Post a picture of a Dodge Caravan on fire, and no one notices, but post a picture of a Tesla Model S, or any other electric vehicle, and you’ll set the world on fire.
My point is, of course, that the Tesla Model S is a special vehicle in so many ways. It’s electric, made by a startup company, one of the safest vehicles on the road, and has become wildly popular as far away as China. Still, that doesn’t prevent people from pointing fingers when they see one on fire, such as the accident we covered on the 4th, which occurred on the West Coast, Seattle, Washington. Now, the Seattle Tesla Model S fire was clearly due to a defect in Tesla Motors lithium-ion battery pack the driver accidentally running over a piece of road debris, which rammed a hole through the ¼”-thick armor plating protecting the battery.
In the early morning hours, about 3:50AM on the 17th of October, in San Antonio Cucul, north of Merida, on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, a Tesla Model S is seen, front end engulfed in flames… [Spanish speakers, may be NSFW]
What the video, of course, does not show, is that stupid people can set things on fire, too. According to the news report, the driver, who fled the scene after the accident, was driving drunk, lost control, hit the electrified wall of a residence, and finally came to a rest against a tree. I’m sure this happens all the time to other vehicles and they don’t catch fire, right?
I’m sure we’ll be hearing from Tesla Motors regarding this accident and fire, as well, but we have to remember the actual numbers involved. According to information from the National Fire Protection Association, there is about one conventional-vehicle fire for every twenty million miles driven. With a second Tesla Model S fire on the books, that’s one electric vehicle fire for every [if my math is correct] fifty million miles driven. On the other hand, we have to remember that both of these fires were precipitated by impact with a solid object, not spontaneous combustion.
Image © Renan Rodriguez, Axis of Oversteer via YouTube