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Third Tesla Fire Means Feds To Begin Review

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the some-like-it-hot dept.

Transportation 375

cartechboy writes "In early October, a Tesla caught on fire in Washington state — and that created a little bit of a stir. Then just before Halloween a second Tesla caught fire. Yesterday, a third Model S caught fire in Tennessee. With the third fire in the books, all happening in similar fashion, today federal investigators are saying they are going to take a look at the situation more closely. As electric car maker's stock shares continue to tumble, some are saying the fires aren't a big deal."

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Because government knows how to do anything? (0)

mike555 (2843511) | about a year ago | (#45362737)

So now feds are the experts on high-tech cars?

Re:Because government knows how to do anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45362923)

They were good enough to put a man on the Moon (the single most important achievement ever according to most slashers), but they can't review an electrical problem?

Re:Because government knows how to do anything? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363161)

They were good enough to put a man on the Moon (the single most important achievement ever according to most slashers), but they can't review an electrical problem?

This is the very same government project where the crew compartment had a flammable 100% oxygen environment and the hatch had to be pulled inward against internal pressure, a pressure that increases during a fire. Where three astronauts were trapped and killed during testing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_1 [wikipedia.org]

Also in more modern times where the government agency involved was more concerned with politics than flight crew safety. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Challenger_disaster [wikipedia.org]

Re:Because government knows how to do anything? (5, Interesting)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about a year ago | (#45363271)

The bad wiring, the large amount of flammable materials, and 100% O2 environment was obviously an exercise in bad judgement. But the inward hatch design itself, though dangerous in hindsight, was to originally used improve safety for modules landing in the ocean. IIRC an outward opening door design almost got one of the gemini pilots killed.
But that's besides the point. The government didn't build the Apollo 1 command module, that was contracted out.

Re:Because government knows how to do anything? (1, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#45363201)

They were good enough to burn the crew of Apollo 1 to death, too. I'm sorry but what is with all this fed worship coming from the US lately? You guys want big, central government? Be careful what you wish for...

Re:Because government knows how to do anything? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#45362993)

So now feds are the experts on high-tech cars?

Someone is sure an expert on electric car fires, gas car competitors?

Established car companies offering all electrics.. (4, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#45363505)

So now feds are the experts on high-tech cars?

Someone is sure an expert on electric car fires, gas car competitors?

Those competitors are also offering all electric vehicles:
General Motors: Spark
Ford: Focus
Fiat (Chrysler): 500e
Toyota: RAV 4
Honda: Fit
Nissan: Leaf

LOL Tesla (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45362745)

But I thought fuel cells were what was unsafe not Tesla cars? Isn't that what Musk wanted us all to believe?

Re:LOL Tesla (5, Insightful)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about a year ago | (#45362807)

Whats the rate of regular cars catching on fire vs. Teslas?

Anyone have any statistics handy?

Re:LOL Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45362903)

Nice deflection attempt but I wasn't talking about regular cars. I was talking about Musk's bullshit over fuel cell cars [mashable.com] and his FUD mongering over the tanks carrying hydrogen.

Re:LOL Tesla (3, Insightful)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about a year ago | (#45363423)

How many people have been injured in a Tesla? Would a fellow that runs a successful rocket company not know a little something about hydrogen? You have done nothing to invalidate Elon's claims.

Re:LOL Tesla (2)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about a year ago | (#45363573)

Would a fellow that runs a successful rocket company not know a little something about hydrogen?

What does running a company have to do with technical knowledge? I'm sure a CEO of a "rocket" company would have to have some knowledge about hydrogen, but I would not quote them as an expert on the subject.

Re:LOL Tesla (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | about a year ago | (#45362953)

That's apples an oranges.

Sure gas cars catch on fires after crashes, but how many of those catch on fire after running over road debris without crashing?

Re:LOL Tesla (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363095)

A lot of them actually.

Old cars have a snowball effect. Joe Average does not look under the chassis of their 10, 20, 30, 40 year old car/pickup truck when they want to go somewhere. They just put the key in the ignition and if it doesn't make any unusual sounds, they simply go about their business.

Re:LOL Tesla (5, Funny)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#45363185)

I remember back around 1991 or so a friend of mine was looking out at the parking lot from our building at a burning car. It was over a half mile away and he said "some poor son of a bitch is going to have a bad day." About 30 minutes later the security police turned up looking for him, he was the poor son of a bitch. The electrical system on his Ford Bronco had caught fire and it burned to scrap in a few minutes. It turns out it wasn't an uncommon thing either, a lot of them did that. We had fun telling him his Bronco was really a Blazer.

Re:LOL Tesla (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#45363209)

I have personally seen 5 cars on fire that were not in crashes. Seems common enough to me.

Re:LOL Tesla (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#45363219)

Hell I had a Chevy catch fire going up a hill in reverse. No debris required.

Re:LOL Tesla (3, Insightful)

Kilo Kilo (2837521) | about a year ago | (#45363343)

I've seen relatively new cars catch fire while parked. It happens more often than most people think. A quick google image search for "car fire" will show a bunch of cars either parked or sitting on the side of the road without any visible damage (aside from the fire of course). My fire dept has gotten called out a few times for a "car fire extending to the house" because a parked car burst into flames for whatever reason.

However, my experience doesn't mean that there isn't something wrong with the Tesla, just that I wouldn't be surprised if an investigation didn't find anything.

Also, Tesla does have an emergency response guide [teslamotors.com] and Fire Dept's need to start reading up on these cars. It even has a nice little note at the bottom of the pages reminding us to wear our goddamned SCBA at a car fire.

Re:LOL Tesla (4, Informative)

Howitzer86 (964585) | about a year ago | (#45363441)

Car manuals will warn you not to park over dry leaves or grass because the catalytic converter can become very hot. You don't have to hit anything at all to burn up a gas powered car.

Re:LOL Tesla (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#45362977)

Listen to fire department radio traffic in any medium to large city and you will undoubtedly hear calls for car fire on a regular basis. Most of those are the result of poorly maintained, older vehicles - fifteen year old cars that have never had any fuel lines inspected, much less replaced. A few accidents spark fires, but that isn't common. Newer vehicles, not so much.

Too early to tell if there is some inherent problem with the Tesla, but it certainly warrants an independent review.

Re:LOL Tesla (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#45363085)

The third accident link is nothing more than some incomprehensible Twitter gibberish rather than a real article, but for the first two fires, each one involved a serious, high speed collision, which in most gas cars probably would have resulted in injuries for the driver or worse. In both cases, the driver walked away even though the battery pack caught fire (which did not spread to the passenger compartment).

This is much ado about nothing.

Re: LOL Tesla (4, Interesting)

MickLinux (579158) | about a year ago | (#45363431)

I had a minivan that burned a year after I sold it. My brother bought it, and his roommate wanted it--my brother advised against, but eventually sold it. His roommate was taking a church group to a ski resort, and the vehicle leaked oil and caught fire. They put it out, but it reignited. The ski lodge called the fire department and used up several of their fire extinguisher-- after each one, it reignited. The fire truck used up its fire extincuishers-- and it reignited, then burned.

My brother ran into such a fire on the interstatee; a young woman was near the car. He didn't have a fire extinguisher, but he did have a soda cup and there was a muddy puddle near by. So he started scooping water on the fire--it reignited repeatedly, but each time, the mud baked on and sealed the oil leak more. In the end, the car was saved.

There's a lesson there.

Re:LOL Tesla (1)

stabiesoft (733417) | about a year ago | (#45362985)

According to a fairly old NHTSA study in the 90's, roughly 3% of gas cars catch fire in an accident, with a lower incidence in non injury events. Now, next question, how many tesla's have been in an accident? http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/807675.pdf [dot.gov]

Re:LOL Tesla (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a year ago | (#45362995)

Looks like there are less than 20,000 tesla s out there. I don't know what the rate of fires is for gas cars, but if you take a town of 20,000 people, you are not likely to see 3 gas car fires in 2 years. They happen but are pretty rare.

Re:LOL Tesla (4, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#45363103)

A town of 20,000 people isn't likely to have 3 high speed crashes in 2 years either. This isn't a good way to look at statistics.

Re:LOL Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363215)

"This isn't a good way to look at statistics.."

- I dunno, Mr D above is a born politician, y'ask me.

Re:LOL Tesla (5, Funny)

master5o1 (1068594) | about a year ago | (#45363047)

100% of internal combustion engines catch fire, somewhere within the car.

Re:LOL Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363053)

Doesn't matter. Didn't get the memo? Tesla is evil, the automotive industry has decided.

Re:LOL Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363091)

Another question, are the mainstream manufactures setting up these "fires" two thing one needs to take into account, 1, The mainstream car makers fear anything that challenge there monopoly, 2, UNIONS!!! Of course they want to keep there monopolies... Its nothing new for these companies to try and sabotage anything that is a threat....

Re:LOL Tesla (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#45363207)

Call me when someone is actually injured by these fires.

Re:LOL Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363265)

Call me when a fuel cell car even catches fire.

Re:LOL Tesla (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363447)

A dude from the 90s called, mumbled something about a hydrogen fuel cell BMW tech demonstrator.

If these fires happened with traditional cars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45362761)

Probably no one would be talking about them.

Re:If these fires happened with traditional cars.. (-1, Flamebait)

Tailhook (98486) | about a year ago | (#45362881)

Recalls due to manufacturing defects that cause car fires have happened many times. Here [usatoday.com] is one for the Honda Fit from June of this year.

There have been three Telsa Model S fires [reuters.com] during the past five weeks. If the feds failed to look into this, no matter how much you don't happen to like it, they would be derelict.

The grownups are stepping in now. Deal with it.

Re:If these fires happened with traditional cars.. (4, Funny)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year ago | (#45363019)

Recalls due to manufacturing defects that cause car fires have happened many times.

Narrator: A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.
Business woman on plane: Are there a lot of these kinds of accidents?
Narrator: You wouldn't believe.
Business woman on plane: Which car company do you work for?
Narrator: A major one.

Re:If these fires happened with traditional cars.. (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#45363205)

Good thing they don't do aircraft that way. You can't get out of the damn thing if it catches on fire, at least not and live to tell about it.

Re:If these fires happened with traditional cars.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363243)

Fed = grownup. ROFLMAO

Anybody know the denominator? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45362763)

How many Tesla S's have been delivered?

Anybody?

Best # I can find is 5500 last quarter, from Forbes.

Re:Anybody know the denominator? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#45362869)

How many Tesla S's have been delivered?

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] : As of November 2013, Tesla is producing 550 cars per week and expects to deliver just under 6,000 Model S during the fourth quarter, increasing expected total 2013 deliveries to about 21,500 units worldwide.

Gasoline is FAR safer (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45362781)

In the UK there are only 15,000 car fires per year (discounting arson). Obviously gasoline is safer.

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120919132719/http://www.communities.gov.uk/pub/894/FireStatisticsUnitedKingdom2003PDF1724Kb_id1124894.pdf

Re:Gasoline is FAR safer (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45362861)

I'm repeating myself: What's the denominator?

How many cars in England?

Re:Gasoline is FAR safer (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#45362919)

Around 28.7 million according to this [www.gov.uk] .

Re:Gasoline is FAR safer (5, Informative)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year ago | (#45363055)

15000 fires / 28700000 gas cars =0.000523
3 fires / 21000 Teslas = 0.000143

Re:Gasoline is FAR safer (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45363099)

Average age of the Teslas is less then 1/2 year so double it's stat.

Wish we could find burn #s for new gasoline cars.

Re:Gasoline is FAR safer (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#45362897)

In the UK there are only 15,000 car fires per year (discounting arson).

The important metric is not "car fires per year" but "car-fires-causing-serious-injury-or-death per mile(or km)-driven".

Re:Gasoline is FAR safer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363605)

In the UK there are only 15,000 car fires per year (discounting arson).

The important metric is not "car fires per year" but "car-fires-causing-serious-injury-or-death per mile(or km)-driven".

Car fires of all types is an important metric to me as a potential car buyer.

Re:Gasoline is FAR safer (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45362933)

In the UK

Nobody cares about that stupid CCTV ridden country.

Re:Gasoline is FAR safer (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#45363231)

My wife does. She's watching Downton Abbey right now and if anything happens to stop new episodes coming she's going to pitch a bitch.

Re:Gasoline is FAR safer (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45362955)

None of the burned Teslas did burn out. The interior was not even damaged. In comparison to that the gasoline cars do burn out and their interior is damaged more often than not.

Re:Gasoline is FAR safer (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#45363247)

Ever see a car burn? It's awesome. They burn to scrap so frigging fast it's amazing. If you aren't quick getting out you'll fry too.

Gasoline is more dangerous still (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45362785)

Look here and compare yourself. Gasoline is more dangerous: http://images.yandex.ru/yandsearch?text=car+fire+gasoline+accident

Re:Gasoline is more dangerous still (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#45362973)

If you think Gasoline is dangerous.... you should see how dangerous desktop screen savers [google.com] can be.

Probably not a big deal? (5, Insightful)

reiserifick (2616539) | about a year ago | (#45362787)

Model S fires are extremely photogenic, but as far as I can tell, all three of these fires involved debris (or firefighters) puncturing the battery shield and hitting the battery, rather than something spontaneous. I'm not an expert by any means, but I'd hazard a guess that the results would have been similar with a gasoline powered car.

Re:Probably not a big deal? (5, Insightful)

brainboyz (114458) | about a year ago | (#45362873)

That's my thinking as well. They've got a 1/4" plate of steel shielding the battery, but there's a lot of force involved in hitting stationary objects at speed. That's like blaming standard car design when debris severs a fuel line and ends up pouring fuel all over the exhaust manifold, or cracking the oil pan to similar effect.

Hitting things in your car is dangerous, news at 11.

Re:Probably not a big deal? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a year ago | (#45363035)

apparently they need a stronger plate. preferably with harder steel rather than thicker / heavier. maybe they could use ERA that blows up and destroys an object before it can penetrate

Re:Probably not a big deal? (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45363145)

Hard steel is brittle. Mild, tough steel is right for this application.

I'd go double walled 1/8th over 1/4. Design the inner box to pop-up a few inches and disconnect in a bad accident.

Re:Probably not a big deal? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#45363249)

Hard steel is brittle. Mild, tough steel is right for this application.

Tough steal; with layers of tungsten carbide, and titanium reinforcement.

Re:Probably not a big deal? (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45363485)

Tough steal

Couldn't you just buy it legally?

Re:Probably not a big deal? (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45363657)

What?

Tungsten carbide is a very hard material useful for cutting tools, tips of armor piercing projectiles etc. It's 'as brittle as glass' but wins most hardness wars.

Titanium is a queen bitch to work, anything made of titanium will cost more then it should.

Plain old steel will do the job for most car bodies until carbon fiber costs drop another order of magnitude or three.

Normally skid plates only in off-road vehicles ? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#45363311)

They've got a 1/4" plate of steel shielding the battery ...

I'm not 100% sure but isn't such a skid plate protecting a gas tank normally only found in off-road vehicles? Seems like the Tesla offers more protection than a normal gasoline car.

Re:Normally skid plates only in off-road vehicles (4, Informative)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about a year ago | (#45363625)

I believe it's actually aluminum, but they've also designed the battery compartment to point any fire forward away from the passenger compartment. If a gas tank ruptures you're in a very dangerous situation and have very good odds of not living let along walking away unharmed. In the case of a Tesla, 3 for 3 have been able to walk out unscathed. The Mexico fire was from a Model S that had blasted through a concrete barricade while exceeding 100MPH and coming to rest smashed against some trees. I challenge you to find any car of any year, any make, gas, electric, etc. perform as well. No one thinks twice about these very common incidents in gas autos.

Re:Probably not a big deal? (2)

gutnor (872759) | about a year ago | (#45362925)

Tesla has a lot more surface with batteries so the risk is likely higher. With only few reports it is difficult to say, but apparently the batteries of the Tesla seem to take fire more easily than a regular tank. On the other hand, gazoline cars, when on fire, behave worse than the Tesla.

In any case, worth investigating. Tesla is a unique design, it is bound to have various design issues and that's really no big deal at this stage. After all, that's a high end car, and all high end cars have their own quirks. The stock taking a tumble is quite welcome too. Right now Tesla is valued as if it was ready to take over the world in the next 6 months.

Re:Probably not a big deal? (0)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45363463)

I'd hazard a guess that the results would have been similar with a gasoline powered car

That's ridiculous - they probably would have been much worse with a gasoline powered car :) Gasoline does have the charming habit of flowing out of a damaged tank, and setting everything around it on fire (often including the occupants).

Comment (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45362841)

Tesla has made a statement (8:49pm):

“We have been in contact with the driver, who was not injured and believes the car saved his life. Our team is on its way to Tennessee to learn more about what happened. We will provide more information when we’re able to do so.”

Source: http://insideevs.com/third-tesla-model-s-fire-in-past-5-weeks-breaks-out-after-accident/

Help is available for Elon. (5, Funny)

tazan (652775) | about a year ago | (#45362877)

Maybe he can get the Boeing engineers to help him figure it out.

This is truly not a big deal (2)

I_am_Syrinx (461302) | about a year ago | (#45362879)

Each of these accidents have defined causes, and the resulting fires are not unreasonable based on the cause. Puncturing a battery with tons of force might just cause a fire. These are not spontaneously combusting. No one was hurt, even the guy that crashed in Mexico. Investigate away, but there really is nothing to see here. The upside is that I can afford more stock now.

Re:This is truly not a big deal (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a year ago | (#45362927)

Car fires rarely result in injury, as passengers have time to get out in almost all cases, be it electric or gas. But given the relatively small number of Teslas on the roads, this is a lot of fires. You don't see gas car fires with anything near that frequency, so it is a big deal if they don't make changes to reduce the chances of fire further. People are going to hesitate to buy the car, and insurance will skyrocket.

Re:This is truly not a big deal (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45362931)

With the latest move the PE ratio should be down to 400 or so. You should borrow money to buy more of that bargain. It's got nowhere to go but up.

Re:This is truly not a big deal (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about a year ago | (#45363621)

PE ratio. What are these earnings it mentions?

Stats? (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#45362921)

Utterly meaningless, unless we see info like number of incidents per car of that make and model on the road; and what the root causes are. Until then, I'm holding judgement.

The lack of mention makes me think this is a media beatup.

Lithium batteries are dangerous (2, Interesting)

undefinedreference (2677063) | about a year ago | (#45362945)

Just ask anyone that races R/C. You must treat them with respect, charge them carefully, and never puncture them. Once you break any of these rules, they catch on fire. In spite of this, you only rarely see a lithium battery fire in R/C racing because most racers know how to maintain them properly and when to dispose of them (properly).

Then again, Tesla, in their drive for performance, built these cars with their batteries mere inches from the surface of the road. No gasoline car has their tank that low and even R/C cars have them higher in the chassis and more protected from the surface.

Re:Lithium batteries are dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363029)

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

Re:Lithium batteries are dangerous (1)

undefinedreference (2677063) | about a year ago | (#45363081)

Sure enough... Most of the disclaimers are accurate for lithium polymer battery safety, too.

Compare the Right Stats (0)

OverlordQ (264228) | about a year ago | (#45362989)

A lot of people rebuke this by saying "Gas cars catch on fire after crashes too!"

The difference here is that the Tesla's didn't crash, they ran over something. When's the last time you heard of a gas powered car catching fire because it ran over something without crashing.

Re:Compare the Right Stats (2)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about a year ago | (#45363097)

When's the last time you heard of a gas powered car catching fire because it ran over something without crashing.

Quite a handful of cars just lit up seemingly at random in regular traffic. I think last time I saw picture of one in the news was last month.

Re:Compare the Right Stats (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | about a year ago | (#45363113)

Yes and most of these vehicles are 10-15 years old that haven't kept up with preventative maintenance.

Re:Compare the Right Stats (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#45363319)

Electrical fires are common in gas cars too. Many times new ones. Check the recall lists.

Re:Compare the Right Stats (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363245)

Well there was this one time. Although it was over a landmine.

There will *always* be a fire risk (3, Insightful)

NewtonsLaw (409638) | about a year ago | (#45362991)

Whenever you store a lot of energy in a small space and have the potential for rapid release then there will always be a fire risk.

Gasoline, electricity, kinetic energy -- it all poses a fire risk in the event of an uncontrolled release of that energy.

If you want 100% safety then walk.

Uh-oh, I forgot about the risk of spontaneous human combustion!

We're stuffed!

Damn, they even confiscated my asbestos underwear!

What are we to do now?

Re:There will *always* be a fire risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363139)

Kinetic energy causing fires! Oh hell yeah!

Oh yes! I remember as a kid, we'd roll rocks down hills and watch them catch on fire! We set the woods on fire once, too. Oh boy, did we get into trouble! But the worst was yet to come.

What a hoot!

Then we did it to little Jimmy. We put him on his bicycle with training wheels, and the poor little bastard never made it the bottom - he just exploded 3/4s of the way down. I still live with the horror and nightmares. His mother has never forgiven us.

To this day, I am terrified of skiing. Too many skiers burst into flames when skiing down hill.

Re:There will *always* be a fire risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363479)

Uhm, the amount of kinetic energy you are talking about there isn't really a lot, and there are physical constraints on how fast potential energy can be converted to Kinetic energy on a hill.

But something like a 3 ton fly wheel spinning at 15k RPM... yeah that can cause all kinds of trouble when the bearings fail...

Combining information from other posts (2)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | about a year ago | (#45363003)

In the U.K., there are 15,000 car fires per year, and ~28.7 million cars on the road. Tesla has had 3 car fires out of 21,500 cars on the road. The fires:car ratio is about 4:1 overall:Model S. That said, most of the Model S's haven't been on the road a full year, but if we assume they've been in service an average of the three months, then the overall rate of combustion is essentially identical.

Re:Combining information from other posts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363511)

How many cars less than 1 year old caught on fire? That's the real question.

Re:Combining information from other posts (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | about a year ago | (#45363561)

For accident induced fires like the ones affecting the Model S, I doubt the age of the car would have anything to do with it. New metal crumples roughly the same way old metal does.

Is Tesla being set up? (1)

Meditato (1613545) | about a year ago | (#45363013)

I'm not typically prone to suggesting conspiracies, but we've already seen cartel-like behavior from establishment car manufacturers and dealers as they lobby states to ban direct-from-manufacturer car sales. Considering the bizarre timeline (3 in a couple months, all of a sudden?), the tolerances and safety features surrounding the batteries, and the publicity that all of the victims milked with copious amounts of photos and interviews, could this be an illicit attempt to get Tesla banned?

Re:Is Tesla being set up? (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year ago | (#45363121)

Considering that anti-electric car conspiracies in the past were actually real, you can't start talking about tinfoil hats without pausing to consider the possibility. There's a peculiarly large amount of large heavy metal debris falling in front of Teslas, if you ask me. The only similar thing I've ever seen on the highway was an aluminum ladder, which blew out half a dozen tires before it was pulled off the road. That's the ONLY time I've seen something as big as, say, the towbar that one of the Model S sedans hit. Three? In a matter of months?

Once is accident, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.

Re:Is Tesla being set up? (3, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#45363281)

Considering the bizarre timeline (3 in a couple months, all of a sudden?), the tolerances and safety features surrounding the batteries, and the publicity that all of the victims milked with copious amounts of photos and interviews, could this be an illicit attempt to get Tesla banned?

The fire rate is basically identical to that of gasoline car fires according to the previous post by ShadowRangerRIT (15k files/year in the UK out of 28.7M cars vs. Tesla's 21,500 cars with 3 fires, but many of those Teslas haven't been on the road a full year).

And at least two of the "victims" have publicly said they want new Teslas to replace their crashed ones.

Re:Is Tesla being set up? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#45363333)

Relax. Shit happens.

Re:Is Tesla being set up? (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year ago | (#45363365)

I'm going to go out on a limb and say yes, its even likely, and there is historical precedent, however that is far from the proof needed to point the blame in the right place. Its just as likely that the battery manufacturers are screwing over Tesla by offloading the last of their unsold exploding Sony laptop batteries....

You know the old saying... (1)

Doalwa (610578) | about a year ago | (#45363073)

Give a man a fire and he'll be warm for the night. But give a man a Tesla Model S and he may be warm for the rest of his life!

Re:You know the old saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363147)

Give a man a fire and he'll be warm for the night. But give a man a Tesla Model S and he may be warm for the rest of his life!

That's a new saying. By the established car companies.

Re:You know the old saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363167)

Sounds more like the Ford Pinto.

Fuel cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363379)

Tesla need to switch to fuel cells (even if Elon Musk doesn't seem to like them)

Re:Fuel cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45363499)

Of course, you'd need a decent/safe way to store hydrogen to make this practical. Sadly, only lithium polymer batteries have the energy density to weight ratio necessary to even start to compete with gasoline at this point.

I seem to remember tales of "Tucker" (3, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#45363397)

The other auto manufacturers did much to interfere and even sabotage the Tucker. While the Tucker had enough of its own problems, some were suspect and other problems came from the outside when it came to resources for materials and a bit of bad press.

I acknowledge that the fires could very well be from an actual problem in this car, but with as much other crap Tesla has gone through, I wouldn't entirely rule out various forms of sabotage. We've already seen what Texas Auto Dealers Association can do.

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