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With Burning Teslas In the News Ford Recalls Almost 140,000 Escapes 293

An anonymous reader writes "Tesla received a lot of attention over the Model S fires recently, but they're not the only car company having issues with spontaneous combustion. Ford has issued a recall on almost 140,000 Ford Escapes for potential engine fires. With little media attention on the recall, Musk might have a point about the unfair treatment Tesla gets in the news."
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With Burning Teslas In the News Ford Recalls Almost 140,000 Escapes

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  • "Spontaneous"? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @12:18AM (#45546033) Journal

    I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @12:20AM (#45546041) Journal

    You can always tell a pioneer by the arrows in his back.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 28, 2013 @12:22AM (#45546063)

    Of course Tesla is getting lots of press, it's because electric cars are new. People (especially Americans) do not like change, they assume that the old way is the best way. With every new technology, you'll have those old bastards still crying about how their gas engines never did this (Even though they do, and on a much larger scale).

    The same press will plague the driverless car. Once one or two accidents happen the media will be in an uproar and so will the populace.

  • by sheehaje ( 240093 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @12:23AM (#45546075)

    Maybe the media scrutiny is that Tesla's actually caught fire, and Ford is proactively recalling because there is a potential fire?

  • by mojo-raisin ( 223411 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @12:30AM (#45546115)

    One would almost think Musk had poured every dime he owned into Tesla and was in a bitter battle against an entrenched and corrupt industry. ... oh wait.

  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @12:47AM (#45546223)

    Of course Tesla is getting lots of press,

    Tesla's failures are getting a lot of press because Musk wanted Tesla's successes to get a lot of press.

    Musk cant have it both ways, Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    Ford on the other hand, well we almost expect recalls from them.

  • by PNutts ( 199112 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @12:48AM (#45546229)

    Not quite. From the quoted article, "There have been 12 reported fires but no injuries in the bigger recall of 139,917 Ford Escape vehicles."

    But it does show a huge difference between Tesla and the management of a car company that's been in the business a long time. Ford will recall and repair 139,917 cars because of 12 fires. Tesla downplays battery fires.

    Elon Musk should be looking at Ford management and asking himself what they know about making and selling cars that he doesn't.

    Correct. Ford will sell 12 more cars and Telsa only three.

  • by pitchpipe ( 708843 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:20AM (#45546363)

    Elon Musk should be looking at Ford management and asking himself what they know about making and selling cars that he doesn't.

    Translation: why isn't he burning gas like every other god fearin' 'Murican?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:33AM (#45546425)

    I am no fan of Musk or current electric cars but the fire/safety issue has been seriously overblown. More likely to catch fire in a 10 year old car by far, and as we have seen by the number of recalls posted above, many NEW vehicles have far more severe issues.

    While I would not buy a current Tesla, it may be possible in the next few years to buy a hybrid that meets my needs and costs less than 25k.
    And like it or not, EVERY manufacturer that is actually selling product in the electric or hybrid niches is helping to improve the products and lower the prices.
    Tesla more than most.

    Teslas are PROVEN to be very good cars as long as the mileage constraint doesn't impact you.
    And you have enough money to help underwrite the R&D process for the rest of us.

  • by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:48AM (#45546499) Homepage Journal

    In addition, there's a difference between a sample size of 150k and 20k. 12 out of 150k is a much more meaningful number than 3 out of 20k. In addition, Ford has developed a physical fix, while Tesla was able to impliment a fix via software update. If they chose to follow that up with a hardware fix, that has to be designed and implimented.

    Given that the incidents in question were all after collisions that probably would have totaled most vehicle anyways, and were nice enough to wait long enough for the people to evacuate the car, I'm not sure it's as serious of an issue as 'spontaneously combusts while parked'.

  • by Pr0xY ( 526811 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:53AM (#45546527)

    The article points out that there have actually been 12 fires in the Ford Escapes being recalled

  • Re:"Spontaneous"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crudely_Indecent ( 739699 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @02:15AM (#45546621) Journal

    If a car catches fire when it's not in an accident, and it wasn't intentionally set ablaze - I would call that spontaneous.

  • by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @02:36AM (#45546705)

    When institutions no less esteemed than the BBC and the New York Times have done "reviews" of Tesla that were somewhere between contrived and falsified (Depending on how polite you care to be.) to make the cars look as bad as possible, I think one can forgive Musk for getting a bit defensive and even coming out swinging when under attack.

    Yes, they *are* out to get him (Or at least TSLA.).

  • by lxs ( 131946 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @02:40AM (#45546727)

    Because nine out of ten rednecks prefer loud machines that billow toxic smoke over electrickery. It reminds them of grandpa's still.

  • by Dan Askme ( 2895283 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @03:37AM (#45546981) Homepage

    "With little media attention on the recall, Musk might have a point about the unfair treatment Tesla gets in the news."

    - Ford builds a combustion engine that relies on explosions to run.
    - Tesla builds an engine which removes the need for engine combustion completely, yet, still creates an explosion and fire.

    Tesla are getting the wrap they deserve. The whole idea of an electrical car is to remove the need for combustion/explosions altogether.
    Whilst a engine should never "explode", a combustion engine technically is every time its running.

    I really find Tesla has a childish attitude "Why do they always pick on us. Our battery life is great, your wrong, look at our internal 200 page report".
    Maybe a different approach of "How can we resolve this? Lets make electric cars better" would work more in their favour?

  • by Woek ( 161635 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @05:08AM (#45547265)

    This is something I truly do not understand. Americans should be extremely proud of Tesla Motors! An american company launches their first fully in-house developed electric car, almost out of nothing, and completely blows away anything that is available anywhere in the world. Including decades old multi-billion dollar companies in Europe and Japan. This car is not cheap, but it is exclusive, well built, comfortable, reliable, has good range, incredible performance, is innovative and almost legacy-free. And very importantly (and surprisingly for an american car if I may say so) actually looks very good! Furthermore, the company takes initiative to create a very useful charging network, and has amazing customer service.
    Americans, embrace Tesla Motors please!!

  • by dutchwhizzman ( 817898 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @05:58AM (#45547395)

    Tesla's under armor is quarter inch aluminum plating. The only way to seriously improve on that would be to put something engine sized, shaped and weighed in the front trunk to take the blow. There are a large number of disadvantages to do so, both in daily usage and in safety. The car would be way heavier and you'd have a large lump of metal causing all sorts fo hurt and damage in case of a frontal crash. You can armor a car against all sorts of conceivable harm, but there's a practical limit. I think that Tesla thought of these scenarios and weighed out all options and scenarios and came to this compromise for a reason.

    So far, the Tesla cars have worked as designed. Flames coming out may seem scary, but in reality, nobody got hurt and costs haven't been that different when compared to a similarly sized and priced gasoline car in the same situation. These cars have some rather fundamental differences to gasoline cars and we have yet to come to terms with that. If you look at statistics for gasoline cars, which have rather low standard deviations, you'd see that they aren't exactly safe in comparable crashes, nor in fire hazard safety. Because of the low number of Teslas and the short time they are around, it's extremely hard to say something statistically about them yet. All we get to read about are three crashes where they caught fire due to the battery compartment getting pierced. We have no idea how they are going to hold in the first 100000 crashes they will have, ranging from fender benders to getting squashed between two large trailers or falling off a cliff. I'm sure we'll see some things where a Tesla will do worse than the average gasoline car in those circumstances, but we'll also be seeing situations where they will be doing better. Tesla have but a lot of thought to the design of their car and they have used the possibilities of rearranging the complete propulsion to improve on safety in a lot of cases. Their simulations and internal testing have proven their choices to be the safest compromise they could come up with. So far, real world crashes have not significantly changed their safety model. There probably will be incidents in the future where they can only say "we didn't think of that", but these fires aren't one of them.

    Keep in mind, cars aren't designed to be safe, they are designed to be affordable, attractive, profitable and pass mandatory safety tests. Ralph Nadar changed that perspective momentarily, but we've only been going through small iterations in safety regulations since that. Car companies mostly have been improving as a reaction to those iterations. Only a few car companies have actively been improving their designs without the pressure of regulations or comparative crash tests. Most companies will only test cars to give good results in common tests that they know their vehicle will be rated on. Once they receive a good or excellent grade in those tests, they're done. They know how to improve safety on their vehicles, but they can't justify the cost of that because they won't be able to recuperate those in a higher sales price. A good example of this is Saab. They lost, because they couldn't make their cars competitively priced, even though they were safer in a lot of circumstances. People just aren't aware, or not prepared to pay for the extra safety. Maybe it's time another Ralph Nader would submit the 50 most popular cars on the road this day to a 55mph rear impact, or a t-bone. Even the regular sized dummies have a very low survival rate in such crashes. Car companies know how to make those crashes survivable, they prepare their race cars in such a way that almost always, inhabitants of those can just walk away from such crashes. Maybe they should start testing with real world testing dolls. Use the extremes of the human physique to test with so you can assume that anybody in between those extremes will be safe. A non-overweight 5.5-6ft doll might not get hurt in a crash, but over 50% of inhabitants of vehicles are so far from that, that they will get hurt in a sim

  • Re:Happily parked? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @09:50AM (#45548221) Journal

    Thats very interesting since brake fluid is specifically designed to have a high flashpoint and deal with lots of heat. It sounds almost as if ford never heard of a fuse either.

    But even if this is 100% true and accurate, it doesn't relate to the tesla because someone actually investigated tje problem and ford actually did something about it (recall) other than complain about bad press and pointing to other car fires to justify it qs common or not as bad or something.

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.