In a bizarre incident, a Tesla Model S Plaid caught fire with the driver at the wheel. While the driver got out of the car, the car didn’t survive.
The Chief of the Lower Merion Township Department made a statement outlining the incident. According to the statement, the driver noticed some smoke coming out of the back of the car and immediately got out. Subsequently, the car was engulfed in flames and then was burnt to a crisp.
Tesla Model S Plaid Catches Fire
The driver’s escape was not as straightforward as it should be. The electronic doors of the Model S Plaid failed and the driver ended up being trapped inside briefly. However, he made a quick escape. Lawyers from his side are now involved in the matter and will be taking charge of representing the driver in the matter.
Are electric cars more susceptible to fires?
The short answer is: No. But there is a different story. While EVs are safer than ICE cars when it comes to fires, the fires themselves are harder to put out. Traditional methods of putting out fires do not always work with EVs. Due to the intricacies of the construction of the car and the integration of the batteries with the car, there are some extra components in the car. This means that EV fires require more effort to douse out. On average, an ICE car fire requires 300 gallons (1135 L) of water to extinguish. The same figure rises all the way up to 25,000 gallons (94,635 L) in the case of an EV. All this means that any fire resulting from an EV needs to be tackled in a different manner.
The Lower Merion Township department has fire marshals that are trained to put out EV fires and these were the ones who responded first. Due to this, they were able to ensure that the fire was extinguished quickly and smoothly.
Our firm & @AthleteDefender represent an exec who purchased new Tesla Plaid Model S, which was 1/250 shipped. On Tuesday it spontaneously combusted. Our client was trapped & could have died. We tried reaching out to Tesla & have been ignored so far. This is car after escape. pic.twitter.com/wXyJXbWggJ
— Ben Meiselas (@meiselasb) July 1, 2021
Are Teslas more susceptible to catching fire?
Short answer for this one: No. Tesla maintains that their cars are the safest cars on the planet. But these cars do not have the best reputation when it comes to quality control. Although the number of Teslas compared to ICE cars, in general, is negligible. But the ratio changes when we consider the numbers of specific companies. This is where Tesla is struggling at this moment. The number of incidents involving Teslas is quite high. The company keeps maintaining its image of making safe, fast, and tech-filled cars. However, incidents like the current one keep adding blemishes to this image. The lack of redressal makes it worse for prospective customers. Tesla has long been notorious for failing to accept and fix issues on their cars.
Companies like Hyundai, Audi, Chevrolet, and NIO have issued recalls for ensuring that their cars are not in danger of catching fire spontaneously. Tesla has always maintained that their cars are the safest cars manufactured. Yet such incidents keep persisting.
An over-reliance on technology?
Since its inception, Tesla has been at the forefront of putting unreal levels of technology in their cars. From the spartan, screen intensive interiors to the brilliant Autopilot system, Teslas are tech fests. These fests are keep getting more and more loaded with time. However, there can be some problems due to this. Not just Tesla, but all automakers are guilty of this: the increasing amounts of tech are making cars unsafe. 10 years ago, the maximum amount of tech that a car would offer was a touchscreen infotainment system with built-in GPS functioning. Since then, with the advancement of tech and the need to outdo one another, companies are loading their respective vehicles with technology.
Android Auto and Apple Carplay were some of the first such features. Instead of connecting your phones via Bluetooth, an app in your phone would do that for you. This made the connection more seamless and increased the functionality of that system. Then carmakers felt the need to make the interiors look more modern. And then came the screens. Today, in almost every new car, there is at least one touchscreen. While the tech geeks love this, it is absolutely dangerous. The logic is simple: with a physical button, over time, the positions get committed to muscle memory. However, this doesn’t happen with a touchscreen. A screen requires the operator to pay complete attention to it. This means that the driver must take his eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds.
Why is this dangerous?
At the speed of 60 mph (100 kph), a car covers 441 feet (134 m). For reference, an American football field is 360 feet (110 m). And let me assure you that it is not safe to take one’s eyes off the road for even 10 m at those speeds, let alone 110 m. The safety provided by your car becomes immaterial at that point. The faster you go, the worse the outcome could be. To add to this, the newest innovations in the Model S Plaid take things further ahead. The yoke steering, the touch-operated doors, and the lack of any sort of gear-shifter all make the car look cooler. However, each and every one of these features contribute to making the car less safe. The gearbox controls being bundled in the touchscreen are obviously dangerous. The yoke steering’s lack of sufficient positions to grip is fairly dangerous as well. And in the end, the electronically operated doors can fail like in the abovementioned case.
In case of the incident that is mentioned above, the owner has requested Tesla to stop the production of the Plaid till a reason is found for this fire. While stopping production might not be the best idea, it is necessary to conduct a thorough investigation. As for the other things, unfortunately, we are looking dead set on a path of technological overload. Hopefully, a logical overload will happen soon enough and set us free.