autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 
New Tesla Fires Keep Popping Up: They Are Now Six in a Matter of Days
On May 23, we brought four cases in which Tesla vehicles had caught fire, although one of these fires was apparently provoked by a crash. That said, we have limited our count to three spontaneous and recent fires in a matter of days. However, if we count the ones related to crashes, It took only one day for us to add two more to that list.

New Tesla Fires Keep Popping Up: They Are Now Six in a Matter of Days

Tesla Model 3 spontaneously catches fire in California CityTesla Model 3 spontaneously catches fire in California CityTesla Model 3 spontaneously catches fire in California CityTesla Model 3 spontaneously catches fire in California CityTesla Model Y catches fire in VancouverA Tesla Model 3 burns at an undisclosed location and three of them are affected at the Coral Gables Tesla Service Center
What makes them newsworthy is that they are happening at a faster pace than they usually did. From June 2021 until very recently, I personally covered seven Tesla fires. Now we already have six more just in May, which is leading to multiple theories about why they are happening so often these days. We’ll get there after we talk about the new blazes.

The first one was in an undisclosed location. The Twitter user Bray Bray shared a video with a red Model 3 on fire. The vehicle seems to have hit a tree, and it is in the wrong way of the road on which the video was shot. That suggests it crashed and flipped.

That was enough for Tesla advocates to rule out issues with the vehicle and claim that it caught fire after crashing, which is not a very effective way to defend anything: cars should never catch fire after a wreck. The Ford Pinto became a major stain in Ford’s history because it did exactly that. If crashing is enough for a Tesla to catch fire, it should not be driven anywhere or never hit anything, which is impossible to ensure.

Some other Twitter users raised the possibility that the car crashed because it started catching fire. If that were true, it could also explain the fatal crash with a fire that we wrote about in our last story about these blazes. At this point, no one can say precisely what happened or how which makes blaming the crashes for the fires even more inadequate.

The second fire happened on Route 3 in Brooklyn, Illinois. It was first reported by Fox2Now, which informed it started at 4:30 AM on May 23. Fox2Now said the police found a man and a woman close to the burning vehicle. The unidentified woman told them the man had bought the EV the previous week.

Still, according to the news channel, the cause of the fire was unknown, but the recent overheating CPU recall for 130,000 cars in the U.S. was suggested as having some connection to the problem. According to Tesla, the OTA update just improves “the management of the CPU temperature and associated communications with elevated temperature operation.” However, we are not sure how that management happens or if it also deals with the battery pack.

Another source told a different story. Belleview News-Democrat stated that a Tesla hit a hydrant at high speed on St. Clair County highway at around 4:30 AM. Although we were not sure it was the same crash, the Belleview News-Democrat linked the Fox2Now story to its report when it disclosed that the collision happened at Illinois 3 and Jefferson Street in Brooklyn.

According to that website, Brooklyn Police Chief Thomas Jeffrey said the man fled the scene. Witnesses told Jeffrey that both the man and the unidentified woman were “heavily intoxicated.” The police chief preferred not to take that as a proven fact and said he needed to confirm that. The woman was taken to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis with chest pains.

Firefighters stayed at the location until 7 AM to kill the fire. It could have been worse: they could have to go there twice, as with the Coral Gables fire that we reported in our previous article. We needed more information about that, and NBC6 did us that favor.

According to the news channel, two cars were destroyed, and one had fire damage in the parking lot of the local Tesla Service Center. After the firefighters killed the blaze, they had to return at night because the vehicle had reignited. Checking the images presented by NBC6, we’d say it is also a write-off. The facility manager did not want to talk to the press, and the fire cause will be investigated.

At this point, Tesla would better offer some sort of clarification to its concerned customers. The idea that an OTA (over-the-air) update could be causing this could explain why at least three of these six fires happened so close to each other. The ones involving crashes suggest the EV maker should also explain how it ensures the battery pack will not ignite in collisions. For a company that brags about selling the safest cars in the world, these incidents make it look like cheap talk.



Video thumbnail


 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories