-plus miles nonstop and be ready for another 400 in less than 5 minutes.

      As the Greaseman used to say: And they ask me why I drink….

      • I understand what you’re saying. That said, if I owned a Tesla, I could live with the stops because I stop every 2-3 hours anyway to stretch my legs, use the bathroom, and get something to drink and eat if I’m hungry. By the time I’ve done all that, I could have recharged a Tesla. Living with a Tesla wouldn’t be a problem for me, given my driving habits.

        That said, though I looked at a Tesla, I didn’t buy one. It simply didn’t make FINANCIAL SENSE to do so. My Focus is an economical ICEV; parts are widely available for it; and it’s easier and cheaper to repair because any shop in the US can work on it. It cost me 1/2 to 1/3 of what a Model 3 would cost me; that’s before installing the charger in my house. I was able to write a check for my Focus, whereas I couldn’t do that with any Tesla. My Focus gets mid-high 20s (MPG) in town; it gets low 30s combined; and on the highway with the cruise set, it’ll get 40 MPG! That’s more than good enough for me.

        Soooo, while I like EVs; though I am following them with great interest; though they’ve made impressive improvements in recent years; they’re not quite ready for prime time. Their performance and capabilities need to increase, while their prices need to decrease.

        • Amen, Mark…

          And this gets me back to one of the many reasons I loathe Elon Musk. He has perverted the EV; turned it into something that has to be quick and sexy and gadget-laden . . . in other words, a high-performance luxury-sport car that happens to be electric. It has become a car for narcissistic virtue-signalers – subsidized by people who can’t afford them.

          What would be cool would be a low-cost/high-efficiency EV; a car that maybe took 10 seconds to get to 60, but was light – and so had a realistic range of 200 miles using a relatively small battery … and so could be sold for around $18k, without subsidies.

          But Frog Face ruined that.

          • Chinese car companies are making reasonably priced EVs with 210-220 mile ranges; many of them sell for $25-$30K, below the $35k average new car price here. Right now, they’re only for the Chinese market.

            Elon Musk’s marketing ideas were soundly based. They started with the Roadster, low volume/high priced to get started making EVs. Then their plan was to introduce a ‘mid-priced’ vehicle to gain traction. That was to be followed with the mass market car. He cited how VCRs, cell phones, and other devices followed a similar path to market; they started out as high priced luxury items first, then became commonplace.

            As for producing a high performance EV, Musk did that to counter the stereotype of EVs, to wit that they’re glorified golf carts. The Citicar of the 1970s was exactly that; it was a glorified, enclosed golf cart. Tesla wanted to totally NUKE that stereotype, and show that EVs can be sexy, high performance machines. I think that there was some merit to that line of thought. Prior to Tesla, what did you think when you thought of EVs?

            Unfortunately, Tesla didn’t quite get it right, especially on price. To get a decent Model 3, you have to spend more than $35K for the standard version. Just picking a different color than black and adding on a couple of other options will push the price up to $40k. If you want more range, then you have to move up to a higher trim level. Even the ‘mass market’ Model 3 is priced too high; it’s not that much cheaper than the Model S.

            • Hi Mark,

              Yes – but we circle back to the core problem/issue: EVs are not necessary; they aren’t more affordable – and they’re much less practical than standard cars.

              In sum, there is no rational reason for them – and as such, they are toys, which by definition makes them low-volume indulgences for the affluent.

              Hence the need to mandate them – and subsidize them – to get them to “mass market.”

              Take away the mandates and subsidies – especially the “carbon credit” scam – and Tesla is out of business tomorrow.

        • Though I don’t do it these days I used to regularly drive 12 or so hours from my home state to my parents’, stopping only for fuel and toilet. Once, I rode 24 hours in a snow storm to get there. How many hours would be added to those trips?

          Hurricane evacuations see an unbelievable number of cars on the road, crawling along in generally hot weather, A/C blasting. During Hurricane Floyd it took family members of mine 14 hours to make it from Charleston SC to Charlotte NC! Imagine how much worse that would be with even a sizeable percentage of EV’s in the conga line. If only 10% had to stop to recharge on the way, which they would, any charging stations would quickly be gridlocked.

          No, Eric’s right. EV’s are something, all right, but they are not reasonable reliable vehicles.

      • I5 in Southern Oregon has a supercharger gap which is too significant in cold weather. Grants Pass to Mount Shasta and vice-versa are a stretch for a Tesla in sub-40 temperatures, and, until Roseburg comes on line this year, Grants Pass to Eugene is also, arguably, too far.

        Surprisingly, Medford does not have a supercharger. Maybe ask you could ask your radio show host friend why that is the case.

    • If I have a 20 gallon fuel tank, where the first 5 gallons and the top 5 gallons are unusable, I’ve got a 10 gallon tank.

      Yeah, I really like this new stuff.

      • Exactly! It’s just like computer HDD/SSD’s that advertise being 500GB; but in reality, only being able to use ~480GB of it. Perhaps we should start building 3 bedroom houses with 2 of them being walled off “just because”.

    • That doesn’t change the fact that you are driving “A vehicle [that is] range-gimped relative to the greatest “gas hog” imaginable…” and you have to wait 30-45 minutes to fill up er..re-charge.
      A few weeks ago, I drove into Las Vegas from LA in my F150. It took 1/2 a tank or $30 in gas.
      It was rush hour, heavy 5:00 traffic, I was in no rush, so I decided to pull over and get charged up with a cold one at the Las Vegas Town Square, which is at the south 15/215 intersection. There you will find half a dozen watering holes, a Frys!, many popular eateries, and the teesla parking charging lot. I had my dogs with me, so I decided on the Lazy Dog Cafe, where the dogs are allowed on the patio. As I pulled into the parking lot I saw the teesla parking charging lot. It was completely full during this weekday 5:00 commuter jam. Inside more than a dozen ‘luxury fire hazards’ were business men and women taking a 30-45 break from there long commute home, to sit in the 100 degree weather and quick charge their fantasy mobiles. Not a smile on a single face. I had to hold back a grin while witnessing this irony in my 68 degree interior, leather clad, beautiful stock F150 that I had purchased used for under $30K 3 years ago. Those drivers looked pretty silly in their overpriced teesla’s.

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