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More Trouble For Tesla – It’s Official This Time

basil_hallwardMay 11, 2018, 7:32:55 PM
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from Original Boggart Blog

Those who hailed Tesla founder Elon Musk as the New Messiah, the technological miracle worker who was going to be saviour of the planet will be crying into their vegan corn flakes this morning as Tesla’s woes multiply.

Only days after two teens were killed in a “horrific” Model S crash in Fort. Lauderdale, Florida, when the two 18-year-olds were immolated after being trapped in their burning vehicles, the USA’s National Transport Safety Board, alarmed perhaps that this is the latest in a series on incidents in which Tesla cars displayed their tendency to spontaneously combust, has launched an investigation into the incident.


The Tesla wreck. Image: Sun Sentinel


The probe comes two months after Tesla and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board were at loggerheads over the board’s investigation into a deadly, March 23 crash in Mountain View, California involving a Tesla vehicle on Autopilot, will be mainly focused on “electric vehicle battery fire” as Elektrek reports that batteries from the other crash under investigation reignited days after the accident.

The NTSB issued a statement announcing their investigation into the crash. NTSB Chairman Robert S. Sumwalt, on whom Elon Musk recently hung up, commented:

“NTSB has a long history of investigating emerging transportation technologies, such as lithium ion battery fires in commercial aviation, as well as a fire involving the lithium ion battery in a Chevrolet Volt in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition, the NTSB is currently investigating a fire involving the transportation of hydrogen gas for fuel cell vehicles. The goal of these investigations is to understand the impact of these emerging transportation technologies when they are part of a transportation accident.”

The NTSB sent 4 investigators to Florida and will “primarily focus on electric vehicle battery fire, including fire department activities and towing operations.”

The second Tesla safety probe this year comes on the back of news that the Mountain View Fire Department shared its report about the aftermath of the fatal Tesla Model X accident in Mountain View with other fire departments, which indicates they suspect serious problems with Tesla cars. That is now also under NTSB investigation.

In the report (published via KTVU), the fire department said that they monitored the battery pack and it reignited days after the March 23 accident, with Mountain View Fire Chief Juan Diaz commenting:

“In this particular case, six days later, the temperature inside those cells increased to the point of ignition. That’s why the car reignited. You have stored energy that is frankly unstable.

Think of a nuclear meltdown in which the plutonium rods spontaneously combust over and over as there is no way to cool them sufficiently. It’s kinda like that.”

Amusingly, Tesla recommends using “large amounts of water” to extinguish a battery fire in its vehicles (water is not recommenedd for extinguishing electrical fires) and using a thermal imaging camera to monitor the battery for at least one hour after it is found to be completely cooled:

“If the high voltage battery catches fire, is exposed to high heat, or is bent, twisted, cracked, or breached in any way, use large amounts of water to cool the battery. DO NOT extinguish with a small amount of water. Always establish or request an additional water supply.”

More appropriately, the company also offers online training for fire departments about what steps to take when dealing with its vehicles after a crash. Effing long ones, we would guess.

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