A man who owned a Tesla that “spontaneously combusted” while driving allegedly said “it’s all gone” after he walked away with his life.
That feeling of loss is very on brand for a car company that can’t explain why it has so many fires.
You buy Tesla, you lose it all.
The owner mentioned that his two very young kids fortunately weren’t strapped in their carseats, which reminds me of another Tesla father’s unexplained “spontaneous combustion” nightmare watching his kid’s carseat melting.
Tesla is unique in the car industry for these stories, what can only be described as willful neglect regarding fire investigation and resolution. I’ll never forget the NHTSA Complaint (#11466262) by a father wailing publicly about his son being burned-to-death.
Can Tesla be forced to care or will the market just move on without them?
Tesla-fire.com as of January 2023 was nearing a 200 mark, already reporting over 50 deaths.
Over 50 deaths!
Other manufacturers intensively research issues and make very specific recalls as a proactive measure. If you read NHTSA data you see a marked difference.
Tesla has repeatedly said it doesn’t understand why its fires happen so often, it points fingers at others, and it clearly hopes people can just act “thankful” for nearly dying in fires instead of being realistic about prevention.
Last January, for example, we heard a similar story.
A Tesla car battery “spontaneously” burst into flames on a California freeway Saturday, and firefighters needed 6,000 gallons of water to put it out. The Metro Fire Department said in a series of tweets that “nothing unusual” had occurred before the Tesla Model S became “engulfed in flames”…
A giant fire would be treated as unusual for any other car maker. And they would be reported as such. Hyundai, Kia and Ford electrical fires, for example, have posted multiple specific resolutions over a decade including NHTSA “engineering analysis” of non-crash spontaneous electrical fires.
Fires get called “nothing unusual” as owners try to run from a flaming death trap. The car that was promised to them as safer quickly is proven less safe. How can that predictive disconnect go on much longer? It will get better? That’s not how any of this works. It will get worse unless there is proof of improvement (e.g. Shewhart/Deming PDCA/PDSA quality measurement models known and proven since the 1920s).
Now for some analysis related to Tesla’s ill-conceived and rushed “dominance”, flooding an electric vehicle market with intentional very low quality.
Tesla specifically is to blame for a shockingly high death toll related directly to its known design failures (e.g. multiple cases of occupants unable to escape during intense fire, burning them alive).
Other car companies run far lesser fire risks because, when they do have a flaw, they get investigated and recalled far more proactively.
Let’s talk about Tesla’s fire-to-root-cause ratio, for example. Who keeps that tally public? How many incidents sit open with empty answers?
We see hundreds and hundreds of Tesla complaints, including tragic mention of death by fire, while competing brands have zero complaints.
Consider also how combustion engine fires very often are rooted in electrical systems (e.g. loose wiring harness). Getting to root cause means true “electric fire” recalls are far higher than Tesla ever admits when they try to confuse analysts by calling them combustion.
Examples in 2020, just for sake of illustration?
- Electrical short fire recall: over 400,000 Hyundai Elantra
- Electrical short fire recall: over 300,000 Kia Cadenza & Sportage
- Electrical short fire recall: over 200,000 Honda Odyssey
- Touch-screen fire recall: over 200,000 Tesla Model X & S (and 2021 because they missed some)
All of them, electrical. Tesla knows this yet cruely twists reporting to falsely make it seem like electrical fires will somehow magically become a low risk after decades of data proving the opposite.
Or, let me put it another way.
Gasoline cars have batteries and wires. The batteries and wires cause fires at a very high rate, second only to fuel leaks.
So if you remove only gasoline, you’re still going to be looking into a LOT OF FIRES from… electricity.
Combustion engine fire recalls for electrical systems should be reported as such, so electrical fires now would make sense in context of always being a problem.
Yeah, electrical systems have caused a lot of fires and millions of recalled vehicles. Soooo, Tesla should have read those tea leaves and figured their cars would have a problem, a big problem with fires.
How many gasoline fires are at a station during refuel, or how many are just driving on an on-ramp? Here again, Tesla seems particularly unique in regard to risk because drivers with no warning, a false sense of safety from marketed overconfidence, are in sudden grave danger.
If a combustion engine tank is ruptured in a crash, and there are high rates of crashes, then that isn’t really comparable to Tesla electric cars repeatedly bursting into flames without any “known” reason other than… electrical risks everyone else is actually talking about and fixing.
…41 crashes vs 20,315 crashes vs 543 crashes make it statistically irresponsible to compare these numbers. For example, if there was a 42nd crash with an EV and it caught on fire then it would be 4.76% of EVs or double the [worst] rate…
Here’s a great hypothesis to examine: removing petroleum fuels will eliminate the current highest area of fire risk, yet the total fire risk may increase as a result from unsafe electrical systems rushed to market by Tesla.
For those still curious about fuel leak cases, the manufacturers talk about simple sensor indicators that can give drivers advance warning about risks of fire.
Advance warning of Tesla fire? That would require Tesla admitting their problems, admitting regulators save lives by forcing ground truth.
Proof of Tesla worsening the market ahead comes further from the fact that after their many fires for “unexplained reasons”, multiple more fires start over many days, allegedly with no ability to predict either.
Should we count each of these Tesla fires individually and adequately?
It seems so. I may ask tesla-fires.com to add a column so we can have a proper muliplier.
There have been nearly 200 fires, yet since Tesla fires are known to restart again and again without proper explanation it should be counted more like 500 or higher.
As a best guess, new short-circuits happen every time a wrecked Tesla battery is shifted so another electrical system fire starts… but who counts all these as unique and different? When does Tesla admit they know the root cause and take proper action to save lives and reduce taxpayer/societal burden from Tesla’s cheap designs and weak engineering?
Dealerships, repair shops, tow-trucks and junkyards have been reporting explosive uncontrollable Tesla fires unlike anything seen in the modern world of highly regulated gasoline safety.
The point is that anyone launching any modern electric car should have treated fire risk as their top engineering priority, and now should recognize immediately how things are worsening (e.g. spontaneous combustion without explanation), instead of repeatedly claiming surprise and ignorance.
Every Chevy Bolt was recalled when it showed even slight risk of fire. I’d thus easily recommend a Bolt over Tesla; the safety/fatality data when comparing the two makes it clear why.
Any electric cars with evidence of ignorant management should be grounded until fire risk is independently studied and verified as eliminated. What does eliminated mean?
There should be no excuses for ignoring the problem, no tolerance of basic safety negligence. No statements of whataboutism. This is not new or different from any car. GM and others have done the right thing on multiple levels, including training public fire crews, with their new electric vehicles. Tesla never seems to care at all, as illustrated by their unique fire death tolls.
At this point we should ask why would any father take such highly unnecessary risks and put children in an inexplicably flammable Tesla.