Tesla Car Fires investigation

Discussion in 'Tesla' started by bulls96, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. bulls96

    bulls96 Member

  2. Well, Tesla fires are not good for EVs in general. News media likes to make a big deal out of any EV fire, and just adds to the bad perception the public already has (ie burning coal, environmental damage with battery production, self driving accidents, etc).

    If Tesla has a problem with their batteries and their TMS, I hope they get it corrected soon. They could give the whole EV industry a bad name.
    bulls96 likes this.
  3. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    There seems to be a general consensus in the EV community -- altho it's a false one -- that no PEVs (Plug-in EVs) have ever had any battery fires except Tesla cars. But if you look at Wikipedia's article on the subject, you see that's simply not true. A great many different models of PEVs have had battery fires.

    That said, I think there is little doubt that Tesla cars do have a greater rate of battery fires than other PEVs. The reason is very simple: Tesla uses battery cells with higher energy density than anybody else, and it's an inescapable consequence that there is a greater risk of fire in batteries which contain more energy per unit of volume. It's hard to see how there could be any practical engineering solution which can completely eliminate such a basic characteristic of battery cells. The only way that's going to change is if the battery industry comes up with a radically different sort of cell with lower risk of fire.

    I am encouraged by Ionic Materials' display of solid-state polymer batteries which are actually fire-resistant! I don't know if we'll ever see that tech used in PEVs, but it's at least theoretically possible.

    As you have correctly pointed out, R P, just about every single battery fire in a Tesla car gets widespread media attention. Therefore, unfortunately, the public has been mislead into thinking that it's a serious problem, when the truth is that Tesla cars have a far lower risk of car fires than gasmobiles do. Gasmobile fires are so commonplace that they're almost never reported as news; they are more common than apartment fires! Anyone who's actually worried about the risk of a car fire should absolutely trade in his gasmobile for a Tesla, to reduce the risk rather sharply!
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  4. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    The narrow, uncommon problem to which you are referring, the one that has apparently caused Tesla to slightly reduce the maximum Supercharger charging speed of (according to Tesla) a very small percentage of older Model S's, has obviously been solved years ago. So your suggestion here that it's a current problem that remains to be solved, is simply "concern trolling", intentional or not.

    It is too bad that Tesla hasn't been forthcoming about the cause of the problem. In fact, if the problem is as rare as Tesla has suggested, then I think they should have already replaced the battery packs in all those older cars. Sure, there's no legal requirement for them to do so under the warranty, but it would be good public relations for the company to replace those packs. As it is, the situation is creating a lot of bad press for Tesla, especially since a group of those Tesla car owners has actually filed suit against Tesla. I don't see how they can possibly win -- or rather, they don't have any rational or logical case, altho if it's a jury trial, juries are often swayed by emotion, so it's possible they might unjustly win in such a case -- but the bad publicity alone will likely force Tesla to take some sort of action on the problem... which is, of course, the motive for the lawsuit. Unless their lawyer is a complete idiot, they can't possibly think that they have a good chance of winning the suit in court.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  5. Gaad, you just can't help yourself... I was almost in agreement with your post(s), and then you just had to throw out another personal attack.

    I feel like I am being stalked by you, and you look for any excuse to try and attack me. If you don't like my posts, please put me on your Ignore list.
  6. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I read the NHTSA request for information at:

    It sure looks like a data dump of Tesla engineering data but what if the FAA had done that for the 747 MAX ... could two crashes and ~300 deaths been avoided?

    One thing a regulator can also do is confirm the engineering but ONLY if they have the facts and data. I am a little worried that this data dump might be subject to a Freedom Of Information Request and lead to more 'sneeking Alpha' hit pieces. Still, better to share the facts and data than leave it for fevered imaginations.

    I may be confusing two separate investigations but the common articles are citing what started as a 'loss of 30 mi range' for a 'defective battery class action suit' into a battery fire investigation. I only know of this one investigation based on a report to the NHTSA.

    Now if it were a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation, things would be handled differently. I have more confidence in the NTSB because they don't 'leak'; are not political, and; very professional. The NTSB has even rapped Tesla's knuckles for being a little too chatty about an accident investigation.

    Bob Wilson

    ps. My distrust of the NHTSA comes from:

    I remain convinced the "Bell the Hybrid" law was political to get the blind to staff phone banks for politicians. I remain in opposition to these noise makers. But the effort suggested a batter hypothesis, "A" pillar blockage because there was asymmetry in the incidents proportional to the closeness of the "A" pillar to the driver. There is a mechanism that blocks seeing a pedestrian with one eye from the "A" pillar and the other 'blind spot.' . . . The noise generators are a harmless but ineffective fix for a deadly problem.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  7. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    The term "concern trolling" is a useful term when describing a specific type of assertion in a social media post. I know you won't believe this, but I don't use it as a pejorative, but rather a descriptive phrase. However, to be fair, I should have specified in my comment that I was using it for its descriptive value, and didn't intend it to be taken as a pejorative.

    For that, I do apologize.

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  8. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    These trends come and go, in the history of the USA if not also other countries. There comes a period of lax oversight and/or too much of allowing an industry to police itself, inevitably resulting in disaster sooner or later. The reaction to that inevitably causes oversight to be tightened up, so the problem more or less disappears... until the next cycle.

    I predict that in the next couple of presidential administrations, there's going to be quite a bit of tightening up of oversight, and muck-raking cleanups of the almost mind-boggling amount of corruption in Congress (and inside the current Presidential administration). The pendulum is going to swing the other way, probably rather far. Thank goodness, and a national muck-raking agenda is long overdue!

  9. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Some misleading titles:
    • "Did Tesla cover up a potentially dangerous battery defect?" - FOX
    • "Tesla faces federal investigation after claims of cars bursting into flames" - ABC News
    The original source was loss of 30 miles range after a software upgrade.

    Bob Wilson
  10. Misleading headline or not. Does Tesla really know what caused those fires? Are there common circumstances, etc? A lack of information causes speculation.

    And it is just not Tesla? There was a Kona fire in a garage some months back, and never heard a peep about what was the cause.

    And then there were all these Chinese gadget fires, some exploding in spectacular fashion. So it is no surprise the media is wary of EVs and their giant batteries. And since Tesla has sold the most EVs, of course they are the target.

    Like I said in my early post, it would do the whole EV industry good if Tesla would be more open about the causes, and get them fixed.
  11. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    It isn’t just Tesla but common throughout the industry. Something as simple as a speed vs consumption has to be graphed by owners.

    Bob Wilson
  12. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Certainly Tesla should be more open about the problem with the (claimed) extremely small percentage of older Model S's for which they reduced the charging speed and range, apparently to reduce the chance of battery fires. Since the NHTSA is now investigating this issue, clearly they are going to have to be more open about it.

    However, the fundamental problem there is one that I very seriously question is capable of being solved. Any source of energy dense enough to be useful in an automobile is probably going to be a fire hazard. That's just basic physics. Gasoline is an even greater fire hazard, but people live with it because that fuel is so very practical and useful.

    Now, Ionic Materials has demonstrated a polymer "solid-state" li-ion battery that not only isn't a fire hazard; its cells are actually fire-retardant! But who knows if that sort of tech has a high enough energy density to be used in a mass produced BEV?

  13. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I found a court filing:

    A 102 page filing, my impression is:
    • initially due to a 30 mile drop in the displayed estimated range
    • battery fires were dragged in based on a comment from a Tesla service rep
    What surprises me is the absence of benchmark runs ... the gold standard. The indicated range may not be what the car actually achieves. It is important to calibrate the range indictor versus the actual road performance. I know, this sounds like a nit but without it, we don't know empirical, facts and data.

    Bob Wilson
  14. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Doesn't appear to me to be even remotely nit-picking. In fact, it appears to be a rather fundamental question, or factor, in calculating range and range loss.


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