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News about Tesla that caught fire while charging in PA

GeekyDoc

Member
Jan 18, 2021
79
33
PA
Just saw this on my feed and got concerned:


I usually leave my MY plugged in overnight in the garage and will be traveling this coming weekend. Never before really worries but reading this got a bit concerned. Any ideas what could cause something like this while the MY is charging? Anything that I can do to double check if all looks fine? TIA!
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,699
8,850
Visalia, CA
...concerned...

Both gasoline and electric cars can burst into flame while parking but it's rare.

One of the reasons for a detached garage is fire risk (even before EV time).

As long as your electrical system is compliant with the building codes, I am not sure what else we can do.

I guess if you are that concerned:

1) You can retrofit your garage if you don't have a sprinkler system:



2) Park outside
 
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Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,699
8,850
Visalia, CA
Gasoline cars sometimes experience spontaneous combustion? Never heard of it, and especially not while charging. 🤨
Correct! Before EV times, gasoline cars couldn't plugin but they have still spontaneously combusted without plugging in:

 

voxel

Bought demo MYLR on 10/18. Traded for Mach-E 11/19
Aug 24, 2021
392
312
Altamonte Springs
Gasoline cars sometimes experience spontaneous combustion? Never heard of it, and especially not while charging. 🤨

They don't even need to be charging... lol

Hyundai and Kia have engines that spontaneously combust:


There's two settlements that covers the engines/fires.

 
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Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,699
8,850
Visalia, CA
...concerned...
Tesla also has spontaneous fires while parking without plugging in too. There was a famous video clip from China garage and lots of people couldn't believe it. That prompted Tesla to mess around with Model S battery via software and resulted in a class-action suit.

But it's still very rare with Tesla.

It's more popular with GM Bolt because of its battery design. It chooses pouch cells. They are fine when new but as they get older, the metal caps start to poke on the plastic pouch and cause shorts, heat, and fire.

Tesla does not have that problem because both the caps and the body are metals in a cylindrical design.
 
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GeekyDoc

Member
Jan 18, 2021
79
33
PA
Appreciate you all chiming in.

I have always had ICE cars prior to the MY and while I’m sure ICE cars catch fire, I personally haven’t seen it happen or heard about it happening that commonly apart from isolated incidents. Not that I’m saying it’s common with Teslas and before anyone rips me a new one because I’m trying to be sensationalist, I’m honestly looking for data and technical info on why something like this is possible while charging and if there are any steps that we as users can take to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone.

I will be installing a nest protect in the garage and a camera for peace of mind but is there anything else I should be looking for? I have a 240V and use the mobile charger that’s always plugged in with the NEMA 14-50 plug in case that helps.
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,380
2,806
Redmond, WA
Years ago, when I owned a Ford, I got a recall letter from them that said it would take 6-12 months to get parts to dealers, so please park the vehicle outside (away from cars and buildings) until then, because it could catch fire at any time. It didn't have to be hot, or driven, or anything. There was no way to tell when it would happen, or steps that could be taken to mitigate the risk.
 

voxel

Bought demo MYLR on 10/18. Traded for Mach-E 11/19
Aug 24, 2021
392
312
Altamonte Springs
Appreciate you all chiming in.

I have always had ICE cars prior to the MY and while I’m sure ICE cars catch fire, I personally haven’t seen it happen or heard about it happening that commonly apart from isolated incidents.

See my post above. Hyundai and Kia have paid a $750 million settlement for non crash fires. 300+ cases

 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,699
8,850
Visalia, CA
...data and technical info on why something like this is possible while charging and if there are any steps that we as users can take to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone...

It's hard to find out why because as the China fire case mentioned above, Tesla would rather pay $1.5 million to settle it rather than publish the scientific investigation of why the fire happened.

In general, a battery holds a lot of energy that is eager to set free (or on fire) so despite the best in technology, the potential for fire is not zero.
 

avs007

Member
May 14, 2021
513
372
PacNW
You probably never looked for it, either, because it absolutely happens. It just doesnt have the word "Tesla" attached to it, so it doesnt become national news.
Yeah, there are lots of ways gas cars can spontaneously combust... Sometimes gasoline doesn't even need to be involved. I had a GM car, where there was a class action... There was a design defect in the valve cover gasket design on my particular engine, where hard acceleration or hard braking could result in oil dripping onto the thermal shield on the exhaust manifold.. After a while, oil will saturate the fiberglass fibers (or whatever fibers the inner portion of the shield was made of), and it would burst into flames. Fires usually resulted after you parked the car. GM was so slow in responding to this, I ended up fixing it myself with an aftermarket kit.

I think it was Ford, I can't remember, they had a defect in the ignition switch, that could cause a short while you were parked, resulting in a fire as well.

As far as the fuel related ones... There was also a recall on one of my cars, that involved a defect on one of the O-rings on the fuel injector rail, which could result in gasoline dripping onto the engine block when the ignition is switched off...
 
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pepperoni

Member
Oct 16, 2021
128
191
California
Correct! Before EV times, gasoline cars couldn't plugin but they have still spontaneously combusted without plugging in:

Well how about that, spontaneous combustion in ICE cars IS a thing! Makes sense in retrospect. Those 12V batteries can generate hundreds of amps when shorted, certainly enough to start a fire.

On a tangential note, I recently reread Dicken’s Bleak House, a great read if you’re looking for some Victorian fiction over the holidays. In it, one of the characters spontaneously combusted in a fairly graphic scene (for the day). Apparently this scene caused quite a stir in the 1850s, as the public started to think spontaneous combustion in people was a thing. Of course it is nonsense, but it does make a sensational story.
 

roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,812
3,292
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
Long, long ago in a city far, far away I was parked behind a Jaguar. The driver had walked off to a class, and I was just returning from one when his car began to smoke. I jumped in and backed away, then stopped a truck, got his fire extinguisher, and tried to put out the fire. Couldn't do it, and the car burned to the ground, with the rubber tires being the major contributor to the conflagration. So, it does happen, and fairly often. It doesn't make the news because it's fairly common, but an EV is a news item every time. I've never seen an EV burn. I've also seen a BMW burn up.
 

Tha_Ape

Member
Jun 15, 2021
262
187
Washington, DC
Not sure if it is true.
You can google it, too, but heres what a 30sec search turned up: Federal regulators warn of risks to firefighters from electrical vehicle fires

"They quickly consulted Tesla’s first responder guide and realized that it would take far more personnel and water than they could have imagined. Eight firefighters ultimately spent seven hours putting out the fire. They also used up 28,000 gallons of water — an amount the department normally uses in a month. That same volume of water serves an average American home for nearly two years.

By comparison, a typical fire involving an internal combustion car can often be quickly put out with approximately 300 gallons of water, well within the capacity of a single fire engine."
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,699
8,850
Visalia, CA
...They also used up 28,000 gallons of water...

We need to send someone to Europe to learn how to fight EV fires.

They haul their portable pools around to immerse a Tesla in:

763




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