‘America’s Safest Car’ Ablaze After Fire Starts in Battery Pack

Tesla stock dives amid new worries about lithium-ion safety

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Paul Sancya / AP

A Tesla Model S electric car, touted as the safest car in America, caught fire on Tuesday, spurring new worries about the possible risks of lithium-ion batteries. In two recent incidents, involving Boeing’s new 787 plane and Chevrolet’s Volt hybrid car, fires have emanated from batteries of the same type.

Tesla spokeswoman Liz Jarvis-Shean said the fire was caused by a large metallic object hitting the battery pack, and pointed out that no one was injured. Company shares still dropped by more than 6 percent, following the appearance on the Internet of a video showing flames spewing out of the vehicle (mild profanity heard).

(MORE: Tesla Motors Pours Cold Data on New York Times ‘Model S’ Review)

[AP]

11 comments
gabrielcdoe
gabrielcdoe

How do we know this wasn't sabotage? Remember the Tucker car company? This could be a similar deal but with the oil companies. Wars fought over oil proves there's nothing "They" wouldn't do.

mak4374
mak4374

I am sorry, but I read the company's press release and I don't remember them saying that the object hit the battery pack.  In fact I distinctively remember them saying that it DIDN'T.  The battery is in the back of the vehicle.  What is going on?

eagle11772
eagle11772

People should stick with gas-powered cars.  At least gasoline isn't flammable. :)  <s>

ViableOp
ViableOp

On the upside, at least the gas tank won't explode.

KennardPiereij
KennardPiereij

It's not like normal petrol cars aren't a fire hazard, they drive with a tank full of just as flammable gas. For a new product like an electric car it's normal to get this kind of coverage whenever a accident like this happens, I'm still convinced electric cars are the future of motoring.

UberMinch
UberMinch

@KennardPiereij Gas cars aren't this kind of fire hazard. The explosions that we see in movies rarely happen. Large li-ion batteries, on the other hand, are known to be not only fire hazards but also horrible for the environment, both in their creation and their destruction.

eagle11772
eagle11772

@KennardPiereij No, they're not.  They're too inefficient just by the nature of the technology. You STILL have to burn fossil fuels somewhere to generate the electricity to recharge the batteries.  And "line loss", i.e. the amount of electricity lost in the journey from the power plant to your electrically powered device, averages 50%.  So these things are NOT more efficient that gasoline-powered vehicles.  If they were, everybody would be buying them.  Which they aren't.

namyzarc
namyzarc

@UberMinch @KennardPiereij : Yeh gasoline production is really safe and great for the environment. Let's just ignore the multitudes of oil spills and pollution...

gabrielcdoe
gabrielcdoe

@eagle11772 @KennardPiereij   - that's bull! the gas companies would pull all the stops to sabotage the full use of electric cars, they are very dangerous people! just think we even went to war for oil what chance would an independent electric car company have against "the powers that be" without the full support of the majority?

UberMinch
UberMinch

@eagle11772 @KennardPiereij Exactly eagle. These cars don't save energy, they just offload the production of that energy to somewhere where the driver can't see it. And if that somewhere is a coal or oil-fired power plant then chances are that production is worse for the environment then a gas-powered car. And, with the line loss you mention, they are far less efficient than gas powered cars.

eagle11772
eagle11772

@UberMinch Upon further research, I have discovered that line-loss is not nearly as high as I stated (it was decades past which is the figure I remembered).  But the FACT remains that with the sole exception of nuclear power, no other medium of storing energy has as high an energy density as gasoline and other petroleum fuels.  If there were other things with higher energy density storage, that were convenient to use, (various rocket fuels have much higher energy densities but are not convenient for everyday use), we would be using them.  This is why we don't use wood or coal for vehicles.  And while uranium certainly has a much higher energy density than gasoline, other petroleum fuels, and just about anything else (because of it's natural binding energy), the problem of the safe and permanent disposal of radioactive waste has never been solved, and probably will NEVER be solved.  So for the foreseeable future, at least into the 23rd century I will guess, we are going to be dependent on petroleum fuels for our vehicles and other power generators.