Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation

Tesla Model S Caught Fire While Parked and Unplugged 329

Posted by Soulskill
from the hot-topic dept.
cartechboy writes "The safety headlines involving the Tesla Model S were a mixed bag last year. The good news was the Model S received a top safety rating, but the bad news came with three of those electric cars catching fire after receiving damage to the battery packs. (Though coverage of the latter was disproportionate to the coverage of fires in other types of vehicle.) Now another Tesla Model S has caught fire, but this time the car was parked and unplugged. The fire happened earlier this morning in the owner's garage in Toronto, Ontario. At this time no one knows what sparked the fire, but we do know the vehicle was only about four months old. Again, it wasn't plugged into a charging station, and it wasn't turned on. With no one near it. Interestingly, the battery on this particular Model S was unscathed by the fire. In fact, the Toronto fire department says the fire didn't originate in the battery, the charging system, the adapter or electrical receptacle since all of those components weren't touched by the fire. So, how did this Tesla fire happen, and will this blow up into a larger issue for the new automaker?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Tesla Model S Caught Fire While Parked and Unplugged

Comments Filter:
  • Not from the car? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dthief (1700318) on Friday February 14, 2014 @04:13PM (#46249447)
    Why are they assuming it was started by the car?

    "In fact, the Toronto fire department says the fire didn't originate in the battery, the charging system, the adapter or electrical receptacle since all of those components weren't touched by the fire"

    maybe the fire was cause by something in the garage adjacent to the car?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)
      Clearly GM set the fire intentionally and then paid off the fire department to say it was the Tesla, but the fire department failed to make it convincing! WAKE UP SHEEPLE! There's a vast incompetent conspiracy going on!
      • From TFA:

        Shortly after the fire, seven Tesla employees visited the owner of the vehicle. The company also offered to take care of the damages and inconvenience caused by the fire, but the owner declined.

        This sounds comically similar to a villain trying to conceal the remains of a failed plan to frame someone.

        • Odd that the owner refused. Presumably he was covered by insurance. But it's going to cost him in excess and/or higher premiums.

        • by icebike (68054)

          Sounds more likely the home owner knows exactly what caused the fire.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      Or the fire was caused by a cigarette left burning on the seat, or some other owner-caused action that would have happened in any car.
      • by icebike (68054)

        Or the fire was caused by a cigarette left burning on the seat, or some other owner-caused action that would have happened in any car.

        The fire didn't engulf the car. The top of the car is unburned. If the fire started inside the car the roof would be devoid of paint, and all windows
        would be gone.

        The wall in front of the car and the overhead ceiling of the garage was extensively damaged. Just look at the pictures in the linked article.

    • by TWX (665546)
      A friend of mine had a house fire whose origin could not be reliably determined. It's not all that uncommon for the source of a fire to be unresolved. That's almost worse for Tesla as it plants the seed of doubt in a way that can't be readily defended against. Even a citing of some feature of the car could be better as that feature or aspect could be changed, but if the cause isn't determined then there's nothing to do to fix it.
    • by icebike (68054)

      Why are they assuming it was started by the car?

      "In fact, the Toronto fire department says the fire didn't originate in the battery, the charging system, the adapter or electrical receptacle since all of those components weren't touched by the fire"

      maybe the fire was cause by something in the garage adjacent to the car?

      Looking at the pictures, you see that from all appearances, the car itself wasn't even involved. It simply happened to be there.

      The fire department has torn down large amounts of sheet rock, trying to get at the fire, which says they thought it it was in the walls, or
      the ceiling. This sounds like an electrical fire, or something hot enough to possibly have ignited the studs behind the sheet rock, so they
      have to tear it down to make sure.
      The firemen are paying no attention to the car, they are looking as s

      • I still dont understand why the media hates the tesla.

        I would think conservatives (like me) are a fan because Musk is an incredibly successful businessman, free market yadda yadda. He sells a good product, he makes successful companies, he shows how the private market is supposed to work.

        I would think liberals would love tesla because its the environmentalist dream-- its a desirable product that is environmentally friendly AND viable in the real world.

        What grinches are looking at tesla and grinding their t

    • Was the driver a smoker?

    • How was the fire started? I'm thinking pissed of neighbor.
  • Maybe by someone looking to short the stock?

    Maybe a "hit" taken out by disgruntled Ohio auto dealers?

    As others have pointed out, garages are full of flammable stuff. Fire could have originated anywhere.

    • Re:Arson? (Score:5, Funny)

      by OhSoLaMeow (2536022) on Friday February 14, 2014 @04:25PM (#46249589)

      Maybe a "hit" taken out by disgruntled Ohio auto dealers?

      Oh no. The Ohio dealers are fully gruntled.

    • by tompaulco (629533)

      As others have pointed out, garages are full of flammable stuff. Fire could have originated anywhere.

      The picture in TFA sure does make it look like it originated somewhere in the front hood area of the Tesla. If it was a regular car, I could believe that he might have parked a hot engine above an oily rag, but i don't think Teslas are supposed to get hot under the hood.

      • There's nothing under the hood other than what you put there. It's a trunk.

        Funny point of driving a Tesla covered in a light layer of snow is that the snow on the hood doesn't melt like it does with a gas car.

  • by HaeMaker (221642) on Friday February 14, 2014 @04:17PM (#46249493) Homepage
    Oh wait, Canada... Disgruntled Neighbour.
  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmail. c o m> on Friday February 14, 2014 @04:17PM (#46249495) Homepage

    That it'll be attributed to a improper maintenance/improper sealing of some kind against corrosion. It's that's the second on the list with cars up here when gasoline leaks aren't the cause. The first is of course gasoline leak related, the third is usually modifications to the exhaust system which cause body frame fires. We use *a lot* of salt on the roads here in the winter, and I mean a lot. It's just so damn cheap since we have mines for it all over the place between Ottawa and Windsor(Windsor Salt for example), and man places are in a locked in 100 year contract.

  • One of the most common causes of house fires has always been parked cars, regardless of propulsion technology.

    • One of the most common causes of house fires has always been parked cars, regardless of propulsion technology.

      Never heard that one before; I always heard it was a mix between irresponsible smokers and improperly used space heaters (with the majority).

      • Those are probably more common (and I said one of the most common), but modern building codes require fire-resistant construction (like thicker drywall and heavy doors) between the garage and the main house for a good reason.

    • There are about 13,900 vehicle fires per year without structural involvement and 366,000 home structure fires of which only 8,9000 started in a garage or vehicle storage area, according to the NFPA. [nfpa.org] Cars don't even make the 1% cut-off for inclusion in their table of sources of ignition. Your washer and drier are a far bigger risk (15,200 house fires).

      By far the most common causes of house fires are cooking accidents (43%), heating equipment (16%), arson (8%), faulty wiring or other electrical (6%), and sm

      • Alright... let's skip the distraction of tying car fires to house fires. Your report states that there were almost 14,000 car fires on residential properties that didn't start the house on fire. Presumably, many additional car fires started in cars parked in places other than peoples' homes. That adds up to tens of thousands of annual car fires that we should be worrying about in addition to this single Tesla. There ought to be dozens of car fire articles per day here on /. so that we can hash out each one.

  • let's obsess over the cause of a fire that has nothing to do with the battery... and only happened once and probably has absolutely nothing to do with the car's engineering?

    and let's ignore the thousands of accidents with gasoline every year that kill or maim?

    you're doing exxon mobile proud, slashdot editors. thanks for featuring this "story" so prominently

    • by chispito (1870390)
      If it was an electrical fire, it's still big news.
      • by icebike (68054)

        Why?
        Electrical fires are rather common. Especially when homeowner decides to put in his own tesla charging circuit and couldn't tell an electrical code from a line of python.

    • let's obsess over the cause of a fire that has nothing to do with the battery... and only happened once and probably has absolutely nothing to do with the car's engineering?

      It's worth looking into, especially because the cause is non-obvious.

      But to say it "probably" had nothing to do with the engineering? Yea, I'll trust the determination of that one to the professional fire investigators, rather than some random internet user.

  • by Michalson (638911) on Friday February 14, 2014 @04:24PM (#46249575)
    Normal gas cars catch fire every day just sitting in peoples driveways or driving along. It's usually a short in the 12V (regular car battery) system related to one of the electronic accessories. It can happen because water gets in and corrodes a contact (like the electric windows) or heat from a nearby item like a headlamp wears down the insulation or other wear and tear that cars are subjected too. In some cases it is identified as an engineering fault rather then a unique occurance in which case a recall occurs. If you go back 3 years you can probably find at least one recall for each of the major manufacturers to fix an electrical fault that 'could lead to a fire'.

    Having some basic knowledge [slashdot.org] about car fires makes it clear just how much Tesla fires are about media hype.
  • I'm guessing somebody didn't put their doobie out before going in the house.

  • With the fire not originating in anything connected to its electrical system, why are they assuming that the fire originated in/from the car at all? It sounds highly unlikely, and more like vacuous sensationalism.
    • by JustNiz (692889)

      Read the original article:
      Earlier this month, a Tesla Model S sitting in a Toronto garage ignited and caught on fire.

    • by tompaulco (629533)

      With the fire not originating in anything connected to its electrical system, why are they assuming that the fire originated in/from the car at all? It sounds highly unlikely, and more like vacuous sensationalism.

      Look at the picture in TFA. It is pretty clear that the front trunk area was the most damaged area.

      • The front trunk area is mostly storage. Under that there is an AC unit, electric power steering, and an air fan (for cooling the batteries I guess). Presumably at most, the air fan was in operation as the car had recently returned and was parked.

  • $100 if you pour gasoline on a Tesla, light it and run away.

    But be warned, if you ask for the bounty, they just give your name to the police.

  • I'm confused. Can someone translate this into a car analogy for me?
    • So, it's like if you park your car in your garage, but then something else in your garage catches fire. The fire spreads and burns down your car.

  • Ok, it started in the tesla. It is not the battery, not the drive train, not the charger, not the computer, etc, BUT, it started in the tesla. Okkkkaaayyyy.
    This sounds like the guy that committed suicide by shooting himself directly in the back of his head 3x with a 45.
  • In fact, the Toronto fire department says the fire didn't originate in the battery, the charging system, the adapter or electrical receptacle since all of those components weren't touched by the fire.

    Or maybe insurance fraud, who knows.

  • by Dastardly (4204) on Friday February 14, 2014 @08:45PM (#46251931)

    Some rare, but possible causes if it has anything to do with the car.

    FOD... (Foreign Object Debris) - shorting power to ground anywhere. Doesn't take much especially on a circuit board somewhere, rapidly heats up and melts solder creating and even bigger short and more heat until fire.

    Dendrite formation - Very rare and probably requires more than 4 months to happen, but certain components on a high density BGA array the solder can form tendrils towards other solder balls. As the dendrites get close to each other they will short and break kind of like a fuse, but eventually it can become big enough to hold and sustain current generating enough heat to start the solder balls melting driving more current and heat until fire.

Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.

Working...