Tesla Model X On Fire In California: Video

DEC 6 2018 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 19

After speeding and crashing into a garage, this Tesla Model X later caught fire.

And yes, we’re aware that this fire occurred back in 2017. However, this new video shows for the first time what occurred after the Model X was moved to outside of the garage. You can find the original video from 2017 at the bottom of this post.

Unlike a gas-powered car fire, an electric vehicle fire may start long after a collision. Thankfully, this was the case when this speeding Tesla Model X driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a residential garage. We have no way of knowing what may have happened if this was an ICE vehicle. There may have been no fire at all, however, if there was a spark, an immediate explosion could have occurred.

As you can see from the video, electric car fires are difficult to extinguish. While they may take some time to start and the process can be slow, dealing with a battery fire requires a significant amount of water and time. In this case, the Tesla hit the structure with such incredible force that a load-bearing beam collapsed and lithium-ion battery cells were launched from the car’s battery pack. Fortunately, the firefighters were able to put the fire out after about an hour and a half, though it re-ignited a few hours later. However, the team was able to extinguish it quickly before it was towed away.

Video Description via Real World Police on YouTube:

Tesla Model X Fire (Lake Forest, California)

At 6:15 pm on August 25th, 2017 a man in his mid-30s driving a Tesla Model X lost control of his car and crashed into the garage of a single-family, single story home, taking out a load-bearing beam and starting a raging fire.

Approximately 45 minutes to an hour after the initial knockdown and removal of the vehicle firefighters noticed the vehicle beginning to off-gas in a distinct, heavy, manner. A fog-like smoke was emitting from the car. At first firefighters believed that it had the look of a chemical fire, but when the Tesla began to emit an orange, jet-like flame something new was clearly at play.

The Tesla had been traveling at a high rate of speed when it left the road, entering a culvert and violently launching itself into the garage. The impact caused tremendous damage and firefighters reported seeing small lithium ion batteries scattered about. They were dealing with the thermal runaway of the Tesla’s main battery.

A firefighter’s primary tool is water, but water wasn’t cutting it for this fire. And so, one of the firefighters got out their smartphone and looked up Tesla’s guide for emergency responders, which informed them of their two fairly obvious options: put it out with water, or let it burn. The kicker, though was that it could take a LOT of water.

Because this fire was in a residential neighborhood it was decided to try extinguishment, and an attack was prepared. Using two hand lines, firefighters hit the Tesla with very high flow rates for nearly an hour and a half, at which point the fire went out.

With the fire out but risk of re-ignition still present, crews decided to engage their heavy rescue team to lift the vehicle off the ground and block it up so they could have better access to its underside. It was clear that the fire mostly involved the undercarriage of the vehicle and the the battery assembly that makes up the floor in most electric vehicles.

At this point the car sat, comfortably not on fire, for over an hour. But that wasn’t the end, because a few hours later a tow truck arrived to remove the Tesla and it seemed as though just the tilting of the flatbed and putting the car up on the flat bed cause the Tesla to reignite. Fortunately, firefighters were able to get that knocked down fairly quickly. The advantage they had this time was that the vehicle was lifted. They asked the tow truck driver to simply slide it back on the flatbed and tilt it nose down so they would have access to the bottom of the vehicle. From there, they used a couple of pre-connects again with large amounts of water, this time hitting it early and not allowing the Tesla battery to reach a state where it was running away thermally. Firefighters estimate that from this point the fire was extinguished within another 10 to 15 minutes.

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla

Tags: ,

newest oldest most voted
CDspeed

This is why major automakers have been using pouch cells, they’re safer in a crash situation then cylindrical cells. Of course the trade off is energy density, solid state will be better for every electric car when they come to market with greater energy density and safety.

jamcl3

I have never understood how they get higher energy density with cylindrical cells, although it is clearly the case. But how can pouch cells be intrinsically safer? Maybe due to cooling plates between the cells which is maybe also why the pouch cells end up with lower energy density in a pack? I dunno…

zzzzzzzzzz

Other automakers use mostly NMC cells. Tesla wanted to squeeze everything possible out of Li Ion (as it needed it to make what they make), and used NCA, that has marginal stability reputation. NMC energy density only now approaches NCA, and it was too low in 2010.

Non-flammable electrolytes are possible, but energy density is affected. So you will have fires for now, not the first and not the last. Reckless acceleration games don’t help either. It is good nobody died in this case unlike in the incident in Fort Lauderdale.

CDspeed

“Safer in a crash situation” they’re apparently able to take a bit more physical damage. Puncture them, and you’ll get a similar reaction to the one above.

Domenick Yoney

The way in which an anode, cathode, and electrolyte is packaged has no bearing on its flammability. That depends solely on the materials used to construct those elements. That is to say, a pouch cell is just a flammable as a cylindrical cell. Its degree of flammability is a function of its chemical composition.

CDspeed

I’m not saying pouch cells can’t catch fire, just that they’re less susceptible to damage. I’ll have to find the article I read years ago, hopefully it’s still out there.

Clive

Poor X ‼️

Robert Thompson

Kind of had enough of these posts years ago. Why is it only ev’s that get headlining posts if they catch on fire yet ICE’s burn up everyday and it’s no news. There is no such thing as failure free product. Give humans anything and without a doubt, some will find a way, accidentally or on purpose to put it on fire.

Clive

Well this is a EV site ‼️

And it’s a Car-B-Que…

S’mores Anyone ⁉️

M Hovis

Kinda feel the same, Robert. I’m OK with the posting, but I feel the need for extra journalism on the percentage of fires compared to ICEs. Not an extra effort required per article. It is a one time dig into a number that can be included with every fire article. Then it covers both angles, first the news of the fire and secondly, the fact the EV batteries regardless of design, are simply statistically safer. This is very very important. Cylindrical cells may be higher, or it may just be the Tesla effect. What I do know is they are happening less than 1-in-10 compared to ICE fires and this message needs to be reported.

Impartial Observer
M Hovis said: “What I do know is they are happening less than 1-in-10 compared to ICE fires and this message needs to be reported.” Do you have a link to backup your statistic? Some time ago, Elon said that ICE cars were x-times more likely to catch fire than a Tesla. But that was a very misleading statistic since the average age of a Tesla on the road at that time was 2 or 3 years old, while the average age of an ICE on the road is 12 years-old, which means some of those ICE cars are 20+ years old. This skewed the statistic in favor of Tesla, because older cars are more likely to catch fire than newer cars. The older ICE cars have much more wear and tear and ageing of materials (i.e. rubber fuel hoses and plastic insulation on electric wires) that could cause a fire. Likewise, safety and crash standards have improved dramatically over the last two decades. For instance, the gas tank in an ICE is no longer placed behind the rear bumper. In other words, older cars are more likely to catch fire than newer cars. Is there a statistic that compares… Read more »
Dave100e
Go on google and search “car catches fire”. There is always plenty of reports. The reason it gets more attention is three fold. -EV’s are still an emerging technology, and considered new to the general public, so will of course catch their attention more. -Thermal runaway is no joke. Given the choice I’d rather deal with an ICE fire than an EV fire. An ICE fire is generally (but not always) a known quantity, an EV fire is never ever a known quantity. You can put an EV fire out and it will self ignite again a few days later. I even know of test cars that have been buried because the emergency response couldn’t think of an alternative option. -The public needs to be aware of the dangers of an EV compared to an ICE, so sometimes the information is being pushed for awareness, not as criticism. Everyone know that if an ICE catches fire you need to remove yourself asap in case the fumes from the fuel ignite, but people may not understand what to do with an EV fire. I’d argue that 75% of people don’t even know there is such a thing as battery chemistry, never… Read more »
M Hovis

Agree with all of that. People need to know thermal runaway is no joke and very difficult to control. At the same time in the same spirit of information, they need to know that the statistic of it happening to you is so very small. I feel a lot safer flying than driving because of the probability of an accident. Now, if you do experience a plane crash, the probability of fatality goes up. The probability of losing your EV to a fire is a fraction of that of an ICE and that message needs to be reported. As for fatality, the data would suggest that you generally have more time to escape an EV fire. As you say, it is about education. No reason to hide from chemistry and thermal runaway. No reason to hide from the statistical data either.

Kyle

2017?!?!? Its almost 2019. This video is a year and a half old!

2013Volt

This is why power should be restricted on these vehicles. It is unnecessary to allow vehicles on public roads with the power and performance these have. It is then irresponsible to then sell these vehicles to anyone with the money regardless of driving experience.

philip d

Here is a counter example. Watch this gas car immediately catch on fire after the crash. Although a violent crash everyone got up and walked away from this crash only with minor injuries.

https://youtu.be/HG268-r-sdk

Bloggin

Ok, Tesla has gone a long while without any Tesla ‘EV Fire’ stories that scare ICE consumers from EVs. So why, why, why does Insideevs bring up a EV fire from 2 years ago, which just keeps the ‘EV Fire’ concept going in the minds of the general public?

It does not matter that the fire happened 2 years ago, the article is today.

Googling ‘Tesla Fire’ this video is a ‘top story’ from 2 Days Ago!

This HURTS ev adoption!

Why do this???