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"/r/teslamotors: Are Teslas historically more likely to catch fire? I did an Excel and the answer won't surprise you." [1] [2]

[1] https://i.redd.it/h7qse91ostt21.png

[2] https://www.reddit.com/r/teslamotors/comments/bg2rib/are_tes...

Disclaimer: Model S, X Owner

Who needs engineers, when we have choir teachers on Reddit.

What the engineers and scientists at the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration have to say:

"Regarding the risk of electrochemical failure, [this] report concludes that the propensity and severity of fires and explosions from the accidental ignition of flammable electrolytic solvents used in Li-ion battery systems are anticipated to be somewhat comparable to or perhaps slightly less than those for gasoline or diesel vehicular fuels. The overall consequences for Li-ion batteries are expected to be less because of the much smaller amounts of flammable solvent released and burning in a catastrophic failure situation."

Like anything else, it's a risk discussion, and there is no simple answer. Tesla's are generally safe, as are gasoline vehicles, and there are risks and considerations that first responders need to train for, just like any vehicle chassis.

Source: https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/12...


"Tesla vehicle fires are exceptionally rare events, and in some cases, there have been zero Tesla vehicle fires in a quarter. That means that an increase from one fire per quarter to two per quarter represents an increase of 100%. In order to avoid misinterpretation of these numbers and provide a meaningful comparison to industry data, Tesla will publish an update to vehicle fire data annually.

From 2012 – 2018, there has been approximately one Tesla vehicle fire for every 170 million miles traveled. By comparison, data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation shows that in the United States there is a vehicle fire for every 19 million miles traveled.

In order to provide an apt comparison to NFPA data, Tesla’s data set includes instances of vehicle fires caused by structure fires, arson, and other things unrelated to the vehicle, which account for about 15% of Tesla vehicle fires over this time period."

Maybe the fact that rich, educated people drive Teslas, and poor, uneducated drivers don't accounts for it (my hypothesis is that rich, educated drivers have fewer accidents on average since they are less likely to DWI, etc)?

To control I would want to see what % of Tesla crashes catch fire compared to ICE crashes.

Driver status aside (no idea how to judge that), stats for regular vehicles rarely include only less than 5 years old, premium cars. A 15 year old unmaintained clunker is probably more likely to catch fire in case of an accident. I would imagine that considering models from the same years and same price range might paint a different picture.

What makes you think that rich people are less likely to drive drunk?

The problem with that analysis, as pointed out in the reddit comments https://www.reddit.com/r/teslamotors/comments/bg2rib/are_tes...

> This is misleading, the average vehicle on the road is much older than a tesla. You should represent the data showing in rate of fires per model year

If you read further down the thread you linked to, the cause of vehicle fires in older ICE vehicles is due to neglected maintenance (maintenance not required in an EV).

EVs have no ignitable fluids, nor hot surfaces to ignite those fluids. Ergo, their risk of spontaneous combustion during operating goes down drastically. I concede they may still catch fire after an accident severe enough to breech the battery; this is not preventable due to the energy storage requirements of a light vehicle, combustion-based or otherwise.

We don't have 15 year data on Tesla vehicles, period. There are theoretical arguments about how the batteries won't explode or corrode, but an apples-to-apples analysis would compare vehicles of similar maintenance and age. The citation the (unfortunately downvoted) parent was asking for was about the statistical claims.

The real story here is a choir teacher is not a proper source or a replacement for teams of Scientists and Engineers that do these crash analysis for a living.

The voting around this chain is really disappointing for a community that at least claims to be more well-versed in technical and math areas. Statistical claims that parrots Tesla's marketing is upvoted, a request for citation is heavily downvoted, and a flawed statistical presentation is upvoted while critiques are downvoted.

The downvotes are because the pessimists are asking for data that doesn't exist (due to how new most EVs are in general), and ignoring data that does exist (that EVs don't spontaneously combust as frequently as internal combustion vehicles).

No one is parroting Tesla's marketing (I'm unsure where they even market "our cars don't catch fire" explicitly), and the only way to accurately make a determination will be to wait until the average vehicle age of the EV fleet arrives at parity to the existing internal combustion fleet (as you mention in your own comment [1]).

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20190711204039/https://news.ycom...

So in that case, the original claim [1] should never have been made. Why that is being upvoted so heavily, given that the claim is not justified by the numbers, is the real surprise here.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20414075

Perception is reality and the numbers don't exist to make a concrete claim either way. This shouldn't be a surprise at all, regardless of forum. People will arrive at conclusions with the data available to them.

But saying "the risk is not yet quantifiable" isn't that exciting of a discussion topic.

You're comparing late model luxury cars to ALL cars? Do you see anything wrong with that?

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