Another Tesla has gone up in flames while charging, this time a white Model Y that was plugged in just outside a garage and house in Maple Glen, Pennsylvania. The vehicle was badly burnt and the fire had started spreading to the nearby garage; had firefighters come any later, the garage and house would have been much more severely affected.
Little is known right now about what exactly happened, but according to 6ABC Action News, the fire reportedly started in the back of the vehicle and then quickly spread. The vehicle was plugged in and most likely charging at the time, which seems to be the time when these electric vehicles are catching fire most frequently.
This particular fire is currently under investigation and no cause has been officially announced. Back in 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said no to a petition asking for an in-depth, formal investigation of the Tesla battery management software, in order to find a link between recently updated software and the battery fire issue.
However, the NHTSA said no, partly because most complaints about this came from outside the United States - the fires seemed much more common in China than in the US and they seemed to be most common among vehicles that were frequently fast charged and then quickly discharged, although no actual link was ever established.
Right now, it’s not clear if Tesla knows what the issue is exactly. It could either be caused by software, or it could also be caused by an actual physical defect somewhere in the battery, either from the factory or one that appears over time possibly in frequently Supercharged Teslas. And yet this latest fire from Pennsylvania occurred while the vehicle was plugged in outside a garage, so it was not being fast-charged at the time.
There are other theories as to what might be the cause, one of which being that it occurs in vehicles whose battery has been kept at a low state of charge for prolonged periods, although no clear evidence that this is the case has actually been provided. And even though the NHTSA said no to the petition to formally investigate the fires, it did say they will still be analyzed in order to search for the cause.