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Tesla goes up in flames in video captured by actor Mary McCormack (theguardian.com)
23 points by seanhunter on June 17, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 18 comments



Is this news because its Tesla?

"On average, 31 highway vehicle fires were reported per hour. These fires killed one person a day. Overall, highway vehicles fires were involved in 17% of reported U.S. fires, 12% of U.S. fire deaths, 8% of U.S. civilian fire injuries, and 9% of the direct property damage from reported fires. "

https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-r...


Probably because of ratio of count by vehicles maker to incidents.


Electrek has a longer video in their article: https://electrek.co/2018/06/16/tesla-model-s-battery-fire-in... The fire looks like some high pressure gas burning to me, with the flames violently exiting to the left. If you watch the longer video, this is mostly over by the time the firefighters arrive.

This could point to the fire being not in the battery, but the AC unit, which is in the front of the vehicle. Modern AC units contain flammable chemicals and when operating would be pressurized.


Automotive AC units use HCFC/HFC gases not HC, HCFC/HFC are not flammable.

If Tesla used R-290 or R-600 (propane and iso-butane) refrigerants in their AC they are well idiots and there is little chance that this would’ve passed regulation.

The video you linked looks just like batery venting.

https://youtu.be/WnZuMfq6kec


At least in Europe, the traditional refrigerants have been banned because of their impact on the ozone layer, and currently some car manufacturers are using R123yf, which is flammeable. I don't know what Tesla uses.


R1234yf is an HFO and it isn’t practically flammable it’s classified as a mild flammable material and even that’s a stretch.

>”Although the product is classified slightly flammable by ASHRAE, several years of testing by SAE proved that the product could not be ignited under conditions normally experienced by a vehicle. In addition several independent authorities evaluated the safety of the product in vehicles and some of them concluded that it was as safe to use as R-134a...”

As far as Europe goes “traditional” referigerants are not banned they can be restricted depending on the industry and usecase. HFOs are used by a few car manufacturers and ironically this isn’t even an EU thing the US started using it first iirc GM was the first as these HFOs are produced by Honeywell.

HFC and HCFC are commonly used in Europe.

Also it’s important to note that Daimler and BMW specifically stated that they will not use R1234 and Daimler even recalled the Benz’s that used it. They claimed it’s unsafe and flammable but the actual reason was most likely the cost that Honeywell and DuPont enforced on manufacturers. IIRC not only was that R1234 was more expensive Honeywell and DuPont also had patents issued on the evaporators that need to be used in conjunction with this refrigerant.


A battery fire should have been detected by the BMS. It would be sampling an array of temperature sensors in the battery pack multiple times per second, and any temperature out of range events would be captured. This is either a huge failure of the BMS, which should have detected the fire and triggered a derating of the motor and disconnetion of the battery from the powertrain (which didn't happen as the driver was flagged to pull over by pedestrians), or this wasn't a battery fire.


nah, this is how Lithium ion cells fail

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J-h6fC1GrU 2 and 6:50 minute mark for quite dramatic demonstrations


It looks exactly like the battery venting.


If need be, Tesla will come out with a huge report at some point adding up the so many more incidents and faults of other car companies out there that happen every week of every month of every year, to remind people how unfairly Tesla are being singled out (for every damn incident that happens) just because they're the sexiest car company in the world.

It's good though to end the false perception that Tesla is the pure stuff of world-saving unicorns. Sorry Elon those times are over. Just get to work and do your best to achieve the goals you've set out in public. I sure don't want you to stop.


As the owner of a Vauxhall Zafira which has 2 recalls to fix an issue of catching fire, it is very important to make sure any manufacturer has swiftly and addresses the issues. Vauxhall dragged its feet in publicly recognising the issue which ultimately caused them a lot of negative press and a criminal investigation. I want a Tesla someday, but do pay attention to how they respond to such issues.


Ah, I see Mr. Musk is surreptitiously testing those rockets that are to grace the new coupe in the near future.


And ?


.... this is generally thought to be bad UX


If it's big enough news to be covered by The Guardian (a major "serious" news outlet here in the UK) it seems it may be of interest given Tesla tends to be closely followed on this board. A car catching fire for no apparent reason while driving normally in traffic in an urban area could point to an important problem, do you not think?


The cause of the fire is important, I think. Logs state something that could suggest a battery issue, but without more information, it's hard to draw any conclusions.

Also, statistically speaking, it's hard to draw any conclusions. IMO this article preys on our biases, and people may draw the false conclusion that Tesla are inherently less safe, due to this single reported incident (regardless of the actual occurrence rate).


Yes, all car fires should get investigated for technical issues. This is how airplanes got safe, as every single incident was carefully investigated.

But it is not the first time a car caught fire while driving: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPiG3gFRjHE


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