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Here’s How Tesla Model S Caught Fire After Three Weeks of Being Discarded in a Junkyard

Are electric cars prone to fires? Is it?

Every vehicle is prone to catching fires. How often have you heard about other makes or gas-powered vehicles catching fire and taking any notice? But every time it is about Tesla, people are bound to take notice and react.

That is how the Tesla buzz works.

A Tesla Model S spontaneously combusted after spending three weeks in a junkyard, as reported by the Metro Fire of Sacramento.

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There has been a lot of excitement around electric vehicles (EVs) in recent years. Tesla somehow attracted everyone with their take one electric vehicle market successfully.

Soon after other major brands like Chevrolet and Nissan followed suit and started deploying EVs, people began to take notice.

Now, it seems like there’s an EV in the works from just about every known or niche brand out there.

And with all the futuristic showcases of concept cars and images gliding around online, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype about the future of transportation.

Concept cars are epic! Why? Because they are not in production. Production models have numerous design changes to make them feasible and road-safe. Concept cars are just out of pure love for imagination.

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Automakers are increasingly transitioning to electric cars, which we only expect will become more popular over time. EVs are the future.

Anyways, back to our topic, let’s talk about that car that caught fire in an automobile graveyard.

What Happened?

The incident happened on June 12, 2022, and Metro Fire Of Sacramento reported the fire. They posted the pictures on their official Twitter account. The vehicle was sitting in a Rancho Cordova junkyard in Sacramento County, California, after being damaged three weeks prior in a traffic collision.

The white accidental Tesla Model S was sitting in the junkyard for three weeks before it caught fire.

It’s unclear how the car caught fire or what caused the blaze. Some speculate that it could have been a faulty battery cell that sparked the flames. Others say that it may have been something external that caused the fire in Model S.

According to the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, the electric car was quickly consumed by the flames. Each time firefighters thought they had extinguished the blaze, the EV’s battery compartment reignited the fire, said the department.

The firefighters said that the fire kept reigniting for several attempts until they came up with a unique idea to douse the blazing flames. The crew dug out a mud pit around the Model S and filled it up with water to submerge the car’s battery pack.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department spokesperson, Parker Wilbourn, explained that the only way to ensure the fire was put out for good was to submerge the battery. The temperatures were recorded at 3,000 degrees- much hotter than other fires they had fought in recent memory.

Why the electric sedan caught fire after sitting for nearly a month is unclear, but Metro Fire says the Tesla resisted the claims.

In addition to responding to the fire, the department also uploaded videos of them fighting the flames on Twitter and Instagram.

The fire department used 4,500 gallons of water, and took about an hour to dowse the flames. The Tesla and its battery were almost destroyed. Fortunately, though, no one was injured at the junkyard.

Tesla Model S Fire

Are Tesla Cars More Prone To Fire?

The question itself is misleading; why point only to Tesla and not all EVs when discussing the probability of catching fire?

There have been numerous incidents of Tesla fires in the recent past that went viral and made headlines.

A Tesla Model 3 caught fire while it was parked peacefully in May. No accident or something. Last year in 2021, a Tesla Model Y was seen burning in Canada in a viral video, and the driver reported that he had to break open the window to get out of the EV.

As more people switch to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), media headlines have oftentimes been about BEV accidents where the car catches on fire. Why?

They are the new ‘it’ things.

And if you see a video of an expensive Tesla engulfed in flames, the news becomes a seller and it’s easy to assume that this is a problem with all-electric cars. However, this would not be newsworthy if it were an internal combustion engine (ICE) car on fire.

According to the data put by National Transportation Safety Board(NSTB), there is not enough evidence or information available so far to deem EVs more prone to fire than ICE cars.

ICE cars and EVs both have their fair share of fires. If you see, with ICE vehicles, typical fire causes are brake fluid leaks igniting after exhaust contact and electrical short circuits.

Moreover, ICE vehicles often instantly catch fire after a collision or accident. Some EVs have been known to ignite sometime after an accident, usually caused by coolant leaking into the battery.

Common EV failures include an internal cell short which could lead to thermal runaway, usually occurring because of battery pack impact. Underbelly or side impact on the battery pack can cause a puncture and ignite a fire situation.

EV fires are known to burn for several days and often reignite even after firefighters put them out. Firefighters are now trained that total immersion in a swimming pool may be the only way to extinguish it.

Is It Safe To Drive Electric Cars?

Are electric cars safe to drive? Well, that depends on who you ask. Those who are wary of EV technology will tell you they’re more than traditional cars because of their limited charge range and lack of supporting infrastructure.

But those in the know understand that modern EVs offer several safety benefits over gas-powered vehicles, making them the best choice for anyone who wants to be future-ready or cut costs.

There are many different ways to measure the safety of an EV, whether it’s looking at crash data or examining onboard technology. So, we’ll break down several key points that make electric vehicles safer than gas-powered cars:

Battery Pack Safety

EV cars are equipped with specialized crash-resistant and tamper-proof safety structure that adds a strong layer of safety. These system sensors can detect collisions and crashes to automatically disconnect battery connections. Special pyro fuses instantly cut battery pack connections from high-voltage cables inside the EVs.

Structural Integrity

One important point is that EVs are designed to have a heavy structure because they have a larger battery and other components, which makes them safer in the event of a crash. Combustion engine vehicles have engines in the front, and cars like Tesla and other EVs are often designed around a battery pack platform. Benefit?

The platform battery pack structure allows for a low center of gravity, increasing the crumple zone and absorbing the crash impact better than ICE.

Regenerative Braking

Another safety advantage comes from the ability of EVs to brake quickly over long distances and resist rolling on hillsides. This is thanks to modern regenerative braking systems, which work in tandem with the brake pads to convert energy from braking into electricity.

AI Features

Let’s not forget the additional safety features that come standard in modern EVs, from parking sensors to backup cameras. These features help drivers avoid accidents and protect their passengers if the worst happens.

And, Autopilot? The drive-assist features are changing the course of traditional driving experiences for everyone.

So, as you can see, electric vehicles are just as safe – if not safer – than traditional gas-powered cars.

What To Expect?

One of the main reasons why EVs tend to catch fire more easily than regular cars is because of their lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are extremely flammable and require careful handling at all times.

The battery packs would become safer as the technology advances and the battery industry moves to more stable developments. The problem with fires in an electric car is the time it takes to control the fire.

And what might appear to be only slight damage can be irreparable. With batteries, which can stretch to all four corners, more area could potentially become damaged compared with an ICE under the hood.

The famous luxury car carrier Felicity Ace caught fire in February and burned for over a week before recovery teams could board the ship. However, after running aground while being towed to safety, the cargo ship began to sink and is now two miles beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.

The fire said to begin with a lithium-ion battery’s spontaneous fire put the overall damages close to $500m.

The cargo ship had over 4,000 luxury cars, including Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Porche. The cargo ship is said to have over 1,100 Porche on board.

EV fires are stubborn and can cause potential damage because of the thermal runaway. Thermal runaway is the term for fire reigniting even after extinguishing.

Bottomline

Despite the unfortunate incident in Sacramento, Tesla vehicles have a reputation for being incredibly safe and reliable. The company has made major strides in the electric car industry and has even made it possible for owners to fully charge their

Electric cars are increasingly getting popular and accepted in the modern world. While they still may not be as common or convenient as traditional gas-powered cars, EVs offer several benefits and advantages over their fossil fuel counterparts.

The heat might have played a role in causing or escalating the Tesla Model S fire, which occurred just before summer. We will know for sure once the investigation is out.

We are still waiting for official investigation reports but until then, share with us what you think.

Several mediums call out Tesla as being the sole reason for fires, but that seems far from true. The Tesla Model S may have had a fiery ending, but Tesla’s popularity seems to continue to soar. Like the famous quote:

“What fire does not destroy, it hardens.” by Oscar Wilde.

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Purnima Rathi
Purnima Rathi
An ardent writer putting life into words worth your time.

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