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By Russ Finley on Oct 16, 2013 with no responses

Perspectives on the Tesla Fire


All conventional cars have the potential to catch on fire. A few years ago I ran over some bricks in the road that did $2,300 worth of damage to my car’s undercarriage and spilled gasoline all over the road. This Tesla caught fire a few weeks ago a few miles from my office. Just thought I’d share some differing perspectives I found on the subject:

From Tesla:

“… a Model S collided with a large metallic object in the middle of the road, causing significant damage to the vehicle. The car’s alert system signaled a problem and instructed the driver to pull over safely, which he did.”

From the Kent Regional Fire Authority crash report:

 ”Driver stated that he hit an object in the HOV lanes of SB 167. The car started to run poorly and he pulled off the freeway.”

From Tesla:

“All indications are that the fire never entered the interior cabin of the car.”

From the guy videotaping the fire from 100 feet away:

“Wow, I can feel the heat in here!”

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk offering to help Boeing with its 787 battery problem earlier in the year:

“Large cells without enough space between them to isolate against the cell-to-cell thermal domino effect means it is simply a matter of time before there are more incidents of this nature …”

See picture below of spacing between Tesla batteries:


Tesla CEO, Elon Musk explaining the domino effect:

 ”…when thermal runaway occurs with a big cell, a proportionately larger amount of energy is released and it is very difficult to prevent that energy from then heating up the neighboring cells and causing a domino effect that results in the entire pack catching fire.”

From Donald Sadoway, a professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

” …I’m glad someone with such a big reputation put it on the line …He’s engineered [Tesla's battery] to prevent the domino effect.”

Click here to see HD video of a Tesla experiencing a domino effect.

See picture below to get a feel for size of battery cells used in a Tesla.