Tesla Model S.
Tesla Model S.

Another Tesla Model S unexpectedly catches fire

THE San Francisco fire department is investigating the latest fire involving a Tesla electric car, which appeared to occur randomly in the middle of the night when the car was parked.

The department tweeted that it had responded to an emergency call at 12.20am involving a smoking Tesla Model S in an underground carpark.

Crucially, the fire crews made the observation that the car was not being recharged at the time.

Tesla S 2019 Tesla S model, available in Australia. Electric vehicle (eV). Picture supplied by Tesla for editorial use, April 2019.
Tesla S 2019 Tesla S model, available in Australia. Electric vehicle (eV). Picture supplied by Tesla for editorial use, April 2019.

"Crews located a Tesla Model S, NOT plugged in, with smoke observed near the right rear tire," the tweet explained. "The fire was extinguished with no damage to the building."

The San Francisco fire is the latest incident involving a Tesla apparently spontaneously catching fire following the spectacular barbecue that incinerated a Model S in a garage in China two weeks ago.

Video footage of that earlier incident showed smoke emerging from beneath the car before it violently erupts into flames.

Tesla is currently investigating the Shanghai fire and responded to the San Francisco fire saying it was "always learning from our fleet".

As it does with controversy surrounding its autonomous vehicles, Tesla was hard on the offensive claiming its cars were less likely to burn than regular vehicles.

"Tesla cars are approximately 10 times less likely to experience a fire than gas cars, which are involved in about 200,000 cases of fire per year in North America and well over one million worldwide," the company reportedly said in a statement.

Electric cars are 10 times less likely to catch fire than petrol powered vehicles according to Tesla.
Electric cars are 10 times less likely to catch fire than petrol powered vehicles according to Tesla.

"Based on our work investigating the causes of car fires, we know that there are many external factors that can cause a fire to occur, including building fires, vehicle damage, improper maintenance by unauthorised mechanics, aftermarket modifications, improper vehicle charging, and even arson. In this instance, we have not received any information to indicate that this fire was a result of any issues with the car itself."

Cars catching fire is not a new phenomenon. Regular petrol- and diesel-fuelled vehicles can catch fire due to the highly flammable liquids in their fuel tanks.

The Tesla in question was not on charge when it caught fire according to the San Francisco fire department.
The Tesla in question was not on charge when it caught fire according to the San Francisco fire department.

However, that tends to happen after the vehicle has been damaged, usually in a crash.

Teslas have also caught fire after crashes, although the concern with these latest issues is that they appear to have happened with no external influence and when the cars are not being used.

The news comes within days of Tesla tapping share market investors for upwards of $3.5 billion in additional funding to keep the struggling car maker financially afloat as it battles dropping sales, quarterly losses and the required investments to develop promised vehicles, including the Model Y SUV and much-hyped Roadster.


Have a beer and learn science in the pub

Have a beer and learn science in the pub

Have a beer and learn science at the pub

OPINION: Act now and make a change

OPINION: Act now and make a change

OPINION: Lismore City Council mayor Isaac Smith

Nurses and students to lead climate strike

Nurses and students to lead climate strike

Strike to descend on Magellan Street in Lismore next week