UPDATE: Tesla Spokesperson: Model S “Absolutely Was Not” the Cause of a Garage Fire in California
On November 15, a fire occurred in a residential garage on the campus of the University of California-Irvine.
The fire damaged the garage, its contents and a Tesla Model S. Fortunately, no persons were injured.
While the exact cause of the fire remains unknown, Tesla spokesperson Liz Jarvis-Shean says definitively that the Tesla Model S was not the cause of the fire:
“We looked into the incident. We can say it absolutely was not the car, the battery or the charging electronics.”
“The cable was fine on the vehicle side. All the damage was on the wall side.
“A review of the car’s logs showed that the battery had been charging normally, and there were no fluctuations in temperature or malfunctions within the battery or the charge electronics.”
However, the responding fire department thinks the Model S may have caused the fire.
As Reuters reports:
“While Tesla Motors Inc maintains that the fire was not related to the car or its charging system, the Orange County Fire Authority said the Tesla-supplied charging system or the connection at the electricity panel on the wall of the garage of a single-family home could have caused the fire.”
Notice how Reuters makes use of the word could.
Reuters adds that a report from the fire authority states:
“The fire occurred as a result of an electrical failure in the charging system for an electric vehicle.”
“The most probable cause of this fire is a high resistance connection at the wall socket or the Universal Mobile Connector from the Tesla charging system.”
Reuters then flips back to uncertainty, stating “The report also emphasizes that the cause of the fire is unclear.”
The Model S was overnight charging in the residential garage on the night of November 14. The fire was noticed by the owner at approximately 3 am. The owner called the fire department. Fire crews arrive almost immediately and quickly extinguished the fire.
UPDATE: Official Tesla statement (via Jalopnik) added below:
There was a fire at the wall socket where the Model S was plugged in, but the car itself was not part of the fire. The cable was fine on the vehicle side; the damage was on the wall side. Our inspection of the car and the battery made clear that neither were the source and were in fact functioning normally after the incident. In addition, a review of the car’s logs showed that the battery had been charging normally, and there were no fluctuations in temperature or malfunctions within the battery or the charge electronics.
All of the above information was provided to the journalists and editors at Reuters responsible for the article. It is therefore disappointing that they would choose to publish as “news” a misleading article about an event that occurred more than a month ago that was not caused by the car and that was already covered by the Orange County Register. It appears that their objective was simply to find some way to put the words “fire” and “Tesla” in the same headline. The journalists and editors who created the story have patently ignored hundreds of deaths and thousands of serious injuries unequivocally caused by gasoline car fires, instead choosing to write about a garage fire where there were no injuries and the cause was clearly not the car.
This latest update seems to confirm what we believed to be the case. The Reuters report was, at best, questionable.