Unfortunately for Tesla it has become the most scrutinised automobile maker in the world. There’s any number of reasons for this. Firstly they arrived seemingly out of nowhere with disruptive battery technology not seen before. Elon Musk, the public face of Tesla is the very definition of an enigma plus there are constant concerns over quality and production targets.
So when one of its cars explodes, it’s bound to make headlines. The apparent incident took place somewhere in China. The vision posted on a Chinese social media site called Weibo captures the incident via CCTV.
There’s a brief puff of smoke seen on both sides of a white Model S then boom, a fireball ensues.
It all looks very dramatic and most concerning. But I’ll hold off the trample on Tesla bandwagon for now.
A Tesla spokesperson has told EFTM, “We immediately sent a team onsite and we’re supporting local authorities to establish the facts. From what we now know, no one was harmed.”
It’s not a good look for the pioneering company that’s facing ever increasing competition from mainstream players. However, Tesla do provide some perspective that I think is more than reasonable to share.
With over 500,000 Tesla cars getting around globally the rate of fires such as this is 10 times less likely than a petrol or diesel vehicle. The design of the battery pack reduces the spread of a fire due to its modular construction, much like the Titanic was designed with separate compartments to help contain any damage from some kind of impact. Ok that’s a really bad example, but you get my drift.
When a gas tank is punctured, typically the contents of the entire tank will explode in a very uncontained way.
Tesla also conduct regular sessions with first responders to help train them about how electric vehicle fires should be dealt with. Check out some of that info here.
For now it’s a random, isolated event. Let’s hope Tesla get to the bottom of it.