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Model S & X dual motor noncrash fire claims


Nov 1, 2018
I have found some noteworthy trends in the comprehensive noncrash fire claims from Highway Loss Data Institute. They request this data from insurance companies every year and send it to NHTSA. They are also evaluating how effective a recall was based on this data.

Here is the source of the data:

https://www.iihs.org/media/c93b98d8...Research/Fire losses/HLDI_FireLosses_1218.pdf
https://www.iihs.org/media/10643be3...Research/Fire losses/HLDI_FireLosses_0918.pdf
https://www.iihs.org/media/419758a8...Research/Fire losses/HLDI_Firelosses_0917.pdf
https://www.iihs.org/media/344b5446...Research/Fire losses/HLDI_Firelosses_0416.pdf
https://www.iihs.org/media/16278bee...Research/Fire losses/HLDI_FireLosses_0915.pdf
https://www.iihs.org/media/0217569d...Research/Fire losses/HLDI_FireLosses_0914.pdf

Highway Loss Data Institute notes:
- Noncrash fire losses represent fire damage to a vehicle not caused by a collision or vandalism
- The vehicles included in this report are up to 4 years old.
- Prior HLDI research has shown that noncrash fire risk increases with vehicle age, these are not represented in this data
- The total numbers for categories represent all vehicles in that class, however not all models are listed individually.
For an individual vehicle series to appear, the vehicle had to have at least 20,000 insured vehicle years or 100 claims.
- The results in Table 2 are presented in descending order of relative claim frequency within each size class.

My comments:
- Some people claimed that this data is useless as it may contain cases when the car got burned in the garage due to a home fire. I can clearly see trends with specific vehicle types which makes me believe the "car burnt with house" cases are underrepresented. Also HLDI trusts this data for their research.
- HLDI says they don't list individual vehicles that have less than 20,000 insured vehicle years or 100 claims. I found that they limit the list further. For example the BMW 5 series is not listed for 2015-17 model year however both the RWD and AWD had ~100k vehicle years in the 2014-16 report with good results (11,000 vehicle years per claim). Compare total years number in the category to the sum of the years for all models in the table below. This suggests that only the cars with more frequent claims are listed here. Therefore complete brand scores (for example all BMWs) can't be made as they will miss the cars with lower fire damage or with lower vehicle years.

Now here is the data focusing on the electric vehicles:


What stands out to me is how the Tesla Model S&X dual motor has a much higher noncrash fire claim rate than the single motor versions. This difference is consistent for multiple years. Also this dual motor numbers are worse than average of all cars and specifically the average of the luxury cars.
Nissan Leaf has very low claim rate except for one model year (2015-17). They are not listed in the 2016-18 report which tells me that the latest numbers are better than 10,000 vehicle years per claim.
BMW i3 has a BEV and a "plugin-hybrid' BEV with range extender version. This latter had many fires with its ICE part and got a recall for it: "BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain 2014-2017 i3 REx hybrid electric vehicles. The fuel tank vent line may rub against the ribbed wire protection sleeve of the battery positive (B+) cable, creating a hole in the vent line and causing a fuel vapor leak."

BEVs overall have good results on the list and I think they all will have lower fire rate than ICE in the coming years. There are some models however that have specific issues. But look at RWD Model S, Nissan Leaf numbers. The BEV version of the i3 has good results as well. I don't hear any noncrash fire damage about the Model 3 either.

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