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Thread: Tesla crash battery reignites 6 days later in tow yard

  1. #1
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    Default Tesla crash battery reignites 6 days later in tow yard

    There are recent news reports that a battery from a Tesla crash has reignited multiple times while in a tow yard, e.g.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diaz
    On the day of the crash, Tesla engineers dismantled about 25 percent of the battery. About five-and-a-half hours after the crash, the fire department determined the Model X was safe enough to be towed away. Mountain View firefighters escorted the tow truck to the yard, in case the battery re-ignited.
    The battery reignited twice in the storage yard within a day of the accident and again six days later on March 29. Two weeks later, in an effort to avoid more fires, the NTSB and Tesla performed a battery draw down to fully de-energize it, Diaz wrote in the memo.
    It's not clear what caused the reignitions - possibly internal shorts festering due to the prior mechanical and thermal stress.

    This is worth keeping in mind when dealing with damaged packs and cells. They can be highly unpredictable. Externally they might appear fine (and possibly even appear to function fine), but they may have internal damage that could lead to thermal runway without warning at some future date. Treat them with extreme caution.

    Note: if the news link is paywalled then you can get past it by refreshing the page then very quickly typing escape a few times (before the paywall popup occurs).

    Last edited by Gauss163; 05-12-2018 at 11:40 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tesla crash battery reignites 6 days later in two yard

    May the driver rest in peace.

    If I remember right, this has happened a couple times before over the last couple of years, resulting in Tesla writing a procedure to share with emergency responders to drain the coolant from battery packs involved in severe crashes so that it could not contribute to shorts internal to the pack but external to the cells.

    I suppose it is still possible damage to the cell to cell connections could also have created shorts even without the coolant present, in addition to the possibility of the cells themselves being damaged by either the impact or heat from the initial fire.

    Stunning amount of damage in the photo. I'm not surprised the battery pack was an ongoing hazard from such a severe crash.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tesla crash battery reignites 6 days later in two yard

    So part of the cost of a Tesla car is the standby team of specialists who respond to fender benders, to make sure the owner does not get sued for burning up the neighborhood? But who do a crappy job?
    Last edited by lumen aeternum; 05-28-2018 at 10:00 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Tesla crash battery reignites 6 days later in two yard

    I don't know what the solution is going to be with electric cars. Gasoline is comparatively easy to prevent burning: just don't let air get to the fuel. But lithium-ion batteries have their own oxidizer and can burn all by themselves, and have just as much energy as a tank of gas. I don't think enclosing them in a fireproof box will contain a fire.

    The solution may just be to prevent the fire spreading while you wait for it to burn itself out. Or drive better, so you don't crash and burst into flames. Maybe autonomous cars will eventually help with that.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tesla crash battery reignites 6 days later in two yard

    Very early on in the 1900s, there were fully electric cars for the absolute wealthy. They were marketed towards ladies, and seemed quite popular. One model in particular was literally shaped like an enclosed Sitting Room with side front & rear fenders. The cars even had charging stations located in several areas of major cities. Almost no one knows that fact.

    As far as electric cars go, it's high time that modern engineers looked at what their engineering ancestors were doing over 100 years ago. They must have been doing something right, considering those early electrics didn't spontaneously burst into flames! Who knows, maybe electric cars are best relegated to use around town or city driving instead of trying to compete with Supercars in terms of performance numbers. And if that's case, there's nothing wrong with that. There's still a huge market out there for such vehicles. Maybe someday electric technology will be at a point where they can make safe electric Supercars. But that day sure as Hell isn't now.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Tesla crash battery reignites 6 days later in two yard

    Quote Originally Posted by Monocrom View Post
    Maybe someday electric technology will be at a point where they can make safe electric Supercars. But that day sure as Hell isn't now.
    Well, electric cars are not absolutely safe. But making them safer than internal combustion cars is good enough.

    And I would need to look at statistics to confirm that but most car-related deaths are probably caused by (a) direct hits in traffic accidents (b) pollution. "battery reignites 6 days later" is interesting but it is not the main problem.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Tesla crash battery reignites 6 days later in two yard

    Quote Originally Posted by repairing_my_headlamp View Post
    "battery reignites 6 days later" is interesting but it is not the main problem [of electric car safety]
    Did someone claim that "is the main problem"? As I said in the OP, I posted it here because it is an instructive example of risks associated with damaged cells.

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