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Are the Model S battery fires deliberate?

I think that a metal object requires very specific and uncommon physical attributes to be able to breach the Model S battery tray during a collision. A common roadway debris object probably won't penetrate the battery tray. For the two Model S fires of recent weeks that resulted from collision with roadway debris, both objects were thick steel members with a curved profile: A curved semi trailer bracket and a trailer hitch. The thickness provides mass and strength and the profile allows one end to dig into the asphalt for purchase while the other end is forced into the battery tray cover. It's also likely that the object needs to be a particular size to be effective in puncturing the battery: Too small and the object will just roll as the car passes over, too large and the object will probably slide.
I am suspicious of the probability that two such special metal objects happened to be involved in Tesla collisions in such short time frame because I believe that such objects are rare compared to the number of Teslas presently on the road: Model S vehicles are far outnumbered by other cars. How is it possible that a Model S hit one these very unique objects before a number of other cars did? How is it that the object was on the road long enough for the rare Model S to collide with it before a number of cell phone calls from other drivers would have prompted the Highway patrol to remove the object?

The Model S is a disruptive vehicle, and Élon’s plans for a mass market "Gen III" Tesla EV is especially a threat to revenue streams in a trillion dollar oil market. Consider that there are entire nations essentially 100% dependant on oil revenue. Are these, and other interests, such as car companies dependant on ICE service revenue, passively waiting on the sidelines watching Tesla build cars that are widely viewed as superior to conventional fuel powered cars?

I propose that there is a possibility that the collision fires could be result of intentional efforts to discredit Tesla. It's possible that an interest group acquired and studied Model S cars for ways to cause harm in a media propaganda campaign. A battery fire is a perfect outcome. From this study, a collection of "plausible" metal objects could be acquired such that they could be placed in the roadway to cause a battery fire resultant from a Model S collision. This is not an implausible task considering the financial reserves available to entities that will be adversely affected by the success of Tesla. Remember the Tucker.

naw, I think it's just a perfect storm. Now, that being said, future similar episodes might arouse my suspicion.

There's a phenomenon known as "Poisson clumping" or "Poisson bursts" that could explain this. Randomly distributed events tend to appear to be grouped together (by human perception) rather than uniformly distributed as one might erroneously expect. My guess is that it's bad luck more than a conspiracy.

Are we getting paranoid?

I don't know if I would call it paranoid. Two major accidents by two different people with the last name within a few miles of the Nissan Leaf plant?

No more outrageous than many other claims that have been made here.

No.

To logicalthinker: Yes, we'll see if any more fires happen. One fact that caught my attention with the most recent fire is that the driver was returning home from work. This probably means that he was on a predicable timeframe as to when he would be on a particular road for his commute. This would allow someone to be positioned to slide an object onto the road as the Tesla approached, probably near the known highway exit ramp that would be used so that the car would be in the righthand lane.

I think that it already may be the case that the authorities will force Tesla to add more battery shielding with a recall. This will be costly and it might neuter the car's performance and range if it involves a heavy bsteel plate vs the aluminum one. Another couple more fires will certainly enforce such an act. It might even cause a ban in certain countries. For example, the UK is so safety concious that they warn TV viewers on the BBC that a following segment will contain flash photography (I suppose for people prone to seizures).

This is silly. ICEs are totalled by running over metal debris in the road every day. Hundreds of ICEs catch fire every day. This is (unfortunately) a normal risk of driving any vehicle. We're adding hundreds of Tesla's to the road every week. Of course there will be more accidents as time goes on. There will even be fatalities eventually. After a while the press will get tired of reporting every event. In the meantime, lets all keep calm and carry on. No need for conspiracy theories. Just continue to share the good news of the Tesla revolution with everyone who asks.

I think if there's even the slightest hint of a mandatory recall Tesla will very quickly carry out a voluntary recall as they did with the rear sit fixator issue to stay on top of the media cycle. I could see them adding a thicker metal collision tray to the underside of the battery pack then adjust up the suspension slightly mechanically, or with a software adjustment in the case of powered suspension models, so that the ground clearance is unchanged.

to RanjitC: no, I am generally not a paranoid person. But I do think that that powerful entities don't want a mass market compelling EV to be built.
You can search Google to see that Chevron bought up the patents for "large format NiMH cells" and sued and shut down the Panasonic factory that built the only EV feasible cells at that time. these cells were used in the first Toyota RAV4 EV and also the later GM EV1 cars.
To me, this looks like blatent supression.
It's ironic that Panasonic now makes the lithium cells for Tesla :-)

I think the larger corporations are behind this.

"This is silly. ICEs are totalled by running over metal debris in the road every day".

Actually this is my question. Is there any statistics available about how typical a situation is and what is a typical outcome of a similar situation with ICE.

Tesla was able to leverage its unique design to grab the palm of the safest car... In safety tests developed for ICE cars. But now, the question arises is Tesla's underbelly it's Achilles heel? Does Tesla need special test scenarios on top of typical for ICE ones?

Those are questions, which will have to be answered.

It doesn't matter who's behind this. I am sure, Tesla will respond and will come out of this only stronger.

In general, everybody knows, cars are among the least safe transportation mean. Along with its own Tesla safety crash scenarios Tesla should come up with general stats, comparing ICE cars to aviation and to Tesla cars.

Despite my earlier posts about the little annoying aspects of my MS (noises and squeaks) which I am getting impatient about, these big issues are the ones I think we need to have patience for and stand by Tesla.

Bottom line is that all these folks walked away from massive fires without a scratch and the passenger compartments were completely protected. To me this proves they are remarkably safe cars. Do they need more protection or underside shielding? Maybe. Let them and the NTSA figure it out. Meanwhile, as I keep hearing "Do you feel safe" or "have you heard about the Tesla fires" over and over again... I'm going to let them know I feel completely safe in my (slightly squeaky) MS. And I come across highway and road debris every day like you wouldn't believe.

CapZap;
Wrong. 1 near Seattle, 1 in Mexico, 1 in Tennessee. All different names I expect, though a & b are not revealed yet. Why do you think there were 2 in Tennessee? It's one incident. Relax.

This whole speculation is lunatic, IMO. The logistics are far beyond belief.

Want a link?

Brian, two in Murfreesboro, same last name. One was apparently drunk female driver hitting a pole, second was the doctor vs hitch. First name is often a Latvian boy's name so it may be two different drivers from the same family. But the conspiracy theorists are still nuts.

Those are the only fires. Found the utility pole report again, though, and you're right. Same name. Same medical practice, as far as I can tell. No idea what, if anything, that means.

Yes.

Companies that make billions need Tesla to fail.
http://youtu.be/4zUH4Tks694

Hi All,

Some interesting links that demonstrate corporate suppression of disruptive technology, and a somewhat off-topic example of corporate greed...

EV battery suppression:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_encumbrance_of_large_automotive_NiMH...

Same topic, a little more sensationalized:
http://www.ev1.org/nimhsup.htm

Corporate (Enron) conspiracy that successfully forced higher electrical rates in California:
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-620626.html

It is not difficult to consider that the Model S fires are deliberate.

"Only the paranoids survive."
I see tow hitches attached to vehicles all the time. I ran over one when I was a teen with my Firebird which had very low ground clearance.
The other day while driving in the HOV lane at a very spirited pace, jersey barriers to the left and right, no room for evasive maneuvers, I would've no choice but to hit anything that the car ahead of me had cleared on the road.
The hitch that I ran over with the Firebird damaged the "k" frame which cost me a few grand to replace.

@July10Models

Does that mean that I should wear my tin foil hat with pride? I have been concerned about going out in public with it on.

I have been looking for designer tin foil hats, but no one has tapped into that market yet.

There's medication for thoughts like this.

Captain Zap,
Yes, you may wear your foil hat with pride, but remember that we must thank the ingenuity of Roman engineering for this privilege:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/21534314@N02/4942701858/

It isn't paranoia if they're REALLY AFTER YOU!

@CaptainZap

I like the aluminum foil hats that look like a Hersey Kiss.

Would it be paranoid to wonder if that was the same car that sheared off the telephone pole and that the car may have been repaired and put back into service?

If it is the same car, could there have been previously undetected damage that compromised the car's protection?

i don't think oil company executives are smart enough to think of damaging the battery pack to save their business but now that its happened, I'm sure they will make as much of this as they can, maybe even strategically spreading caltrops throughout California to induce more battery damage.
Be strong.

If the larger interests didn't create the incidents, they surely have an interest in exploiting/dispersing it through every means available - SA commentors are notorious for stating rumor and innuendo along with speculation as fact - most often there is a Tesla supporter to challenge and respond - I for one am completely satisfied with my S and should something happen to it I would buy another one in an instant, as I am sure most of us would -

@Dallas

I realized that I already have the Hershey's Kiss tin foil hat.
I'm not kidding... I'd post a picture of it for you but I am too paranoid to use a photo hosting site.

Stop with the conspiracy theories and go out and drive your cars! LOL


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