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This should shed Tesla's unfounded reputation for catching fire.

Discussion in 'Tesla, Inc.' started by HebrHmr, Mar 4, 2017.

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  1. HebrHmr

    HebrHmr Member

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  2. JHWJR

    JHWJR Member

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    I thought the same thing. I read of the thousands of ICE vehicle fires each year and wonder (not really) why we don't have an outbreak of articles every time that happens. But, let one Tesla hit a brick wall at 100 miles an hour and catch fire 20 minutes later, and it is a major news story that won't die for weeks.
     
  3. McRat

    McRat Well-Known Member

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    Hurrah! 30 electrical fires with 12v system components out of 300,000 cars!!! A great day!

    At least EVs do not ever use 12v components, thank goodness. Even if they did, an EV with 12v components would be absolutely reliable due to the intense focus on 12v component reliability, starting with the battery and door locks.
     
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  4. McRat

    McRat Well-Known Member

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    #4 McRat, Mar 4, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
    Tesla has very little to do with Lithium Fires. You can blame it entirely on General Motors.

    The EV battery fire craze started with a 2011 Chevrolet Volt when the NHTSA did the side pole ramming test in spring 2011, and the car got 5 stars for the crash. Then without doing the marked Emergency Responder Crash protocol (unplug the orange DISCONNECT plug or 3 other ways), and parked outside in the rain for weeks, it finally caught fire nearly a month later due to one of 3 causes: Bus cable shorting from coolant, damaged cell thermal runaway, or arson (unlikely). Ineptitude by the NHTSA techs was not considered a factor.

    So the General Motors got the most stringent tests ever done by the NHTSA on a 'no-reported incident' vehicle. In an unprecedented move, they evaluated fire potential with zero fires reported in the wild. (Later two arsons would claim a wild pair). They tried to get 6 batteries to catch fire by destroying just the battery, and did get 2 to ignite by flipping them upside down after puncturing them.

    There seemed to be no more cause for concern than any battery you try to immolate. In fact, there might not another EV battery in existence that is harder to ignite than a 2011 Volt battery. Done, right? No, this is the Evil Car Company, they MUST be fvck-ups, and we will PROVE it.

    SO,,, The NHTSA was sort of pissed. Could not get the Volt to reliably catch fire even if they tried hard with just a battery. So in November that year, they tried again. No dice.

    I do praise the NHTSA for calling it quits when they wasted millions and did not get the results they wanted. If it was perhaps CARB or NBC they would have just poured magnesium powder on top and put a squib in it. EDIT - NBC used Estes rocket motors, drilled .125" holes in the tank, used a radio controlled ignitor, and 3? trucks to pull it off. They later hid the trucks and removed the VINs, but they were found.

    (Footnote: GM improved the armor twice since the original 'no-incident' month delayed fire)



    Historical footnote, staff on Dateline were paid by lawyers of plaintiffs before the episode. Later a university and the NHTSA both validated GM's claim that the fire rate on the GM trucks was no higher than Ford or Dodge, at all. A complete and utter fabrication from the start.
     
  5. Hota

    Hota Member

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    Can't tell if you're being facetious or not but...

    Teslas use as many 12v components as an ICE except for the starter motor. Everything in the car runs on 12v except for the drive motors.
     
  6. TexasEV

    TexasEV Well-Known Member

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    I think the point of the original post was almost no one, not even even Mercedes owners, has heard about this. If it was Tesla it would be prominently featured on every major news site and newspaper.
     
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  7. Killroy

    Killroy Member

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    I would like to revisit this topic now that there has been a few Tesla fires recently.

    Yes, the media has overblown the fires in click bait fashion and the media never mentioned how common a gasoline fire are

    Can anyone put together the comparison of the rate of fires for Tesla's, EVs and Gasoline?
     
  8. dkemme

    dkemme Supporting Member

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  9. Killroy

    Killroy Member

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    Thanks for posting something with some data.

    "Tesla claims that gasoline powered cars are about 11 times more likely to catch fire than a Tesla.... ... That works out to five fires for every billion miles traveled, compared to a rate of 55 fires per billion miles traveled in gasoline cars."

    Correct me if I am wrong, but crash damage seems to be the root cause off all the Tesla fires. So we have standard crash test series by
    NHTSA, IIHA, ect. and Tesla has preformed very good to satisfactory. Of course, the real world can be more cruel, but the two speeding Florida teenagers that burned after hitting a wall should be prevented even if it's 1 in a 7 Billion miles.

    It was mentioned in internet comments that Tesla uses battery cell with more fire risk than GM and other car makers, its this true? I don't have a harsh opinion of the engineering, but perhaps the engineers are looking at these corner cases and sharpening there pencils.
     
  10. hacer

    hacer Member

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    I disagree that it "should be prevented even if it's 1 in a 7 Billion miles." Like everything in the design of the car, there are trade-offs. Yes Tesla uses a battery chemistry that enters thermal runaway at lower temperatures and has more heat of combustion in the electrolyte, but they also are separately packaged in small cylindrical packages. This also has higher energy density, higher efficiency and lower cost, so it is a very reasonable trade when their case armoring and pack design greatly reduces the fire risk. It is not zero, never will be and there is no reason to trade any battery performance for reduced fire risk at this point because the risk is extremely low.
     
  11. Barklikeadog

    Barklikeadog Active Member

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    Mercedes should have declared their fuses as being 'beta' and state that the owner of the vehicle is responsible for checking fuses for malfunctions.

    Of course there are less fires... Cause the avg car on the road is old and the avg driver which includes a lot more teens, drunks, and elderly get in many more accidents where fires are likely to start.
     
  12. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    True. NCA chemistry has higher energy density than other lithium ion chemistries but is also inherently less stable.
     
  13. Saghost

    Saghost Well-Known Member

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    That's a hard question to answer fully, because it depends a lot on the assumptions made. Tesla is using a more energy dense chemistry that catches fire at a lower temperature. That's how they get almost twice the energy per pound of pack than a lot of competitors have.

    However, Tesla also designed a failure resistant battery system. If a single cell in the Volt battery mentioned before does short circuit, it's done as a propulsion system and if it catches fire I believe it's pretty much guaranteed to cascade the fire to the rest of the pack. Tesla connects each cell to the pack by a fusible link and put in enough separation and cooling capacity to absorb a complete short of a single cell without it turning in to a fire and cascade failure. The Tesla pack continues working with a 1.4% reduction in usable capacity/power and no other visible effects.

    Which is why as you said all cases of Tesla pack fires I'm aware of are from accidents except the CPO car in Europe that burned at the supercharger - which started as a high voltage junction box fire, burned in the interior, then caught the pack afterwards as I understand it. You need impact damage triggering a whole bunch of cells at the same time to start a cascade - and I believe similar damage to a gas car is much more likely to induce a fire.
     

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