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Old 10-03-2013, 01:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Lithium Ion Rears its ugly head in a Tesla S

Lithium Ion batteries catch fire in a Tesla s

Tesla car fire worries investors - CSMonitor.com

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Old 10-03-2013, 09:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Talking

I believe it is best to wait until we get a bit more information on the cause.
The news media is on edge concerning Lithium batteries with the past reported battery fires in cars and aeroplanes.

My wife laughed when she heard the 'negative' (no pun intended) press this has received.

"How many other cars detect a problem and tell you to pull over and stop."

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Old 10-03-2013, 11:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I expect people will get overly excited about this, when they really shouldn't... Nobody gets excited when a gasoline ICE car catches fire ... well, probably the owner does, but it's not a big story when it happens. (No "gasoline rears its ugly head" stories)

Quote:
Cars catch fire on the highway surprisingly often, 187,500 times in 2011 in fact. There are a bit more than 250 million registered vehicles in the U.S., giving any car approximately a 1 in 1500 chance of being on fire in a given year.
Yes, Teslas Can Catch Fire But Keeping Cool Is In Order - Forbes
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Tesla Model S, a collision with unknown metallic object...

...may have started the fire and again stoked the fears; the fire hazard of high-capacity batteries and crash survivability. Tesla's stock take the first hit.




...the NHTSA will not investigate. They can't, they're shutdown.

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Old 10-03-2013, 12:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ConnClark View Post
Lithium Ion batteries catch fire in a Tesla s...
...after a large metal object directly hits the battery pack.
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I do not believe this car gave a warning. I just saw this last night:



I hope that everything works out for those involved.
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Any form of energy storage is potentially dangerous.
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NachtRitter View Post
I expect people will get overly excited about this, when they really shouldn't... Nobody gets excited when a gasoline ICE car catches fire ... well, probably the owner does, but it's not a big story when it happens. (No "gasoline rears its ugly head" stories)
I have a gasoline car that has caught on fire 3 times since I have owned it. I can still drive it and it didn't require a hazmat team to clean it up afterward. The point is you can put a gasoline fire out quickly and easily.

Lithium ion batteries are particularly dangerous. You almost always have a big fire with them because the electrical energy discharges through the burning area feeding the flames. When they catch fire they spew toxic fumes. They also don't like it when you try to put them out with water. Other battery chemistries don't have this problem


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Old 10-03-2013, 03:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The video shows pure lithium, that's not what is inside the battery.
Pure sodium reacts the same, but for instance salt (sodium chloride) is fairly safe. It is not the raw elements but what they are attached to that make up the properties. The whole chemistry so to speak.

But Lithium Ion has weaknesses; it can overheat when overcharged or exposed to extreme heat or discharging, like what might happen if you cut open the battery pack and short some cells, what apparently is what happened in the stricken Model S.
Had it used LiFePO4 cells that would not have happened. Those cells won't burn even when mistreated.

Good for you that you could save your car from destruction by fire 3 times, If you ran petrol instead of diesel or if the tank were torn open and that caught fire, to compare it to what happened to the Model S, you would not have been able to.

That an EV fire should not be put out with water is mainly because of the electricity, not the chemistry of the battery. The power should cut off in an accident, but when the pack itself gets damaged really badly there is nothing to fall back on. Better be safe and use only extinguishers suited for electrical fires.

Petrol fires don't get easily put out by water too. The water tends to sink below the petrol, making that spread faster. It may even cause an explosion when it hits something hot; the steam stirs up the liquid petrol, etc. That is why car fire extinguishers often use powder; to trap all fluids and absorb the heat giving off non-burnable gases.

I've seen a car burn out during the rush hour when I was young. The fire started at the engine bay but spread all over in about 15 seconds, and the gas tank exploded about 30 seconds later in a gigantic fireball. The heat from that was immense. Several people who watched the incident from about a 15 meter distance got first and second degree burns. Never mind the damage to other cars, trees, lamp posts and houses nearby.
No battery can create that much havoc.
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Last edited by RedDevil; 10-03-2013 at 04:01 PM..
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It isn't just cars that can catch fire either. There are large quantities of fuel moved around by pipelines, road tankers and rail tankers. Some of each these have all caught fire.

When that happens it's much worse than a single electric vehicle fire. Wasn't there a fairly recent example in Canada - rail - that wiped out an entire town centre? That type of fire would disappear with electric vehicles replacing those gas powered ones.

Liquid fuels in particular tend to spread the fire with the flow of liquid. I assume a battery fire will always remain pretty much localised near the vehicle.

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