“The butler did it”, right? At least in books. If we were talking about fires, the sentence would probably be “the EV did it”. This is what we can see in all recent reports in which an electric car happens to be involved. Take this case as an example, reported by the Los Angeles Daily News: a 2-story house in Toluca Lake caught fire last Saturday (June 29). There is no mention whatsoever on what has caused the problem, but the title states that a “BMW electric car” burned. It was an i3, for the record. And, as you may guess, it is probably the main suspect.
The fire was reported at 12:19 AM and demanded 19 minutes for 46 firefighters to put it out. According to the article, we can understand the fire started at the garage and damaged “other vehicles”, among them a Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG, seen on the video. The i3 is reported to have been heavily damaged. In the video, we can hear someone close to the camera saying the fire started as “a car fire”.
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Anyway, the images show the left side of the BMW surprisingly whole. The tires seem to be intact. Perhaps because the firefighters managed to extinguish the fire quickly. Perhaps because something other than the EV was the cause and the i3 was solely affected by it. Another video seems to wrongly say a “Tesla SUV” was also involved in the blaze. The hypothetical Model X could be hiding in the garage, but people commenting think it is a wrong reference to the BMW i3, which is not an SUV nor a Tesla, and ask the author to correct it. Without proper information, all we have are the images. And they show just the i3 and the SL 55. The LA Fire Department, in its Facebook page, states the firefighters found “two vehicles well involved in fire”:
Would they be the Mercedes and the BMW? Were there more vehicles involved? “Other vehicles” makes us think of the SL 55 and another one, at least. If you have any more information on what happened, drop us a line in the comments.
The suspicion on EV’s safety has increased lately due to videos showing a Model S and a Nio ES8 burning to a crisp in China, as well as other reported fires. To be fair, not without reason: lithium is very flammable and reactive. Batteries based on this material have also caused problems for Boeing and its 787 Dreamliner model.
There are many ongoing research projects on better and cheaper materials for batteries. Until then, we’ll probably face more situations like this. And people saying that “the EV did it”, an issue EV automakers have to address very urgently.