This past weekend, a Russian man named Alexey Tretyakov and his two children collided with a parked tow truck while driving down a highway in Moscow. Luckily, no lives were lost—Tretyakov reportedly is suffering from a broken leg—but the car wasn’t so lucky. Not long after the collision, Tretyakov’s Model 3 exploded. Twice.
Teslarati reports that the driver “was using a ‘driver-assist’ feature and a ‘trimmed’ version of Autopilot,” so this likely limited the Model 3 semi-autonomous abilities to lane-keeping and little else. While there have been several fires involving Tesla vehicles, this is the first reported fire involving the latest Model 3.
Putting out a fire being fueled by a punctured lithium-ion battery can be tricky business. Most fire departments use chemical suppressants instead of water to tackle unruly blazes. But in an EV battery fire, water is your best bet by deluging the battery directly with a constant stream until the fire goes out. Then, firefighters are instructed to survey the battery with an imaging camera to make sure its sufficiently cooled.
Tesla partnered with Cal Fire and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) to produce a video in April this year that details the necessary steps to effectively battle an EV fire.
While Tesla fires and other EV fires often grab headlines, they’re relatively rare compared to the amount of miles Teslas drive on a daily basis. While Tesla hasn’t issued a statement regarding the recent fire, the NFPA and the U.S Department of Transportation maintain that one fire occurs for every 19 million miles traveled, which Tesla cited in its latest safety report.
If anything, this accident should serve as a reminder that no amount of self-driving abilities replaces an alert driver behind the wheel—and it helps keep your ride from turning into a charred husk.
Source: Popular Mechanics