Will we soon see a fix?
Even though electric cars catch fire at a much lower rate than gasoline cars do, a recent spate of Tesla battery fires that took place in rapid succession put doubts in the minds of potential customers, especially buyers in China given that one fire took place on the mainland and another went down in what’s technically Chinese territory. The string of fires included four separate incidents where Model S sedans went up in flames while parked, all within the span of a month and a half, with the first taking place in Shanghai, the second near Tesla’s headquarters in San Francisco, the third in Hong Kong, and the fourth at a Supercharger station in Belgium.
The blaze in Shanghai was the one that touched off concerns given that it was the first of the fires and the most viral since the Model S had been caught on camera exploding into flames for seemingly no reason.
And though Tesla rolled out a software update to aid in the battery’s thermal management when parked to prevent future fires, the company obviously wanted to dig deeper and see if it could find out why its cars were going up in flames. And so did the Chinese government for that matter, which ordered Tesla to look into the case and see if it could find a cause.
According to Reuters, Tesla now has finally wrapped up a joint investigation and has a marginally better idea of what happened. The company took to its Weibo social media account to report that the investigation team, which included American and Chinese experts, had finished analyzing the Model S that caught fire in Shanghai and discovered that the problem started with a single battery module at the front of the Model S.
However, Tesla never went on to explain why or how that module caught on fire, only saying that it didn’t find any defects in its system. The report is only the team’s preliminary findings, meaning they could find out more soon and put out an update.
It’s worth noting, however, that Tesla isn’t alone when it comes to these problems. One of the automaker’s local Chinese competitors, EV manufacturer Nio, has said that some battery modules in its cars are prone to catching on fire and has recalled 4,803 units after three of its vehicles recently caught fire in China.