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Electronics & Test

Road Debris Causes Another Tesla Model S Battery Fire

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Toaster
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Silver
Simple fix?
Toaster   11/12/2013 8:32:43 AM
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Sounds to me like a simple skidplate is in order. Could be made from Aluminum as in my Suburban. I have been driving for around 40 years, and the only (damaging) thing I ever hit was a piece of metal that punctured a plastic fuel tank in a Dodge. Skidplate solved that issue too.

Toaster
User Rank
Silver
Re: Uncommon Trend?
Toaster   11/12/2013 8:42:20 AM
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I agree that a simple mechanical fix would reduce the risk, However, since this is a new technology, people are afraid. (People were afraid of the automobile at first too) There wil be calls for automatic fire supression systems in the batteries.... Just wait....

dmorgan
User Rank
Iron
Tesla to blame?
dmorgan   11/12/2013 9:02:15 AM
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How many gazillion Ford Pinto's were still on the road after it was determined that in a rear crash, it would explode?Maybe the driver's need to watch where they're going. I travel quite a bit and see junk on the road. Amazingly, my crew cab Silverado 4x4 has been able to avoid almost all of it. Tesla can"t/shouldn"t be held accountable for every incident. Reminds me of Edison electrocuting elephants to "prove" the danger of AC voltage.

Battar
User Rank
Platinum
Road scrap
Battar   11/12/2013 9:04:28 AM
Seems to be the problem is not so much with the car as with all those bits of scrap metal the good citizens of the US leave scattered on the roadway. I wouldn't rate the chances of my Nissan Note coming through unscathed if I hit a lump of iron on the asphalt, either.

ck_02
User Rank
Iron
Re: a trend developing
ck_02   11/12/2013 9:06:30 AM
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@naperlou, I wish to point out that there were only two incidents of this type, rather than three. The incident in Mexico involved a tree and a concrete wall. In my experience, that spells disaster for any vehicle. Cars just aren't meant to go through them. :) I'd have to say that I do agree with your point regarding the standards following rather than leading though.

RogueMoon
User Rank
Gold
trend starting, but careful with conclusions
RogueMoon   11/12/2013 9:34:04 AM
TJ, its an interesting data point about annual automobile fires in the US, but you have to be careful with comparing small population datasets (Tesla S vehicles on the road) to large population datasets (all ICE vehicles in the US).  Trends in small sets tend to look larger than they actually are.  Two events in a month is the start of a trend but hardly worth sounding the alarm that a defective design exists.

The issue is not so much that the occurrence of road debris leading to punctures, but the consequence of this event being so extreme.  Given the low position of the batteries and the nature of high-energy density storage, the consequence is very hard to mitigate.  Best approach is to increase the puncture resistance which is likely what Tesla is doing right now.  Fewer trailer hitch balls in the road is another good plan for mitigating automobile damage.  My truck doesn't appreciate them much either?

fdiaconu
User Rank
Iron
Re: Simple fix
fdiaconu   11/12/2013 9:36:38 AM
Tesla designers may also consider a light plastic/fiber shield underneath the metal battery cage to absorb the impact ... something like a Kevlar bullet proof vest for the car.

GTOlover
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Road scrap
GTOlover   11/12/2013 9:42:19 AM
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Yes Battar, have you ever followed a dump truck or trailer full of scrap metal or construction trash? How about the yokles driving down the road with a matress strapped to the top of the minivan or worse compact car? I have even seen vehicles driving down the turnpike with the muffler dragging!

So to highlight the Tesla as an issue is missing the question of why is there a hitch in the road? And as others have mentioned, isn't the Tesla a great handling car? Could the driver not brake or maneuver around this (perhaps not)?

GTOlover
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Uncommon Trend?
GTOlover   11/12/2013 9:45:25 AM
Allen, do you mean something like the cow catcher on old steam locomotives? Not sure if that fits with the Tesla design, but it would be cool to see people move when you come up behind them!

LetoAtreidesII
User Rank
Platinum
Stats area funny thing
LetoAtreidesII   11/12/2013 9:50:32 AM
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First with any new design the safety standards and requirements always are lacking and often are driven by were failures occur when the rubber meets the road.

Ex. Jeep rollovers, Engines in the rear and front crash hazards, many many others.


This said the question is is :

1.with the existing Tesla design is the damage caused by road debris like this equivelent

2. Is their a way to mitigate the risk

on count #1 yes a stard ICE vechile going over the same pieces of metal would be far less damaged on average.  It would not be pretty and the car would be damaged but it would not meltdown.

on Count #2 yes, a stronger better protected battery would help reduce not eliminate these type of failures.

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