Preliminary Report Released On Spontaneous Tesla Battery Fire


Cause still unknown.

Back in June, a Tesla Model S caught fire while, seemingly, just driving down the street minding its own business. There have been a few other fires involving the premium electric sedan in the past, but those typically involved some sort of collision — usually a very violent one in which the battery pack’s integrity was compromised. This one, though, was different and it raised some eyebrows.

Chelsea Handler, who is apparently a celebrity, tweeted (embedded below) out a warning that early owners should beware, saying she would not drive hers again (she later said she traded her car in). Chevrolet, sensing the opportunity to do a good deed/get some press, offered the owner of the Car-BQ a loaner Bolt. Finally, the National Transportation Safety Board announced they were sending a specialist over to observe the automaker’s examination of the vehicle, though at the time also said it wasn’t launching a formal investigation into the situation. This has changed and they have now released a preliminary summary of the incident.

The report details the sequence of events, from the time the driver of the Model S was flagged down until it was taken to a Tesla facility, had its battery removed, drained of charge, then reassembled. It also states that, “The NTSB was provided with information from the initial inspection and participated in the subsequent inspection.”

As it is a preliminary report, the NTSB is careful to point out that the information is “subject to change and may contain errors.” If you were hoping for the satisfaction of learning the probable cause, you will have to wait a bit longer. The agency goes on to say, “It will be supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation. No determination of probable cause is made in this report.”


Source: NTSB

Categories: General

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30 Comments on "Preliminary Report Released On Spontaneous Tesla Battery Fire"

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Man, that was a super-informative article..

But you know that thankfully the three little girls weren’t in the car at the moment. That’s accuracy, dude.

So, the purpose of this “news” article is to tell us there is no news.

You’re missing the point, shorters are throwing the kitchen sink, time is up.

It’s news. It’s just non-news in that the report has no new content.

“Chelsea Handler, who is apparently a celebrity”
Are you mad at her or something?

Had to google her. Still doesn’t mean anything to me.

I’ve heard her name before. I just have never seen her. It says she’s a comedian on her Twitter bio and she likes to post about politics.

Not mad at her, I just don’t know her. (I don’t own a TV)

Chelsea is C list celebrity. Has her own talk show on Netflix and a sitcom she created on NBC way back. Success is success and it should be knock off

And of course spontaneous fires happen every day to combustion powered vehicles:

If they are not Tesla they don’t count and never happened.

Are you complaining a site such as IEVs doesn’t cover ICE vehicles? I mean what are they thinking?!

ZING!! (missed the point..)

Huh? I didn’t know that Chelsea Handler’s twitter feed was also an EV site.

This in not directed at jamcl3 in particular but I’m getting tired of this response. Yes, ICE vehicle fires happen and YES they are investigated. And YES safety recalls are mandated when necessary.

If this happened to a FCEV, would you want it investigated?

Surely you’re not suggesting that all ICE vehicle fires are investigated?

“U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 152,300 automobile fires per year in 2006-2010. These fires caused an average of 209 civilian deaths, 764 civilian injuries, and $536 million in direct property damage.” (source below)

I am highly doubtful that all or even most of those fires which don’t result in serious injury or death are “investigated” by anybody except an insurance adjuster.

My uncle-in-law was pumping gas into his brand new Camaro a couple of years ago when a static spark caused a small fire on the side of his car. He sprinted inside and asked for a fire extinguisher which they handed him from behind the counter and he sprinted back out to his car and put out the fire. Needless to say the NTSB did not come to investigate.

“Surely you’re not suggesting that all ICE vehicle fires are investigated?”


“Everyone with a child taking the school bus needs to be aware of this. I have one that will not be riding a school bus again.”

Some demi-celebrity needs to tweet that out.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I wonder if she traded in for a Gas car. I see Car-b-que’s on the side of the road all the time.

I ran through her feed and found one clip filmed inside what might be their new car. I couldn’t identify it, but it’s definitely not a Tesla.

Pretty sure I posted when this first came out that they’ll find some damage to the battery. Likely a puncture from hitting something. I stand by that prediction.

Modern batteries don’t spontaneously catch on fire. Some external action is required to initiate thermal runaway.

That’s not necessarily true. If there was a manufacturing defect in one of the cells, or a malfunction in the BMS, it could indeed spontaneously catch on fire. (More likely during charging, though…)

That’s what happened with the infamous Galaxy Note 7 batteries, among others.

Tesla’s battery packs are designed to handle individual cells going bad. That can’t be the only cause of the fire. There had to be some other contributing cause, such as physical damage in a punctured battery pack or a short-circuit inside the pack.

Most previous occurrences of so-called “spontaneous” fires in Tesla cars turned out to be a result of a punctured battery pack. So that is the most likely cause.

Each cylindrical cell in a Tesla pack is connected to the next with a connector that also acts as a fuse and burns through in case of thermal runaway. For these runaway events there is usually multiple cells being damaged simultaneously causing many cells to short at the same time which causes too much heat locally for the active measures to be able to isolate them from the next module. It’s still rare though and usually happens after a catastrophic crash or something large puncturing the protective plate underneath and damaging multiple cells suddenly.

The Model 3 has a new architecture that has even better protective measures so we will likely see very few fires from that pack design.

Maybe Tesla should stop using BMW PCV valves, like those in the 1.4 million cars BMW recalled last year because of the “risk of a fire even when the vehicle is not in use….even when vehicles are unattended” Lots of BMW’s burned down because of this.

I sure hope that if there is a systemic problem, that Tesla finds it and fixes it. But the reality is that any time you store energy, that there WILL be accidental unintended releases of that stored energy. Risk of fire is the number 1 reason for recalls on cars.

From spontaneous hay fires that store energy to power horses, to nuclear reactors powering EV’s, there will always be accidents. EV’s aren’t magically going to rid the world of accidents.

0 quality news.
0 information.
This seems Spanish TV news.

The news is that the NTSB is actually investigating, contrary to the statement they had made originally, and that they have reached the preliminary report stage of their investigation.

I recognize it’s not earth-shattering, but I believe it’s worth being aware of.

Had no idea it was Chelsea Handler. The girl’s career is on the decline and she’s sooper thirsty, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this all weren’t some sort of attention-grabbing scheme. Of all the people that own these cars, it’s odd that this particular one is owned by a “celebrity.”

She didn’t own the car that caught on fire. She just commented on it.