Horror Tesla Crash Houston. Source ABC, Fair Use, Low Resolution Image to Identify the Subject

Horror Autopilot Tesla Crash Kills Two, 30,000 Gallons of Water Before Firefighters Gave Up

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A horror Tesla crash in Houston involving an auto-pilot Tesla car has claimed two lives. According to firefighters, the high energy batteries kept re-igniting – firefighters attempted to douse the battery fire for four hours, pouring 30,000 gallons of water onto the fire, before giving up and letting the fire burn itself out.

2 dead after fiery crash involving self-driving Tesla, authorities said

Monday, April 19, 2021 7:00AM

SPRING, Texas (KTRK) — Two people died in a fiery crash involving a 2019 Tesla Model S and its autopilot functionality while taking it for a test drive on Saturday night, according to authorities.

The flames reportedly took hours to extinguish, and Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said the investigation has led them to believe that there was no one driving the car when the crash occurred.

The crash happened just after 9 p.m. on Hammock Dunes Place in the Carlton Woods Creekside subdivision. The victims were said to have been a 59 and 69-year-old man, however police have not released their names yet.

The batteries on board the Tesla continued to ignite despite efforts to douse the flames, authorities said. It reportedly took around four hours and more than 30,000 gallons of water before firefighters decided to let the fire burn itself out.

Read more: https://abc13.com/2-killed-in-fiery-tesla-crash-that-took-4-hours-to-extinguish/10525148/

It is unclear at this stage what caused the crash, though investigators have stated they believe no one was driving when the crash occurred. It is also not clear what the cause of death was.

Given the duration and intensity of the blaze, I’m guessing the only detailed data available might be whatever the autopilot uploaded to the Tesla mothership before it was consumed by the fire.

The lithium in Tesla batteries creates a fire which is far more dangerous than a gasoline fire, and almost impossible to extinguish. Think twice before you park a Tesla in your home garage – if the battery ignites, and firefighters cannot extinguish the blaze, you could lose the house.

Even if your house structure survives the fire, acute exposure to the smoke and lithium contamination of the house and surrounds could be an issue – lithium poisoning can cause long term dementia like neurological problems (pyramidal cell dysfunction), along with problems with speech and muscle weakness.

Lets just say if I see a big Lithium fire, I’m not planning to hang around and breath in the smoke.

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April 18, 2021 10:05 pm

Australian vehicle registration, all of the States, now requires that EV display a blue sticker on the front and the rear registration plates as a warning for roads and traffic authorities, fire departments, police that Lithium ion batteries are on board if an EV is involved in a collision or other “Exothermic reaction” inferno event.

Gas fuelled, LPG or LNG, also require warning stickers.

Diesel and petrol/gasoline fuels do not require warning stickers to be displayed.

Reply to  Dennis
April 18, 2021 10:32 pm

What about hybrids like a Pious?

Reply to  Mr.
April 18, 2021 11:40 pm

Just pray it never happens!

Reply to  Mr.
April 18, 2021 11:49 pm

Nickel metal hydride batteries are used and they do not contain lithium.

George Tetley
Reply to  Stanley
April 19, 2021 12:13 am

And what price to * recycle* these $$$$$$ batteries????

Bryan A
Reply to  George Tetley
April 19, 2021 6:14 pm

After several years of service the batteries recycle themselves, violently

David A
Reply to  Bryan A
April 20, 2021 2:33 am

30,000 gallons, and still not out? That is a large swimming pools worth of water.

Reply to  David A
April 22, 2021 11:15 pm

That’s why Tesla recommends dropping their flaming heaps in swimming pools, nothing else works.

Steven Miller
Reply to  Stanley
April 20, 2021 8:04 am

Interesting the way people make up their own facts:

Starting with the 2015 model year, the Prius has used lithium-ion batteries for some Prius models, while others use nickel metal hydride batteries. With the refreshed 2019 Prius lineup that will remain the case, Kaneko confirmed.”

 Lithium-ion vs. nickel-metal hydride: Toyota still likes both for its hybrids (greencarreports.com)

Reply to  Stanley
April 20, 2021 9:43 am

That was then. Now Toyota apparently uses some kind of lithium battery in the newest Prius.

Knowing Toyota it probably is better protected, say armored in high strength steel or something.

Reply to  Mr.
April 19, 2021 2:47 am

I believe the Pious has a nickel chemistry battery

Reply to  Mr.
April 19, 2021 3:36 am

Prius Prime is a plug in with a Li Ion battery but regular Prius cars are the nickel metal hydride chemistry

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Mr.
April 19, 2021 5:33 am

Mr asks: What about hybrids like a Pious?

Looking at a NSW.GOV.AU website on the topic I believe that hybrids fall under this rule, or at least do in NSW.

Reply to  Mr.
April 19, 2021 9:59 pm

Hybrids also must have the stickers, I noticed recently.

Reply to  Dennis
April 20, 2021 5:32 pm

The stickers are to protect responders from the high voltages present, whether BEV, PHEV or HEV. The issue of the chemistry of the batteries is probably subject to differing rules. I have battery chemistry signs on the enclosure and the switchboard on my home battery installation.

Reply to  Dennis
April 19, 2021 4:40 am

Why bother with a sticker?
If the car ignites, hopefully no firefighter or LEO is stupid enough to stand next to the car reading stickers…

Perhaps if Australia, and others, required that lithium battery cars have some lurid black and orange symbol, like the nuclear symbol, painted fore, aft and on driver and passenger sides.

Reply to  ATheoK
April 19, 2021 9:04 am

Problem isn’t necessarily if it ignites. EVs can be deadly to firefighters during extrication if they’re not aware it’s EV.

Reply to  Dennis
April 19, 2021 8:25 am

Does anyone know if insurance companies charge these owners sufficient rates to cover the expense of the “ecological” mini disaster caused by the batteries?

Are regular rate payers subsidizing that too?

Greg Alberta
Reply to  Drake
April 19, 2021 11:34 am

Or charge the manufacturers and erectors of wind turbines the cost of disposing worn out blades and equipment after 10 to 15 years.

Bill Treuren
Reply to  Drake
April 19, 2021 12:04 pm

and should they be allowed in tunnels? truck carrying explosives are often required to go the surface route.

high treason
Reply to  Bill Treuren
April 19, 2021 7:46 pm

Yes, that would be an unmitigated disaster if a Tesla blew its cool in the Harbour tunnel. Might not be too flash on the Harbour bridge either. I sense a Dr Suess rhyme here. I would not drive one anywhere….Scam I am.. Except in this case, the green eggs and ham would not have a happy ending with them burning in flames.
Idea- write a Tesla rhyme to green eggs and ham and recite it when serving the wife a greened up egg with ham on toast for breakfast. Chopped spinach, basil pesto and chives beaten (with garlic to pep it up) in to the egg white. Fry up the greened up white , turn off the gas and on with the yolk. Put the lid on to let it slow cook (mauve yolk means you have nailed it.) The corniness of the stunt would warrant a side serve of sauteed mushroom with pepper and fresh rosemary.

Reply to  Dennis
April 19, 2021 9:03 am

I’m not aware of anything like this in US. I’m not one to say “there otta be a law” but I would like to see something like this, if only to help firefighters know what they’re dealing with.

Reply to  Dennis
April 19, 2021 12:28 pm

There is a fireproof blanket made to smother car fires…no O2 – no fire….unless there is some other chemical reaction going on. I don’t what the blanket is made of but 2 men simply unroll the blanket over the vehicle assuming the location allows this action.

Reply to  Anti-griff
April 19, 2021 12:48 pm

That’s not something I’ve ever seen. I would expect one of the departments in my area to have something like that, or that it would have been mentioned in training. Do you have any more info?

As for unrolling it over the vehicle – I wonder how hot an EV fire can get?

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Anti-griff
April 19, 2021 12:54 pm

There is a fireproof blanket made to smother car fires…no O2 – no fire….unless there is some other chemical reaction going on.

There is another reaction going on. I believe the cathodes release enough O2 to keep the fire going regardless.

Jim G.
Reply to  Anti-griff
April 19, 2021 11:49 pm

That won’t work in an electrical fire.
You first need to remove the power source.
Unfortunately in the case of the EVs, the battery is the power source.

As long as cells are shorted out internally and still have energy remaining, they will continue to produce heat. The only way to remove heat and energy simultaneously is to immerse the vehicle in salt water.

I just found the study by the NFPA for sprinkler system guidance for Energy Storage Systems.


I found this excerpt interesting:
“All tests showed ignition of a single module was sufficient to produce thermal runaway and allow for fire spread to all modules in a single rack.”

Reply to  Jim G.
April 22, 2021 11:38 pm

How do you design a car with this recommendation –
“Without fire protection, the minimum space separation from any part of the ESS (Energy Storage System) is 2.4 m(8 ft) from non-combustible objects and 4.0 m (13 ft) from combustible objects.

William Astley
Reply to  Dennis
April 19, 2021 1:12 pm

In a multivehicle pile up, a single EV fire could a chain fire/explosion.

Some parkades do not allow EVs because it is difficult and dangerous to fight an EV fire in a parkade (enclosed space).

There is a danger, the EV battery fire, will start multiple vehicle fires and explosions, and because there is sufficient heat from a EV fire, to cause structural damage to parkades and buildings.
The problem appears to be, the residue electrical energy in the battery, re-ignites, the electrolyte, which is extremely flammable.  
This is the formula for the Tesla anode.
LiNiCoAlO2 (LCA) 3.6 volts
200-260 Charge 0.7C Thermal runaway temperature: 150℃
Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminium Oxide (LiNiCoAlO2) Lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide (NCA) has a very high specific energy.
The addition of aluminium reduces the amount of cobalt required, reducing the cost. Coupled together, these two factors mean that NCA has the lowest cost per kilowatt hour of any current lithium-ion battery.
This is the cell of choice for Tesla in their Electric Vehicle (EV) powertrain. However, they do suffer from a relatively low thermal runaway temperature (BU-205, 2018).
 Tesla has switched from 18650 cells to 21700 cells because it’s an optimized size to maximize energy, with minimal increases in weight, and excellent cost.

Reply to  Dennis
April 20, 2021 9:56 am

The problem with the fire suppression is that water is pretty ineffective on ANY battery caused fire. I had it happen a a Ford Aerostar years ago. Burnt out every thing burnable in the engine compartment and dash panel.

The only thing that stopped it was a powdered chemical extinguisher.

I would think by now that firefighters would at least be informed that certain fires require powder(mostly baking soda base I believe) extinguishers.

The battery was apparently not armored enough. The steel outer casing should have remained intact, unless the damaged batteries did melt it(The China Syndrome)

Reply to  Philo
April 20, 2021 10:41 am

We are most definitely informed of that, but extinguishers are not intended for use on a fire of any decent size, and often by the time we’re on scene it’s too big for that.

Plus the simple fact that we don’t always know that we’re dealing with an EV at first.

April 18, 2021 10:20 pm

There are too many people now convinced that we need to make omelettes & they ignore the fact someone else has to break the eggs.

Reply to  gringojay
April 18, 2021 11:00 pm

I once asked a colleague where are the battery materials mined and how much pollution does the mining cause? But all I got was the “cult-member” stare, and “but it doesn’t make pollution like a petrol car” as the answer.
It really is depressing when people don’t want to think.

Greg Alberta
Reply to  Sheepfart
April 19, 2021 11:31 am
Reply to  Sheepfart
April 19, 2021 10:10 pm

There is a person in my neighborhood with a Tesla model S with the vanity tag “ NO CO2”. I’m guessing that he doesn’t know where his electricity comes from.

Sceptical Sam
Reply to  gringojay
April 19, 2021 3:46 am

Maybe Tesla should look to fabricating the car out of the same material that unburnt tyre is made of.

Reply to  Sceptical Sam
April 19, 2021 10:23 am

There has been a lot of buzz over the Giga-Press, the new 8000 ton metal die cast machine that Tesla has begun using. It casts the entire model-Y chassis in three pieces. It should reduce the length of the production line by about 20%, putting 500 robots out of work.

Reply to  gringojay
April 19, 2021 9:13 am

I love the picture, it would make a great bumper sticker for my F-250

Reply to  gringojay
April 19, 2021 11:58 am

Now only if those batteries were sustainable…

Zig Zag Wanderer
April 18, 2021 10:21 pm

I hate to say it, but anybody relying on Tesla’s autopilot completely, gets what they deserve. I hope that nobody else was hurt.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
April 18, 2021 11:40 pm

This is what the Darwin Awards were intended for. Trouble is, they expose everyone else to their arrogance.

Jeffery P
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
April 19, 2021 6:03 am

I have doubts we will ever see autonomous passenger vehicles in the next 25 years. Even if we get the technology right, how safe will the system be from hacking?

Reply to  Jeffery P
April 19, 2021 7:35 am

Or lawyers?

Mark D
Reply to  Kpar
April 19, 2021 6:01 pm

You mean like drug companies?

Reply to  Jeffery P
April 19, 2021 8:34 am

They’ll be just as safe from hacking as internet connected voting machines.

John Endicott
Reply to  Ted
April 19, 2021 9:08 am

And saying as much will likely get you banned on twitter, facebook, etc. (just an FYI for those who have & care about their social media accounts. You couldn’t pay me enough to join those cesspools of the internet)

Patrick B
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
April 19, 2021 6:58 am

I don’t mind them killing themselves, but they are out there on the roads with me and my family.

I don’t even like them using the autopilot as Tesla advises; it simply creates to much complacency and an unengaged “driver”.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
April 19, 2021 9:05 am

I write code for a living. Have done so for many years.

That’s why I don’t trust self-driving cars.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  TonyG
April 19, 2021 12:52 pm

I’m at the top-end of my career, so I’ve been designing and writing code, mostly embedded real time systems, for decades. I try to tell people the same thing, and you would think that since I would be considered and “expert” (compared to the average person), they would believe me, but they don’t. I guess I’m an “AI denier” or something, but there are a host of technical, legal, and social issues that must be addressed before real, level 5 self driving cars can become a reality. And almost nobody wants to talk about those issues.

Jim G.
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
April 19, 2021 11:53 pm

It amazed me how quickly the DOT approved these vehicles for use on highways.

I remember the story of a guy who put his RV in cruise control, then went back to take a nap.
The RV tracked straight and true, even after the road turned.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
April 20, 2021 5:54 am

News has reported that the car was not in autopilot mode when it crashed.
The “autopilot” tag is being thrown out there for clicks.

Plenty of auto crashes before Li powered cars came around. and will be after they are banned.

Richard Page
Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
April 20, 2021 7:47 am

Possibly not. Elon Musk has suggested that the autopilot mode was not engaged, despite accounts showing that no-one was in the driving seat at the time. Any ideas how you can drive a Tesla from the rear seat without it being in autopilot mode?

April 18, 2021 10:32 pm

The car burned for hours, but the wheel and tire in the foreground don’t look particularly damaged.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 19, 2021 3:18 am

thered be an advert op for the tyre makers in that
id guess the wind was blowing from that direction and the firies might have been playing water in that direction also?

Reply to  ozspeaksup
April 19, 2021 5:12 am

Likely, 30,000 gallons of water kept the tires cool…

Richard Page
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 19, 2021 10:37 am

I saw another news report on this that said that the fire fighters, after realising the fire was re-igniting, contacted Tesla for advice on putting the fire out. Nothing was mentioned about Tesla’s response, but it is interesting that in this report, they mention that the fire fighters gave in and let the fire burn itself out. Presumably Tesla had no advice on what to do in the circumstances?

April 18, 2021 10:32 pm

Why did the fire officials waste 30,000 gallons of water? The safety data says lithium is light and floats on water. There is also a 600 metre exclusion zone; although we are told we can approach to 70m upwind. our fire hoses won’t get that far.

Reply to  lee
April 18, 2021 11:25 pm

Here’s an example of a specification for a fire truck.

8.One self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) complying with NFPA 1981, Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for Fire and Emergency Services, for each assigned seating position, but not fewer than four, mounted in brackets fastened to the apparatus or stored in containers supplied by the SCBA manufacturer

9.One spare SCBA cylinder for each SCBA carried, each mounted in a bracket fastened to the apparatus or stored in a specially designed storage space


These days it’s probably safe to assume the firefighters know what they’re doing. Even if you can’t extinguish a fire, water can keep down temperatures and protect nearby property and people. I remember one fire in downtown Toronto where the building was gutted and partially collapsed but the firemen succeeded in keeping the fire from spreading to the adjoining buildings.

Reply to  lee
April 19, 2021 12:20 am

That’s not the reason for not using water on these fires. Gasoline floats on water, too – but it doesn’t <i>react</i> with the water. The reaction produces heat and hydrogen. Pouring water on it just makes the fire <i>worse</i> (plus the possibility, in an enclosed space, of reaching an explosive ratio of hydrogen to air).

If these things become actually common, fire departments all across the country will need to retrain and reequip to deal with them. <i>Expensively</i>, I might add.

I keep a Class D (sodium chloride) fire extinguisher in the house, if I ever have to deal with a fire in one of our laptops, or the UPS. More than $200, but worth it. (Wait, I just checked Amazon, they’re down to $156 plus tax for my five pounder.) I don’t think that even the $700+ 30 pound extinguishers, though, will deal with the very large batteries in an EV, assuming you could get close enough. A specialized vehicle will almost certainly be needed – one in every fire station. Let me see… 58,150 stations in the US, times (conservatively) $50K per vehicle, is just shy of $3 billion in equipment costs alone.

So, every EV registration should bear its share of that cost. Now, if you replaced every registered vehicle in the US, that would work out to something like $10 a vehicle – but that is not going to happen, no matter the fevered dreams of Occasional Cortex and Company. More like $150 to $200, if the 18 million realistic expectation by 2025 materializes. Ballpark estimate, considering amortization of the initial cost, maintenance (including chemical replacement), and training, somewhere between $75 and $100 annual addition to the registration.

Reply to  writing observer
April 19, 2021 2:51 am

There is no raw lihtium in a lithium battery to react with water.

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 19, 2021 8:03 am

Lithium ion batteries are classed as a Class B flammable liquid and require dry chemical extinguishers to put out. Water at best does nothing at worst it actually increases the fire.

Jim G.
Reply to  LdB
April 20, 2021 12:04 am

Dry fire extinguishers will not remove heat very well.
These are class C/class D fires.

If a cell is damaged in the crash, the short/heat will cause the other cells to fail. As long as the cells have energy, they will continue to produce heat. There is no way to disconnect an internal short in the battery.

The goal is to remove the heat produced and keep things from melting, causing more problems. This needs to be done until the chemical reaction has been exhausted.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  writing observer
April 19, 2021 5:30 am

Fire engines can cost up to a million dollars US. $50k will get you the chief’s sedan with flashing lights.


Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  writing observer
April 19, 2021 8:02 am

“I keep a Class D (sodium chloride) fire extinguisher in the house . . .”

No wonder they are on sale at Amazon . . .

David A
Reply to  writing observer
April 20, 2021 2:44 am

Please don’t tell the “woke”such things. It just motivates them to an even greater desire to reduce the surplus popular.

Reply to  lee
April 19, 2021 2:50 am

The lithium in batteries does not exist as metal. Its usuaslly a salt – lithium carbonate. And it isnt that which burns. Its usally the organic electrolyte. Which reignites because there is still a load of electrical energy left to reheat the thing after its been put out.

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 19, 2021 3:57 am

@Leo Smith,

However, I just check my 70th Edition CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics,  page B-101.

Lithium Carbonate decomposes at 1310. So raw Lithium was made available to the fire.

Interestingly it lists Acetone as a solvent. I wonder, and I know it is counter-intuitive, if trying to dissolve it would be better then suppressing. It is also insoluble in alcohol. A barrier between oxygen and moisture needs to occur.

Water clearly is not going to work with these materials. We now have empirical and observational data to that reality.

Reply to  JEHILL
April 19, 2021 5:27 am

Good comment.

To extend it just a bit further:

Primary Lithium Cells Primary lithium cells are considered hazardous for a number of reasons, they contain a lithium metal anode (which is highly reactive), the electrolyte can be made of flammable organic solvents and they can contain potentially explosive components such as perchlorates (Libona, 2011).”

Reply to  JEHILL
April 19, 2021 9:17 am

Lithium carbonate will decompose to lithium oxide at high temperature. Not lithium metal. Lithium oxide is not flammable, although it will generate a corrosive solution of lithium hydroxide on contact with water.

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 19, 2021 5:24 am

Unfortunately, not true.

Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LiCoO2) Lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) batteries have relatively high specific energy but a low specific power. Charging or discharging an LCO battery at more than 1C can result in overheating. LCO also has a low thermal runaway temperature and is particularly prone to thermal runaway when charging or discharging above 1C.

LCO batteries are losing ground to other chemistries as a result of the cost of cobalt and the better performance of other cathode materials. However, these batteries are still commonly used in cell phones, tablets and laptops (BU-205, 2018).

Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminium Oxide (LiNiCoAlO2) Lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide (NCA) has a very high specific energy. The addition of aluminium reduces the amount of cobalt required, reducing the cost. Coupled together, these two factors mean that NCA has the lowest cost per kilowatt hour of any current lithium-ion battery. This is the cell of choice for Tesla in their Electric Vehicle (EV) powertrain. However, they do suffer from a relatively low thermal runaway temperature (BU-205, 2018).”

Once thermal runaway occurs, lithium compounds decompose and provide lithium for further combustion.

Oh, many of the smaller batteries do contain pure lithium, from the same source as linked above.
Lithium battery cells CR2032 and CR123 images are provided as examples.

“Primary Lithium Cells Primary lithium cells are considered hazardous for a number of reasons, they contain a lithium metal anode (which is highly reactive)”

Jeffery P
Reply to  lee
April 19, 2021 6:04 am

Is it possible they only had water to use on the fire?

Reply to  Jeffery P
April 19, 2021 9:09 am

Most likely they were using foam. “journalists” don’t seem capable and/or interested in the distinction. The foam is an additive to the water, so they’re still using water.

30,000 gallons, based on typical tanker capacity, is about 20 trucks worth.

Reply to  lee
April 19, 2021 9:13 am

Hint: there is no metallic lithium in a lithium-ion battery. It’s not a lithium fire.

Reply to  kzb
April 19, 2021 10:07 am

Hint: Cremation services for the deceased use fossil fuels which contribute to global warming but are unneeded in this instance.

Reply to  kzb
April 20, 2021 2:00 pm

At these temperatures and with all the materials being available due to the chemical kinetics of the fire unless a sizable amount of analytical instruments are brought to sample the gases being evolved from the fire and the residuals liquids, if any, after the fire we are merely guessing i.e. we do not know.

Still my guess is that Lithium is directly involved. Sure, the electrolyte is involved as well, however, the length of these, i.e. the burn times, match more closely with the mass of the battery piles than of liquid. Photos of these fire are not normal beyond the footprint of battery compartment. If was only because electrolytic liquid, having molecular surface area and free flowing, these fires would have larger footprintsurface area.

Also I cannot ever remember the battery piles of even the compartments thereof these surviving. It is as if they were consumed during fire per most of the pictures.

April 18, 2021 11:05 pm

The newest Darwin Award nominees.

dodgy geezer
Reply to  stinkerp
April 19, 2021 1:17 am

At 65/70 they have probably done all the reproducing that they are going to do

Reply to  dodgy geezer
April 19, 2021 1:57 am

Oh, you think so do you ! (;-))

Reply to  dodgy geezer
April 19, 2021 8:41 am

Two guys in the back of a Tesla? It’s not their age that’s stopping them from reproducing.

Reply to  Ted
April 19, 2021 10:10 am

Reports of the accident I read elsewhere state that the owner got in the back and his friend got in the front passenger seat according to members of the family who watched the incident unfold. Apparently, it was a hold-my-beer deal.

Reply to  stinkerp
April 19, 2021 3:26 am


Richard Page
Reply to  stinkerp
April 19, 2021 3:25 pm

Is there any truth to the rumour that the latest Tesla models are funded by Dignitas? sarc

April 18, 2021 11:14 pm

Autopilot is not an artificial intelligence- it is a subset of it called pattern matching. Yes, with enough data, there’s a chance that any situation has been seen before, and the right decision will be made by the car. Or not.

Humans, when something is confusing, slow down to figure it out. Or they make a reasonable guess and third parties only talk to the people who survive. A pattern matching AI, on the other hand, doesn’t do reasonable- it comes to a conclusion and executes. It may stomp on the accelerator, without any other factors such as second guessing; valuing a learning curve. Going home to wifey.

My scenario is what happens during a car jacking – you might want to step on the gas to not get trapped, regardless of if one of the carjackers is in front. The pattern matcher can only not hit the carjacker; it will politely wait. Hand over the keys.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Eric Worrall
April 18, 2021 11:58 pm

There are ~17,250 auto accidents in the US involving human intelligence. Can you imagine what we could increase that to if even half the cars had “insect intelligence”?

One hell of a lot of “splat”.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
April 19, 2021 2:05 am

But that’s what the green extremists want –

the natural world would by and large do much better if we weren’t there at all.” David Attenborough

They can’t get planing permission for Gas Chambers so a Tesla is the next best thing.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  saveenergy
April 19, 2021 2:36 am

A Tesla is much more expensive than a boxcar to Zyklon-B and still more expensive than 5 ml PLANdemic vax in a walk up.

One hell of a lot of SPLAT

Reply to  saveenergy
April 19, 2021 6:08 am

Because humans aren’t natural?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Ryan
April 19, 2021 9:30 am

Apparently not … according to post modern science.

james Fosser
Reply to  Ryan
April 19, 2021 2:34 pm

Attenboroughs aren’t.

james Fosser
Reply to  Rory Forbes
April 19, 2021 2:33 pm

And 50% of the population are below average intelligence (and can hold a car licence.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  james Fosser
April 19, 2021 3:46 pm

As George Carlin said — ‘Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.’

Reply to  Rory Forbes
April 19, 2021 10:18 pm

Insect level

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  PureAbsolute
April 18, 2021 11:39 pm

There is no such thing as Artificial Intelligence outside of fiction as of yet.

As for Natural Intelligence, that’s a rare thing too. Apparently, of the two people in the car, neither were in the driving seat. Unfortunately they were both pretty aged, so they had probably passed on their genes already, negating a Darwin Award.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
April 19, 2021 3:29 am

They could have still bred.

Ian Magness
Reply to  PureAbsolute
April 19, 2021 12:32 am

With regard to issues with the technology, there is a related story in today’s British Telegraph. You’d think it was a joke but it isn’t. Apparently, it has been established that self-driving cars “may struggle to recognise dark-skinned faces in the dark”. The context was pedestrians crossing the road in front of these cars. Whatever the real risk of this, you can’t help but feel that this technology isn’t ready to be let loose on our public roads, even for testing. Somehow, however, it seems that a form of green/woke pass is allowing it to be rushed through. As the Doom Goblin would cry: “people are dying”.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Ian Magness
April 19, 2021 2:42 am

Possibly what happened here – the car saw the people but just a bit too late and took itself down in ‘hasty’ avoiding action.

Hey ho. T’was Saturday night, maybe it had had ‘one-too-many’ electrons down at the Last Charge Saloon

Or a case of ‘Driving Under The Affluence’?

<gets coat>

lyn roberts
Reply to  Ian Magness
April 19, 2021 4:15 pm

Oh don’t get me started, In the last few days we have come very close to killing 2 idiots. One was nose down in mobile phone, walking along, turned left straight onto pedestrian crossing, another 1mtr closer and she would have been flying, we flattened a brand new set of tyres stopping in a cloud of tyre smoke, best we got was a questioning look, of course it was our fault for being on the road. 2nd one, night time just starting to rain, turned right off main road onto side road, suddenly person wearing black shirt, black pants, back hair, just a shadow in the dark, no thud so maybe he or she got lucky, we did not bother to stop because we only would have been abused, no pedestrian crossing so we had right of way. Why if you were wearing such dark clothes would you even be thinking about walking across road in dark with a car sitting in turn lane with indicator flashing. Oh we are in Australia so drive on left hand side of road.

April 18, 2021 11:47 pm

What would have been the result if an ‘ordinary’ EV had crashed under someone’s control. Would the fire have been as intense and with a similar end result?


April 19, 2021 12:48 am

The lithium in Tesla batteries creates a fire which is far more dangerous than a gasoline fire, and almost impossible to extinguish. Think twice before you park a Tesla in your home garage

I would rather say “think twice before you violently crash a Tesla into your home garage”.

dodgy geezer
Reply to  Nylo
April 19, 2021 1:20 am

They have a track record of catching fire when quietly parked as well.. .

Reply to  dodgy geezer
April 19, 2021 1:26 am

Really? I googled it and found it was extremely rare(but yes it doe happen. But then so do laptops.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Simon
April 19, 2021 2:38 am

Alphabet G00gle is not an unbiased broker of information. They sell positioning and visibility.

Climate believer
Reply to  Simon
April 19, 2021 6:15 am

Hyundai Kona, parked in a Canadian garage last year. Stupid to compare it with a laptop, unless your laptop happens to cost more than $45,000 + house repair.
Nobody was injured.

Reply to  Climate believer
April 19, 2021 12:43 pm

Laptops have the same batteries and burn down houses too. Not stupid at all.

Climate believer
Reply to  Climate believer
April 19, 2021 2:11 pm

Following a series of battery fires and investigations in various countries, South Korean automaker Hyundai will recall the Kona Electric for all-out battery replacements. 

Reuters reported on the upcoming recall Wednesday, which will cost $900 million to execute. The sum makes it the most expensive recall involving an EV so far.

Reply to  dodgy geezer
April 19, 2021 2:58 am

I have been around Lithium batteries for 15+ years as part of the aeromodelling fraternity. Early on one of the most chilling acounts was of a battery pack left (disconnected) on the passenger seat of a car parked in the California sunshine. Neither the pack nor the car survived. There were pictures…

..but the myth that it ist the lithium that is the problem needs to be outed. It isn’t. Anymore than its the lead in a lead acid battery that goes bang. It’s the rest of the electrolyte – an organic witches brew that apparently carries its own oyygen.

April 19, 2021 12:48 am

According to Reuters the car crashed and there was a fire

No mention of the nature of the fire or the difficulty of extinguishing it

Maybe the fire engines of the future will be trucks carrying sand?

Reply to  fretslider
April 19, 2021 12:55 am

Of course the obvious choice for an electrical fire is… CO2

Reply to  fretslider
April 19, 2021 2:59 am

Doesn’t wiork with li-ion, because the electrolyte gives off oxygen as it burns… and a shorted cell provideds the heat for initial ignition.

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 19, 2021 3:35 am

Sand it is, then.


Reply to  Eric Worrall
April 19, 2021 4:17 am

Well, we’ll have to take his word on that. It probably rises to the top, thinking about it. Brilliant, an analogue for Alien blood.

As ever the greens haven’t thought it through – if we accept what they claim….

Parts of England could run out of water within 20 years, warn MPs

The report said: “There is a serious risk that some parts of the country [England] will run out of water within the next 20 years … The responsible bodies – the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs [Defra], the Environment Agency and Ofwat have collectively taken their eye off the ball and urgent action is now required if we are to have a reliable water supply in the years ahead.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/10/parts-of-england-could-run-out-of-water-within-20-years-warn-mps

Parts of UK could run out of water in around 20 years’, new study warns https://www.energylivenews.com/2020/03/26/parts-of-uk-could-run-out-of-water-in-around-20-years-new-study-warns/

Personally, I think they’re talking through their fundaments.

Rainfall is not abnormal – here at least.

Russ Wood
Reply to  fretslider
April 19, 2021 5:44 am

South Africa is in the same situation – and politicians are blaming (as usual) ‘climate change’. The REAL reason is that we’re an arid country, and no new dams have been built in decades. In fact, an extension of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project was stopped by the ANC’s Minister for Water, because the contract wasn’t given to a “friend of the ANC”. I.e. no kickbacks had been paid, so the industrial heartland of Gauteng (Johannesburg, etc) has to go dry….

David A
Reply to  Russ Wood
April 20, 2021 2:57 am

Same in California. Billions on a train to nowhere. Water, what’s that, is it important?

Reply to  fretslider
April 19, 2021 5:41 am

If the molecule has oxygen, hot lithium can and will rip the oxygen atoms from even stable molecules like CO₂ and SiO.

Anything used has to provide a complete blanket preventing lithium’s access to any element it can combine with.

Argon or halon are probably good choices…
Except for all of the yummy to lithium molecules in the car itself, asphalt, etc.
Right now, the only sensible thing is to keep people away from the fire products and to let the dang fire burn out.

Reply to  ATheoK
April 19, 2021 9:20 am

As I said…

Brilliant, an analogue for Alien blood.

Reply to  ATheoK
April 19, 2021 7:38 pm

That’s the reason that Class Ds are NaCl. No O there.

Although I have never figured out why you can’t get a calcium chloride extinguisher. Far higher melt/boil point than sodium chloride – and hygroscopic to boot, which I would think would draw any remaining water away.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  fretslider
April 19, 2021 4:41 am

Lithium, like Sodium and Magnesium burn in pure CO2, stripping the oxygen from the carbon which is left in its elemental state. Nitrogen or Argon would do the trick better. Water on Lithium produces copious quantities of Hydrogen which in its turn will burn like mad.


Moderately Cross of East Anglia
April 19, 2021 1:28 am

Where are the lawyers needed to take the car manufacturers and authorities to court for allowing this dangerous a product to be sold to an unsuspecting public deceived by eco-muppets?

Also if your house and health is ruined by your idiot neighbour’s purchase of one of these Frankenstein vehicles than reaching for a greedy lawyer is going to be top of my list and the insurance company that gave the electric car owner cover is the target of choice.

Have car insurance companies really figured out what they are letting themselves in for if one of these things lights up in crowded central London and it’s fumes roll into underground nearby tube stations etc?

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
April 19, 2021 5:44 am

Speak and ye shall be answered.
Have You Suffered Injuries After a Lithium-Ion Battery Caught Fire or Exploded and Need to Speak With an Attorney?”
Don’t worry, there are a lot more slick lawyers than just this one.

April 19, 2021 2:00 am

I commented about EV battery fires one month ago.


This video refers to Hyundai’s recall of 80,0000 Electric Vehicles due to battery problems.
Not my expertise, but what about EV battery fires – apparently impossible to extinguish! So your car takes fire and burns down your house?
In the early days, cars were kept in a separate coach house, which was distant from the residence in case the car started a fire. Is that going to be the new norm, the detached garage? Are modern lots even big enough to do this?
What are the stats on EV battery fires?

April 19, 2021 5:54 am

A survey was conducted in March 2018 to find out more about waste facility fires: • 22 respondents from CA waste facilities, with 21 responding yes or no to facility fires. • 86% of the 21 reported having a fire at their facility in the last two years. • When asked to identify the source of the reported fires, 56% of the reported fires were due to batteries. • Lithium ion batteries are the largest source of reported fires”

Page 8 of the presentation.
That’s just for waste facility fires.

For example?

On March 13, 2018, a recall was issued for multiple models of the AmazonBasics portable chargers/power banks (approximately 260,000 units). These chargers contain lithium-ion batteries which can overheat and possibly catch fire, resulting in property damage and burns.”

Mark D
April 19, 2021 6:22 pm

I built a double firewall between the house and the attached garage containing wife’s Chevy Volt.
I hope it is never tested. After reading the solar cell piece won’t be buying another battery car.
Too bad as It is a great car for what it is designed.

Stephen Skinner
April 19, 2021 2:01 am

Replace batteries with Hydrogen?

Reply to  Stephen Skinner
April 19, 2021 2:22 am

“Replace batteries with Hydrogen”

& go out with a >’bang‘<

Doug Huffman
Reply to  saveenergy
April 19, 2021 2:40 am

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper

April 19, 2021 2:46 am

Never Mind. Shortly all cars will be hydrogen…oh, what’s that? Did I hear you say ‘Hindenburg’ ..and remind me again what blew up at Fukushima. Hydrgen? Surely not. The green saviour of the planet wouldnt do that…

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Leo Smith
April 19, 2021 2:54 am

I maintained a 150,000 pound mass Flooded Lead Acid battery and our second major concern was controlling hydrogen concentration in the compartment during charging operations. H2 has the widest explosive range of all common elements, 4% to 75% IIRC

April 19, 2021 3:05 am

Perhaps in places where there is a large EV/Tesla demographic, a ABC or BC type dry-chemical extinguishers should be available to the firefighters.

It is better than plain water for the problem.

Reply to  Joe
April 19, 2021 8:56 am

Every fire engine I have ever seen had at least one 4 A 40 BC minimum extinguisher on it, for quick action on grease or car fires. That would be kitchen grease and ice auto type fires.

Very effective if they get to the fire soon enough. No need to spread contaminants with water.

Reply to  Drake
April 19, 2021 9:37 am

I haven’t seen a car fire yet that an extinguisher would be at all useful. And it’s definitely not SOP. Car fire = pull the hoses and run the pump. Even if there’s no fire, they’re out as a standby.

MAYBE a small fire inside the cab, that’s about the only situation I can think of that we might use an extinguisher.

Reply to  Joe
April 19, 2021 9:13 am

For cases like magnesium we use a foam additive that gets pumped along with the water. It’s not perfect but it does help suppress the fire some.

Extinguishers simply couldn’t produce enough extinguishing agent to be useful on something like that. Even a regular car fire needs at least several hundred gallons.

April 19, 2021 3:15 am

guess they really thought autopilot meant you could let the car do as it pleased?
Darwin Award winners!

Richard Page
Reply to  ozspeaksup
April 19, 2021 10:46 am

That’s the problem – Tesla have been taken to court for implying that autopilot means exactly what it says – it doesn’t. Tesla’s autopilot system cannot drive a car safely on its own and should never be used that way.

Michael in Dublin
April 19, 2021 4:13 am

Perhaps it is time to get in early and in our residential areas declare: This is a lithium free car battery zone.

April 19, 2021 4:46 am

Self-driving car? No, thank you. I can find my way around quite well, and would rather walk. As I understand it, those vehicles automatically lock their doors, whether you want it or not and they stay locked. VERY VERY BAD IDEA.

Lithium ion batteries acting as propellants? No, thank you, because I value life more than a confounded 4-wheel death trap. The closets thing I have to a lithium-powered anything is a very small flashlight and its batteries, which are also quite small. I don’t think even baking soda will put that out.

There is nothing that I could see accounting for why the fire started in the first place. Thanks, but I’ll stick to gas-powered vehicles until this insanity ends. And frankly, I would rather drive or ride a horse or even a good, hardworking Missouri mule.

Richard Page
Reply to  Sara
April 19, 2021 10:54 am

The car failed to identify a curve in the road and kept going straight; it left the road and crashed into trees, causing damage to the batteries, which started a fire, either because of a short or some combination of leaked chemicals. Having self igniting battery packs in a car seems bad enough but putting them in a car that can’t negotiate a road on its own whilst calling it an “autopilot” system just seems suicidal.

April 19, 2021 5:01 am

Perhaps the EV fan club will have to compromise on range for community safety-
New ‘Blade Battery’ from China’s BYD is Cheaper & Safer, is it the Future of Electric Vehicles? (news18.com)

April 19, 2021 5:06 am

One has to love the appearance of the ex-car in the above picture. Especially the burned/melted car shell. If it was aluminum, it likely burned. Thin steel probably melted. Glass, fractured and interior plastic melted.

Just the beginning as existing lithium batteries age…

“DULLES, Va. — The Loudoun County Fire Department announced that a faulty lithium-ion battery was to blame for a Friday house fire that displaced a family of four Friday.

The battery was in a remote-control car located in the garage of the Dulles area home, located on the 2500 block of Trilobite Court. Firefighters responded to the home around 7 p.m., and multiple rescue crews were called to help battle the flames, the fire department said.”

That lithium and cobalt issue?

Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LiCoO2) Lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) batteries have relatively high specific energy but a low specific power. Charging or discharging an LCO battery at more than 1C can result in overheating. LCO also has a low thermal runaway temperature and is particularly prone to thermal runaway when charging or discharging above 1C.”

E-scooter fires soar 300% in 2017 TODAY Online, February 8, 2018″

Page five of the Presentation.

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Shocking home security video shows a flash of light and a few sparks which ultimately led to a house fire in Matthews.

Now, that homeowner is combing through what’s left of his belongings. He says the source of the fire was a lithium polymer battery that exploded while it was charging.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Mark Thompson said. “That’s my life’s savings. It’s my house.”

One mustn’t forget the ambulance chasers looking for that money making billion dollars plus lawsuit…


Reply to  ATheoK
April 19, 2021 6:16 am

Increasing fire problem for rubbish collection and waste/recycling centres too-
‘Zombie batteries’ causing hundreds of waste fires, experts warn | Waste | The Guardian
The only way to control such risk in an increasingly risk averse society is lithium battery deposit legislation to make them attractive to collect and recycle or simply make safe. The EV fan club won’t like that just as they don’t like mileage taxing for roads in lieu of lost fuel taxes.

April 19, 2021 5:06 am

The ‘drivers’ worked hard to bypass the safety features. No one was in the driver’s seat and they accelerated past the top autopilot speed (92mph). I’m surprised that people willing to pull a stunt like this survived to over age 60.

Reply to  Mike
April 19, 2021 5:47 am

One didn’t. He was 59.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Mike
April 19, 2021 8:21 am

The article does not say no one was in the driver’s seat . . . it only states that the authorities, somehow, determined that no was was driving the car. A big difference.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 19, 2021 9:27 am

A different news article I saw this morning reported that one man was in the front passenger seat while the second man was in the rear seat. Unless the man in front jumped into the passenger seat upon the crash, it would appear that witness reports of a driverless vehicle are likely accurate. Now how they defeated the vaunted safety devices to achieve that is going to be an interesting tale.

Steven F
Reply to  Mike
April 19, 2021 10:37 am

Autopilot will not engage if the drivers seat belt is not on. Also Autopilot will not engage if there are no lane markings. Both cases were apparently true. So it is looking highly doubtful that autopilot was engaged.

It is much more likely that the driver was not seat belt on and was driving faster than the autopilot speed limit. He lost control was tossed out of the seat and landed in the rear seat just before the car hit The tree. Unusual but not impossible.

Only TESLA can determine if autopilot was in use at the time but given the speed and autopilot limits, autopilot was likely not on.

Richard Page
Reply to  Steven F
April 20, 2021 7:54 am

Except that some of the accounts are of him getting into the rear seat at the start. How could he have driven the car from the rear seat? Isn’t it reasonable that, having buckled the front seatbelt over an empty seat, climbed into the back and engaged autopilot mode, they drove off? If the car was speeding past the limit of the autopilot mode and it switched off, that might account for why it was disengaged at the moment of impact?

sky king
April 19, 2021 5:25 am

10 years ago I fell asleep at the wheel on I-5 on CA. Ended up upside down in a grove of eucalyptus. The Honda’s airbags no doubt saved my life, but the side window airbag gave me a nasty subdural hematoma I believe.

Had I had a modicum of AI to keep the car on the road I would probably still have that Honda and no hole in my skull.

As for a self-driving car, I would be satisfied that it only keep me safe if I nod off.

April 19, 2021 5:43 am

Require DOT placards on all sides of the cars. Placards must be at least 250 mm (9.84 inches) on each side.

Reply to  Pflashgordon
April 19, 2021 6:24 am

Not quite but Australian States have required warning labels on license plates for some time the same as LPG and CNG-
SA.GOV.AU – Number plate warning labels (www.sa.gov.au)
You never know with lithium battery EVs and they might eventually require the large hazardous signage like trucks now.

April 19, 2021 6:16 am

What a testimonial to that wheel & tire that survived the fire intact!

Ian Coleman
April 19, 2021 6:35 am

Ah, so what? Electric cars are never going to overtake ICE cars, unless governments just arbitrarily outlaw ICE cars, or make the cost of gas prohibitively high. Seventy percent of the cars on the roads in Canada were bought used. The new car market is a niche of the total car market. New high end luxury cars are a niche of a niche. Teslas are a niche of a niche of niche. In fact most Tesla owners also own ICE cars. The Teslas are second cars.

Won’t battery costs come down as a result of technical advances and economies of scale? No. Tesla was founded in 2003, and has yet to sell even one vehicle for more than it cost to manufacture it. If Tesla can’t make profitable electric cars after seventeen years, why would anyone think that Volkswagen or GM could any time soon?

You can tell that electric cars are a failed idea by the idiotically weak defenses of them. Here’s the big one: Electric cars cost less to operate than ICE cars. Well sure, but the sticker price on an electric car is 40 percent higher than for a comparable ICE car. Long before you break even on the operating costs, the battery on your electric car will have to be replaced.

keith robinson
April 19, 2021 6:44 am

It’s a problem that as been known about for long time, hence the advance to contain rather than put out. And your doing squat with water in these cases.

Carlo, Monte
April 19, 2021 6:49 am

And Zhou Dumb Biden wants replace the entire U.S. Government GSA fleet with these.

Good luck, we will need it.

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
April 19, 2021 7:48 pm

Now, that could be one of those evil plans that turns around and does some good.

I hereby assert first use of the soon to become common meme “Crispycrats.” (Generously placed into the public domain.)

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  writing observer
April 20, 2021 12:19 pm

He signed an EO today outlawing use of the term “Wuhan Flu” in the entire federal government.

April 19, 2021 7:39 am

If your gas tank catches fire in your car in your garage your home is going up in flames, period … unless you have an active fire suppression system in your home, which almost nobody has.

The fire in a lithuim battery is NOT “much more dangerous” than a gasoline fire. A fire from a gas tank can explode and release far more energy instantaneously than any lithium battery can ever do. Gasoline also being liquid splashes on stuff once the tank ruptures, and then whatever the liquid gasoline gets on then becomes extremely flammable – like people, or vehicle interiors. A lithium battery fire cannot do that.

If you doubt the dangers posed by ordinary gasoline, just be aware that most fatal aircraft accidents in which the initial impact does not cause immediate death, most deaths result from the post-crash fire. This applies to both gasoline-powered light aircraft, as well as jet fuel powered turbine or jet powered aircraft. The loss of the twin towers on 9.11.01 was NOT due to the impact of the airliners crashing into the buildings – the towers went down due to the immense heat generated by the post crash fires, which softened the steel frames of the two buildings enough to cause them to collapse.

Also, Tesla’s “AutoPilot” is not designed to self drive the car … it is strictly a driver assistance tool for use in matching vehicle speed to surrounding traffic speed, and assisting the driver in keeping the vehicle within well lit, well marked travel lanes. Not the situation this particular vehicle was in.

Reply to  Duane
April 19, 2021 12:02 pm

Non sequitur. There are roughly 1 billion ICE vehicles in use worldwide. Easily >10 billion have been built. If gas tanks spontaneously catching fire while parked, engine off in a garage was a problem, there would be worldwide fire protection codes (e.g., NFPA) addressing the risk. Are there? Crickets. However, with relatively few Tesla’s in existence, there are reports of them spontaneously igniting while sitting still and not in use. Of course, if someone is foolish enough to buy one, then they are foolish enough to park in a garage attached to their home. … or depend on a driving assistance system. Adds new meaning to the phrase “asleep at the wheel.”

Reply to  Pflashgordon
April 19, 2021 12:59 pm

 However, with relatively few Tesla’s in existence, there are reports of them spontaneously igniting while sitting still and not in use.”
How many? Seriously how many are exploding in garages while parked? It happens, but it is extremely rare. All new technology has it’s problems, so why should EV’s be any different. The people who crashed this car were not using the auto pilot as the manufacturer intended and as a result paid the ultimate price. How often does that happen with other products around the world?
Sadly once again Eric shows his distain for Tesla. It’s as though he sits around waiting for another problem to emerge so he can highlight it to the world. All the time he admits he hasn’t even been in or driven one. Me thinks the fire he is really trying to put out is the development and uptake of EV technology and production around the world. Good luck with that. They have their faults and limitations at this point, but at the rate they are improving, it is only a a matter of time before they dominate then finish off ICE engines. If you think I am wrong save this post, then come back to it in 10 years….

Reply to  Simon
April 19, 2021 2:38 pm

Poor simon.. pretending to be a wack-a-mole yet again

DELUSIONAL to the end. !

Reply to  Simon
April 20, 2021 7:24 am

Simon, it is one thing to say EVs are improving and quite another to claim that internal combustion engines will be “finished off” some time in the future. ICE vehicles still have a lower cost of manufacturing and ownership than an EV. ICE vehicles can still go further and for longer than an EV. I might give an inch to the claim that ICE vehicles will disappear in the (distant) future if we lived in an age of ever-increasing energy abundance. We don’t live in such an age yet because of heavy-handed regulations on nuclear and hydro power as well as weak promises of future technology like fusion. So long as electricity cannot be produced at a lower cost and in high abundance, fossil fuels will continue to be the dominant sources of reliable power for vehicles. I will only change my mind when (1) the US federal government loosens its death grip on nuclear power, and (2) states start building nuclear power plants.

Reply to  leowaj
April 20, 2021 12:01 pm

I agree with you on nuclear. It is the logical solution to this problem.

Ian Coleman
Reply to  Simon
April 20, 2021 8:48 am

Hello, Simon. The development and ubiquitous uptake of computers and smartphones is not necessarily an indicator that improvements in electric car technology will be similarly dramatic. The biggest obstacle to the adoption of electric cars is that ICE cars are so good already.

The trouble with price is not that electric cars cost more. The trouble is, they cost a lot more. 60 percent more in many cases. And that’s for new cars. Most people buy cars used. In Western Canada, where I live, the cheapest electric car you can buy is at least $40,000. You can buy an insurable, safety inspected, used ICE car for $4,000. That’s a price factor of 10. There is no way to close that gap unless governments just make ICE cars illegal, which of course would shut most citizens out of car ownership itself.

The trouble with utility is not that ICE cars are more reliable. The trouble is they are far more reliable. You can gas them up anywhere, and they have ranges-to-refuel of 300 miles.

When Apple began marketing smart phones, there were no competing existing technologies. Electric cars must displace existing ICE cars that are far cheaper and more reliable. That will not happen without top-down, centralized government interference in the markets that will be massively unpopular with all the people who will lose the right to buy affordable cars.

Reply to  Ian Coleman
April 20, 2021 12:00 pm

“The trouble is, they cost a lot more. 60 percent more in many cases.”
While it is true that electric cars are on average more expensive, they do have significant advantages over ICE cars and that’s even now at the early stage. They cost less to maintain. No oil changes,spark plugs, tune ups etc. You don’t need to visit a gas station as you have the convenience of charging at home. And daily running costs are much cheaper so over the life of the car you would drag a lot of that initial expense back, if not all of it.
And you are not comparing apples with apples. There is not an ICE car on the market can compare with a Tesla 3 in that price range. I’m talking performance and bleeding edge tech. If you think I’m wrong name one.
Take a look at the number of EV’s being released by the largest and most respected car makers on the planet. The latest Mercedes is a damned fine car and is one of many to hit the streets over the next few years. Just saying…

Ian Coleman
Reply to  Simon
April 20, 2021 3:24 pm

But Simon, the Tesla 3 program is failing. Tesla can’t fill the orders, and every time they do fill an order they lose money.

Suppose for the sake of argument that a Tesla is as good a car as an ICE car in the same price range. (Which it isn’t, because you can fuel the ICE car anywhere in a matter of minutes.) The manufacturer of the ICE car sold it at a profit. Tesla’s business model is wildly unsustainable. Tesla would collapse without government subsidies to prop it up.

And I’ll tell you again, as you’ve ignored my strongest point: Most people buy used cars, because they can’t afford $20,000 for a new car. Tesla has no hope of selling cars to most people, even at a loss.

Reply to  Ian Coleman
April 20, 2021 4:59 pm

sorry but you make no sense. Tesla shares are particularly strong at the moment because they are making amazing cars at a profit. I think the last four quarters have been positive and it is only gonna get better. Bring on the Tesla 2 and we have a far cheaper car that will compete with the runarounds.
Grandchild “grandpa is it true you couldn’t fuel the old ICE cars as you slept like we can now? And that you had to take them to a special place to “fill them up?” Wow.”

Reply to  Ian Coleman
April 20, 2021 5:03 pm

And I note your couldn’t name a single ICE car that can buy that will perform like a tesla in the same price bracket.

Gordon A. Dressler
April 19, 2021 7:56 am

From the above article: “Think twice before you park a Tesla in your home garage – if the battery ignites, and firefighters cannot extinguish the blaze, you could lose the house.”

Hmmmm . . . while this is true, I think these two statements, also from the above article might also engender some concern: “. . . the investigation has led them to believe that there was no one driving the car when the crash occurred . . . The victims were said to have been a 59 and 69-year-old man.”

Just what was the person in the driver’s seat doing at the time of the crash? Sleeping???

Just one more example that the Tesla Autopilot has been given a misnomer, and that safe, fully-autonomous passenger car driving is still not ready for prime time.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 19, 2021 9:02 am

The term “autopilot” does not imply total autonomous vehicle control. The term originated in aircraft and aircraft autopilots are never intended to replace the pilot.

…the investigation has led them to believe that there was no one driving the car when the crash occurred…” does this imply the driver seat was empty or just that they suspect the driver fell asleep?

Many new cars offer smart cruise with auto-braking and autonomous lane keeping. I’m sure they are just as susceptible to driver falling asleep as Tesla.

People fall asleep in non-autonomous cars all the time. Once a van ahead of me in morning commute drifted right and crashed obliquely into the overpass bridge barrier, it was obvious he just fell asleep. Fortunately he was only doing about 30 mph. Its possible that drivers might be more likely to fall asleep while using autonomous features but I haven’t seen any studies about that.

But with autonomous cars, you at least have some chance to wake up and recover before loss of control. Don’t know about Tesla, but my car makes a dinging noise if you have lane keeping turned on and your hands come off the wheel for more than 15 seconds or so. Not sure if the wheel itself has tactile sensors or if it just detects force in the steering shaft, but it works pretty well. I’ve never kept my hands off longer to see what happens – maybe the dinging gets progressively louder or maybe the car will be gradually commanded to slow down and stop? I would hope it would slow and stop the car (and turn on hazard flashers while doing that)…

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  menace
April 19, 2021 1:53 pm

menace posted: ” . . . and aircraft autopilots are never intended to replace the pilot.”

Well, perhaps you missed seeing this notice of completely autonomous autopilot demonstration flights—from takeoff through landing—using the new Airbus A350-1000 XWB commercial passenger jet:


According to the article at least 30 fully autonomous test flights were performed for the complete takeoff-to-landing cycle.

Maybe Airbus is just playing in the sandbox, maybe not.

Steve Z
April 19, 2021 9:11 am

Self-driving cars should never be allowed on public roads, period. The computers that control them are too susceptible to elementary errors that even the most inexperienced human drivers easily avoid. While all injuries or deaths in traffic accidents are tragic, human drivers who cause accidents can be held legally responsible. But who is responsible if a pedestrian or bicyclist gets flattened by a robot, or if a law-abiding driver or passenger in another car is killed by a robot that ran a red light or stop sign?

Rud Istvan
April 19, 2021 9:13 am

When LiIon burns, it isn’t mainly the lithium. The anode is a carbon graphite, and the electrolyte is an organic solvent. Both are very flammable. The reason the battery fire cannot be put out is that the stored energy will reignite any breached cell exposed to oxygen. And the heat of combustion of a burning cell guarantees adjacent cells will rupture.

Max More
April 19, 2021 9:54 am

To get a balanced view, put this in perspective: “In 2019, there were around 189,500 highway vehicle fires reported in the United States. This is a slight increase form the previous year, where there were 181,500 highway vehicle fires reported.” Are Telsa fires way outside the expected numbers given the EVs on the road? I don’t know but that’s a question to ask.

Jim M
April 19, 2021 9:56 am

Okay, the two occupants were idiots if no one was in the drivers seat. That is a given.

It is also a given that Tesla has played a role in this. The Tesla autopilot is a ~10K option on their vehicles and has been for years. Except, obviously, it isn’t an autopilot even though they have been promised the feature would be operational in 2018,19,20 and now 21. This is beyond deceptive on the part of Tesla and they should be held accountable.

I have Mercedes Distronic Plus on my vehicle. It steers and brakes as well as alerts to immediate hazards and some cross traffic situations. It also senses hands on the wheel, driver input and will turn on the road hazard flashers and stop the car if does not sense driver input after 15 seconds. It was a $2800 option and many newer vehicles have a similar system. There is nothing autonomous about it and these features are never advertised as such by any manufacturer other than Tesla.

Tombstone Gabby
April 19, 2021 9:58 am

As you go up the periodic table: Potassium – handle with care, Sodium – and water – high school chemistry demonstration – “Crack”. Then comes Lithium – even more active.

Just what the heck do they expect?

April 19, 2021 10:19 am

Saw a trivia question recently …

Q: how do you put on a lithium battery fire in an EV ?
A: you don’t

Pat Frank
April 19, 2021 11:16 am

Lithium fires are quenched only by smothering. A large pile of sand will do it.

Applying water makes the fire hotter and also releases hydrogen gas.

Ed wolfe
April 19, 2021 12:08 pm

First think my son learned as volunteer firefighter
be very careful when attending to an EV crash

April 19, 2021 12:29 pm

Judging by the way political leaders and watchdogs ignored the insurance-paid opioid crisis that started to show up in declining life expectancy numbers overall, it will take a long time for auto safety to wake up.

April 19, 2021 12:36 pm

So autopilot and driver assist should be renamed what? ‘dangerous feature’ or maybe ‘cool sounding death ride’

In China they seem to get quick response from Tesla on changes. The same goes for Apple and others.

Richard Page
Reply to  ResourceGuy
April 20, 2021 8:00 am

Autopilot and driver assist should be renamed ‘assisted suicide’. Perhaps stretches of road could be zoned for this – all you need is a bend, a couple of trees and a bit of a slope into a deep lake – sorted! sarc

April 19, 2021 12:41 pm

I wonder how much crap that fire pumped into the atmosphere as compared to a similar sized gas driven car?

Andrea Vicol
April 19, 2021 1:05 pm

Thomas Sowell wrote about unintended consequences. And I was wondering what horrors we’ll discover about electric cars. I fear this won’t be the only one.

April 19, 2021 1:29 pm

Do we need another federal stimulus to pay for the giant AV sand trucks that dump high volumes of sand on the AV and EV fires. The law will have to be written so no union jobs are lost in the process. Union jobs and salaries could rise as backup operators of the sand trucks. Just don’t get in the way of the AV sand truck as it barrels out to the crash site.

April 19, 2021 2:04 pm

Thanks Eric, good summary. The crash was very close to my house here in The Woodlands. Supposedly, the auto pilot missed the turn and ran into a tree. There were dangerous fumes, and the local Hazmat team was called to the scene.

Here is an article from our local paper that has a lot more pictures: https://montgomerycountypolicereporter.com/tesla-has-instructions-for-firefighters-to-fight-tesla-fires/

Tom Abbott
April 19, 2021 7:57 pm

From the article: “Think twice before you park a Tesla in your home garage”

You’ll just have to let the Tesla burn itself out in the garage, if you leave it in there and it catches fire.

What about a 100-EV pileup on an icy or snowy road? That would be one heck of a fire. We had two such pileups during the cold weather back in February. Fortunatly, none of the vehicles involved were rolling lithium firebombs

Steven F
April 19, 2021 9:29 pm

According to Tesla Autopilot was not on at the time of the accident and the card did not have full self doing. Also Teslasays autopilot would not have turned on since the road had no lain markings, The seatbelt was unbuckled and. Furthermore when autopilot iron the driver must keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times. if the driver takes his hand off the stearingwheel autopilot would stop the car and park on the side of the road.

Richard Page
Reply to  Steven F
April 20, 2021 8:15 am

I didn’t know the seatbelt was unbuckled – another poster suggested that autopilot wouldn’t engage if the seatbelt wasn’t buckled. Also, the system checks if there is weight in the drivers seat but Tesla didn’t say that the autopilot wouldn’t engage if there were no lane markings, just that the autopilot couldn’t navigate turns if there were no lane markings – which seems to be what happened here. If the front passenger kept touching the steering wheel and they had something heavy in the drivers seat (or the rear passenger pushed down on the driving seat) they might have been able to circumvent the safety features. Just goes to show that foolproof doesn’t mean damn fool proof.

April 20, 2021 12:02 am
April 21, 2021 1:50 am

The story has been updated and Tesla (specifically Elon) has stated that car did not have auto-pilot installed so couldn’t have used it. The report about there not being a driver is only based on the fire and police making an assumption on the positions of the two men after the crash. The crash could’ve ejected the driver elsewhere in the car.

April 21, 2021 7:00 am

Question: In the picture above the driver’s side rear tire appears undamaged following the fire. How did the driver’s side rear tire survive the fire?

Steven F
April 21, 2021 4:17 pm

yesterday firefighters said that the care was bonfire when they got there and put it out in a couple of minutes and at that ftime discovered the victums. Also they followed Teslas recommendation for the battery. They occationallycooled the battery with water until it was no longer generating heat.

This story was full of lies or assumptions.

April 21, 2021 9:04 pm

They make stainless steel that can reenter the atmosphere but they can’t add a shield between the batteries and car space to protect people inside?

Reply to  RayB
April 22, 2021 9:32 am

I’m sure they could. What would it cost?

April 22, 2021 5:52 am

I can’t understand why Teslas don’t have to have warnings that they contain litium. LPG powered vehicles need to have warning signs, so Teslas should too.

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