Since the very first electric vehicles, EVs have had disproportionate scrutiny when it comes to battery fires.
Electric vehicle fires, no matter the circumstance or isolated the incidence appears to be, garner worldwide media attention.
One recent example is a brand new Model S Plaid that caught fire in Pennsylvania. The incident garnered sensational media coverage claiming a Tesla was driving down the street autonomously while it was on fire.
Like most EV fires, this one also disappeared into the ether after a brief media circus. However, negative media coverage associated with battery fires still poses a real risk to EV brands. Reports of spontaneous battery fire have a significant chance of landing a death blow to any aspiring electric vehicle manufacturer.
The story of Fisker, which was Tesla’s biggest competition at the start of the last decade is a cautionary tale. The vehicle, after being announced as the original “Tesla Killer” went on to receive several celebrity endorsements.
However, a string of spontaneous battery fires coupled with bad luck has ended the company before it was able to get going.
As a result, all EV manufacturers try to squash any rumors of battery fires as soon as possible. And now Elon Musk also appears to be trying to distance Tesla from spontaneous battery fires that have been reported on GM’s Chevy Bolt EVs.
General Motors is currently conducting a recall of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle due to fires caused by the battery pack.
The recall affects 2017 to 2019 model years and is the second recall for the vehicle, following one issued in November 2020.
According to GM, the battery fires seem to arise when the vehicle is charged fully. As a result, GM has advised owners of affected vehicles to limit their maximum charge to 90% and make sure the batteries are not drained to below 60 miles range.
GM has also instructed owners to not leave their vehicles charging overnight and says “out of an abundance of caution, customers should continue to park their vehicles outside immediately after charging.”
Even though statistically EVs are much less prone to vehicle fires than internal combustion vehicles, such kinds of warnings will undoubtedly make prospective customers fearful and perhaps hold off their purchase.
Related news: Tesla Model S Vehicles are Delayed
And Elon Musk seems to be trying to distance Tesla from the Chevy Bolt news. Responding to a Teslarati article about the Chevy Bolt recall, Musk said “large pouch cells undergo significant volumetric changes at high state of charge.”
Large pouch cells undergo significant volumetric changes at high state of charge.Even so, fire risk is probably less than gasoline cars. There are over 200,000 combustion engine car fires every year in US alone. It’s literally in the name.https://t.co/uJPlB3IbzQ— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 24, 2021
Tesla famously only uses cylindrical cells to power its vehicles. One of the reasons Tesla does not use large pouch cells despite their ease of forming into a battery pack is that, as Musk mentioned above, their expansion when charged.
And Musk by mentioning this key difference seems to be hinting that Tesla vehicles don’t suffer from the same issues faced by the Chevy Bolt.
We will keep you posted if more information comes out regarding the Chevy Bolt recall and if Elon Musk gives us more information on how the Chevy Bolt batteries differ from cells in Tesla vehicles. Make sure to visit our site torquenews.com/electric-vehicles regularly for the latest updates.
So what do you think? Are you more afraid of fires in EVs than internal combustion vehicles? Also, do you think battery issues can affect Tesla? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.
For more information check out: Tesla Planning To Start Production At Giga Texas With Cybertruck, Not Model Y Also, see Tesla Model 3 Draws Comparisons To A Boat After Fording Through A Flood
Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.