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Tesla Says Garage Fire Not Charger's Fault; Firemen Less Sure

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the was-it-plugged-into-8-extension-cords-at-once? dept.

Transportation 253

cartechboy writes "It looks like Elon Musk and Tesla Motors find themselves in another PR war over the cause of a fire involving a Tesla Model S. Authorities in Irvine, CA are currently investigating the reason for a fire in a garage that, yes, contained a Tesla Model S. While the actual cause of the fire remains unknown, Tesla Motors and the Orange County Fire Authority are already publicly disputing possible causes, thought to center around the Tesla charging system. Tesla says the fire was not caused by any part of the car nor its charging system, reports Reuters. For what its worth — we've seen a version of this movie before. In 2011, investigators determined that a garage fire that destroyed a Chevrolet Volt had started away from the car, later spreading to engulf and destroy the car."

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Musk's Hubris... (4, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45740065)

This is where Musk's Hubris is going to be a problem.

There's no way that he can know for sure what happened in the fire, and he's going to risk having to eat crow -- lots and lots of crow -- if he's proven wrong.

I love the guy, but hubris is clearly among his worst qualities.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740115)

This is where Musk's Hubris is going to be a problem.

There's no way that he can know for sure what happened in the fire, and he's going to risk having to eat crow -- lots and lots of crow -- if he's proven wrong.

I love the guy, but hubris is clearly among his worst qualities.

You're charging it wrong.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#45740461)

This is where Musk's Hubris is going to be a problem.

There's no way that he can know for sure what happened in the fire, and he's going to risk having to eat crow -- lots and lots of crow -- if he's proven wrong.

I love the guy, but hubris is clearly among his worst qualities.

You're charging it wrong.

What I find completely unbelievable in this story is that someone in California actually has their car in a garage.

Your garage is where you keep all the stuff you can't fit into the house.

The street is where you keep your car.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 8 months ago | (#45740539)

Guess which of those locations is more likely to house fires?

That should sum up the potential of whether it's likely the Tesla was faulted or not. Whether that's idle speculation or not at this point, the fact that the county appears ready to speculate with no confirmed facts is actually very concerning.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 8 months ago | (#45740619)

Electric car owners clear a space in the garage, for charging without neighbors stealing their power.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (4, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | about 8 months ago | (#45740119)

More annoying is anything having to do with Tesla is apparently news. Car crashes? Front page news!

Re:Musk's Hubris... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740141)

When it's a fledgling industry who successes or failures could have ramifications for years to come, and who has people actively trying to discredit, because it's success will damage their outdated business model, than yes, it's news.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (0)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 8 months ago | (#45740517)

Or, because any discontinuity in Tesla's success will damage Tesla shareholders, for which there appears to be a large contingent here on /.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#45740389)

Whatever.

If, in 2007, Ford suddenly started having Mustangs catching fire, it would have been front page news to.

Tends to happen with new stuff - anything that happens is considered "news-worthy."

Considering some of the other offal they put on the front page these days, I wouldn't be too butthurt about it.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (2)

jandrese (485) | about 8 months ago | (#45740453)

I guarantee you that at least one modern generation Mustang has been destroyed in a garage fire. Heck, it might have even caused it (there are certainly ways for gasoline engines to catch on fire after they are parked), but it's not really news. You wouldn't have heard about it except maybe on page 37 of section D of the local paper where it goes "home damaged by fire" in the police report section.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 8 months ago | (#45740475)

I guarantee you that at least one modern generation Mustang has been destroyed in a garage fire.

Wow, that's not science.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (2)

jandrese (485) | about 8 months ago | (#45740537)

It's statistics. Garage fires are not uncommon, and Ford has manufactured a lot of Mustangs since 2007. The two are pretty much guaranteed to meet at some point.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#45740685)

It's statistics. Garage fires are not uncommon, and Ford has manufactured a lot of Mustangs since 2007.

Whereas Tesla has only sold about 20,000 Model S'. Since 2012.

Which is why the Model S fires are considered newsworthy, and Mustang fires are not.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#45740659)

I guarantee you that at least one modern generation Mustang has been destroyed in a garage fire.

Sure, but was it one of the first 20,000 units out the door, and less than 2 years old when that happened? Because those are important factors to consider.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

Wookact (2804191) | about 8 months ago | (#45740515)

Date of article: 08/04/2007 http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2007/08/ford_massive_recall.html [consumeraffairs.com]

Ford Motor Co. is recalling as many as 3.6 million cars, truck, and vans because a switch that deactivates the speed control can overheat and catch fire according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency warns in its recall notice that the switch problem can cause a fire under the hood. The latest recall covers 16 brands of cars, sport utility vehicles and trucks from model years 1992 to 2004. The models include the Ford Ranger, Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, Lincoln Town Car, Lincoln Mark VIII, Ford Taurus SHO, Mercury Capri, Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer, Ford Explorer Sport and Explorer Sport Trac, Ford E-150-350, Ford E-450, Ford Bronco, Ford F-150 Lightning, some models of F-Series trucks and Ford F53 Motor Home chassis.

Well sir I expect you to eat some crow. You may proceed immediately.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | about 8 months ago | (#45740597)

So... there was a recall and it was big enough news to be reported on. That is kinda proving his point...

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

Wookact (2804191) | about 8 months ago | (#45740885)

Not really, That is one article, did you see weekly articles about burning fords in 2007. I did not. I see weekly articles about Teslas, and there are way fewer then 3.4 million of them.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#45740709)

Date of article: 08/04/2007

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2007/08/ford_massive_recall.html [consumeraffairs.com]

Ford Motor Co. is recalling as many as 3.6 million cars, truck, and vans because a switch that deactivates the speed control can overheat and catch fire according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The agency warns in its recall notice that the switch problem can cause a fire under the hood.

The latest recall covers 16 brands of cars, sport utility vehicles and trucks from model years 1992 to 2004.

The models include the Ford Ranger, Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, Lincoln Town Car, Lincoln Mark VIII, Ford Taurus SHO, Mercury Capri, Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer, Ford Explorer Sport and Explorer Sport Trac, Ford E-150-350, Ford E-450, Ford Bronco, Ford F-150 Lightning, some models of F-Series trucks and Ford F53 Motor Home chassis.

Well sir I expect you to eat some crow. You may proceed immediately.

Why? That doesn't disprove my contention, you know.

"Might catch fire" != "caught fire"

Re:Musk's Hubris... (2)

Wookact (2804191) | about 8 months ago | (#45740873)

They would not have recalled 3.4 million vehicles if none of them caught fire. Your contention is wrong. Teslas are receiving a disproportionate amount of coverage over this. This may be because they are electric, but claiming the coverage is not disproportionate is silly. We did not see weekly articles concerning every ford fire in 2007 but we get them for the Teslas.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740267)

other than most houses are not wired upto code and people come in hook fancy power draining things like this and the existing wiring is not capable of handling it.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (5, Funny)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#45740281)

Musk's Hubris? Is that some new cologne?

Re:Musk's Hubris... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740421)

That's Hubris eau Musk. Completely different.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 8 months ago | (#45740499)

Musk's Hubris? Is that some new cologne?

Smells like the stench of desperation.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740753)

Along with Musk's Prescience and Musk's Ambition

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45740353)

This is where Musk's Hubris is going to be a problem.

There's no way that he can know for sure what happened in the fire, and he's going to risk having to eat crow -- lots and lots of crow -- if he's proven wrong.

Ah, the car wasn't damaged: From the Link:
 

The incident caused up to $25,000 of damage, though the Model S itself sustained only light smoke damage. Nobody in the house was injured.

So if the car started the fire it must have been playing with matches and went running to its owner when its pile of legos actually caught fire.

Faulty house wiring is the source.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (4, Informative)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 8 months ago | (#45740529)

The fire authority didn't blame the car. Here's the quote from the article:

The Fire Authority, however, released a report stating that the fire occurred "as a result of an electrical failure in the charging system for an electric vehicle".

Fire broke out in the garage on the campus of the University of California-Irvine on November 15. The blaze was noted by the car's owner just before 3 am, and it was promptly extinguished by fire crews.

The incident caused up to $25,000 of damage, though the Model S itself sustained only light smoke damage. Nobody in the house was injured.

While the Fire Authority's report stated the most likely cause was a "high resistance connection at the wall socket or the Universal Mobile Connector from the Tesla charging system", Tesla says its own data shows the car was charging normally, with no fluctuations in the temperature and no malfunctions capable of causing a fire.

Tesla also notes that the car's charging cable was fine where it was connected to the car, and was damaged only on the wall side. This could suggest issues with the building's electrical supply, rather than with the vehicle.

This doesn't completely rule out the charging system. The fire was started between the wall socket and the charger.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (2)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45740669)

The fire was started between the wall socket and the charger.

It says no such thing. You seem to practice selective reading.

This could suggest issues with the building's electrical supply, rather than with the vehicle.

The high resistance connection was most likely inside the wall socket, usually bad connections of the house wiring, or undersized wiring.
This is very typical of aluminum wiring. Although the mainstream press won't report that even if it is discovered to be such.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (3, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45740741)

The conspiracy of the mainstream media to hide the dangers of aluminum wiring from us?

Sounds like the sort of thing I might have in my house that could kill my children... ...tonight at 11.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45740843)

Its killed a lot of children already.
But that isn't why they would hide it, they would hide it because its not sensational and leaves no avenue to envy attacks on people who own tesla cars.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (2)

dugancent (2616577) | about 8 months ago | (#45740883)

Aluminum wire, before it was phased out, was front page news on every newspaper on the country and the first story the nightly news. It was, and is, a well known problem.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740851)

Selective? Try "high resistance connection at the wall socket or the Universal Mobile Connector from the Tesla charging system", I don't recall having a Universal Mobile Connector inside my wall outlet.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 8 months ago | (#45740889)

So you are quoting Musk? Unlike Musk, the fire authority have no vested interest in the product and only want to describe what caused the fire. Musk is only looking at a log file while the fire authority were at the scene.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (4, Interesting)

tippe (1136385) | about 8 months ago | (#45740431)

Yes, I've heard that Musk's hubris is very large (heh, heh, heh), but perhaps he does have a point. According to the article, all the damage was done at the wall connection (not the car connection), and a review of the car logs indicated that charging was proceeding normally at the time the fire started.

I'm going to make an assumption here that the tesla charger was probably safety tested[1] and approved for sale by UL, but what about the installation itself? Maybe California is different than the rest of North America, but most garages aren't natively wired with 240V sockets (quit laughing, you Europeans). So who did the 240V installation? The home owner or a certified electrician? Was it inspected? The article certainly doesn't say. Knowing how previous Tesla fire stories have been pounced on by the media, I'd probably do the same if I were in Elon's shoes and say the problem had nothing to do with the charger, and would change my tune later on if it turned out to be true. It wouldn't be the first time that crappy wiring has caused a house fire, and I don't think it's necessarily wrong for him to point this out.

[1] Not that safety testing means that a unit failure can't happen, but they do check (or should check, if they are doing their jobs right) that the design is robust to various abnormal conditions, and that fail-safes are built into the product to prevent fires or other dangerous conditions in the event of a malfunction. However, all the safety testing on earth won't save you from a shitty installation...

Re:Musk's Hubris... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740835)

Meh, UL is just a baseline safety test done against test units. It doesn't mean it's a robust design or that the particular unit you have is not defective. I have had a UL rated power strip explode and burn a hole in the floor for no reason. A UL rated PC power supply blew up and caught fire in an office I worked at. I had a brand new UL rated drill that burned right in my hand.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#45740433)

This is where Musk's Hubris is going to be a problem.

There's no way that he can know for sure what happened in the fire, and he's going to risk having to eat crow -- lots and lots of crow -- if he's proven wrong.

I love the guy, but hubris is clearly among his worst qualities.

He has the power of the Force.

He just knows things.

Don't let him find your lack of faith disturbing...

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#45740439)

I'm normally one of the first people to bust his balls, but this time around I'll give Elon a little credit: Denying any wrongdoing right out of the gate is SOP with American corporations.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

NovaSupreme (996633) | about 8 months ago | (#45740569)

Agree that there are lots of unknown. However, Musk has not given me a reason in past to believe that he talks out of his rear end.
Between the fire department and Musk proposing conflict theories, I'll take Musk's side.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740747)

Really. You'd trust a businessman who apparently makes cars that readily catch on fire and is in denial over a trained fire investigator. When someone dies of lung cancer, do you trust the cigarette companies, or the pathologist?

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 8 months ago | (#45740879)

Where in the article did it say the car caught on fire? It sustained light smoke damage, and it appears that the fire happened at the wall, not at the Tesla side of things, indicating faulty house wiring to be highly likely. Also, take your FUD somewhere else, you shill. Gasoline cars have a worse record [torquenews.com] for fires per miles driven.

He cited figures from the National Fire Protection Association that 150,000 gasoline car fires occur per year. With 3 trillion miles driven per year, that works out to 1 vehicle fire for every 20 million miles driven. The record for the Tesla Model S so far is 1 vehicle fire per 100 million miles driven. This means gasoline car drivers are at five times greater risk to car fires than are Model S drivers.

Re:Musk's Hubris... (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 8 months ago | (#45740795)

As will I, since he has logs in-hand that demonstrate that the charger was working normally. A poorly wired outlet is a much more likely culprit.

When a smart person believes something because it's supported by the data, a less-informed bystander might mistake their competence for arrogance or hubris.

yes but it's good strategy (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 8 months ago | (#45740739)

It's a win-win strategy.

1. Deny it all before the crazies run amok with unchallenged media coverage of the fire.
2. If wrong, eh, it happens. Apologize, deliver an update, and good will. No one will hate him for it. Just business as usual.
3. If he's right, or it's ambiguous as to what happened, he wins.

Oily rags (1)

neo-mkrey (948389) | about 8 months ago | (#45740081)

My educated guess is oily or gas soaked rags that were not disposed of or stored properly.

Re:Oily rags (2)

D1G1T (1136467) | about 8 months ago | (#45740151)

While this is usually the cause of garage fires, I'll bet it is less likely in garages that store vehicles that use neither oil nor gasoline.

Re:Oily rags (1)

Anrego (830717) | about 8 months ago | (#45740197)

Well, assuming they don't have other gas powered equipment (lawn mower, snow blower, etc).

Actually I imagine those probably result in more minor gas/oil spills and oil/gas soaked rags than a car.

Re:Oily rags (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#45740377)

Teslas don't use oil? I didn't know that, I assume there had to be at least a little metal on metal somewhere on the drive train.

Re:Oily rags (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about 8 months ago | (#45740441)

Is the oil used in cars usually involved in those kinds of fires? I thought those were usually more caused by things like linseed oil: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linseed_oil#Spontaneous_combustion [wikipedia.org]

Never heard of anyone using linseed oil in their crank case.

Normally improper disposal of motor oil may make a fire situation worst, but doesn't, as far as I know, tend to cause them. Whereas, improper disposal of rags soaked in linseed oil (normally used in paints) has been the primary cause of a few fires.

Re:Oily rags (5, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 8 months ago | (#45740169)

I always keep my linseed oil soaked rags piled up together in a nice dry place covered in sawdust.

Re:Oily rags (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#45740245)

A point the OP failed to grasp. The only oils that spontaneously burst into flame are natural oils that decompose. Motor oils certainly wont. The majority of first are caused by either space heaters or older electrical wiring with too high of a fuse/breaker on it. Who installed this guys charger? Himself? I can't imagine finding a breaker big enough for that charger is easy.

Re:Oily rags (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 8 months ago | (#45740543)

Remember to keep that 50' 18 gauge extension cord running, that you're using to charge your new Tesla, under it. It helps keep the garage smelling nice. :)

 

Re:Oily rags (3, Informative)

weilawei (897823) | about 8 months ago | (#45740173)

Not a bad guess (still, I'll wait for the official report) in a garage, since most people don't seem to realize that an oily rag will if left for a few hours. You can try it yourself. [youtube.com]

Re:Oily rags (4, Informative)

weilawei (897823) | about 8 months ago | (#45740195)

Whoops, butchered that comment. Meant to say an oily rag will spontaneously ignite [youtube.com] if left for a few hours. You can try it yourself.

Re:Oily rags (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45740493)

Whoops, butchered that comment. Meant to say an oily rag will spontaneously ignite [youtube.com] if left for a few hours. You can try it yourself.

Not likely if its just motor oil.

You have to watch the video you posted almost half way through before he reveals its Rosewood Oil, a natural oil used for furniture finishing.

Further, the pile has been manipulated during the video, the most obvious time is just before he says "About a half hour later".

Be that as it may, there was no oily rags involved in this garage fire. A faulty outlet, with cardboard boxes stacked nearby.

Re:Oily rags (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 8 months ago | (#45740627)

I really hate how my sister insists on keeping the wrapping paper, cardboard puzzles, and stock of TP directly over her clothes dryer.

Re:Oily rags (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | about 8 months ago | (#45740713)

An oily rag, left outside, in the sun, on hot asphalt.

Garage conditions are usually the exact opposite.

Re:Oily rags (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740225)

Blame anything but what we know was there... sign of a raving fanboy.

Re:Oily rags (1)

swb (14022) | about 8 months ago | (#45740241)

I always burn any rags that I get soaked with oil or gasoline immediately. I keep a large metal can for this purpose. Take it out in the driveway well away from any structure and let them burn.

You are right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740405)

My educated guess is oily or gas soaked rags that were not disposed of or stored properly.

You could very well be right. After all, the Orange county fire investigators probably never have seen a garage fire before and being amateurs, just blamed the new fangled ee-leck-trick car thingy.

On the other hand (3, Insightful)

suso (153703) | about 8 months ago | (#45740087)

Garage fires aren't a very common topic on Slashdot.

Re:On the other hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740215)

Garage fires aren't a very common topic on Slashdot.

I need a car analogy

Re:On the other hand (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740337)

Car Garage fires aren't a very common topic on Slashdot.

I need a car analogy

Oh sorry, there fixed that up for you....

yup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740093)

cool

Probably faulty Wiring. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740149)

Am going to guess it was faulting wire of the building that caused the fire. Not Tesla fault but the electrician or possible old wiring.

Or someone realized they couldn't make their car payments.

New tech -- of course that's the cause! (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 8 months ago | (#45740155)

Ah, the old "Hey, I don't know what this is, so it must be the cause of the fire" argument.

Of course fire investigators will point to a piece of new technology as the cause of the fire. It's easy and they are lazy. Just like videogames are the cause of all school shootings.

And before that, it was cell phones causing brain cancer,
And before that it was rock and roll music causing children to misbehave.

Re:New tech -- of course that's the cause! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740255)

What part of 'possible' do you not understand?

Are you sure the Tesla didn't cause the fire? If not that what the fuck is your point?

Re:New tech -- of course that's the cause! (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45740513)

The tesla wasn't damaged.

Re:New tech -- of course that's the cause! (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45740825)

If I plug my iron into the wall, and then the wall socket shorts out and causes a fire in the wall, the iron might still be to blame.

Sure, it's more likely the wiring, but you can't rule out the iron.

...even if the iron isn't damaged in the wall fire.

Re:New tech -- of course that's the cause! (1)

PIBM (588930) | about 8 months ago | (#45740865)

If there had been no tesla, would there have been a fire ? The Tesla might have caused the failed electrical installation to burn by taking more current than it was able to provide for a longer time than anything else in that garage, if it wasn't wired correctly.. So yeah, the Tesla showed the failure point, but I wouldn't beat tesla for it :)

Re:New tech -- of course that's the cause! (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#45740417)

Of course fire investigators will point to a piece of new technology as the cause of the fire. It's easy and they are lazy. Just like videogames are the cause of all school shootings.

And before that, it was cell phones causing brain cancer,
And before that it was rock and roll music causing children to misbehave.

How, considering the complete lack of evidence at this point, is that any different than Musk claiming that it had to have been anything but his products?

The correct answer, BTW, is that it's not different at all.

Sometimes its the wiring not the device ... (4, Funny)

perpenso (1613749) | about 8 months ago | (#45740157)

Even if it is the charger it may be the wiring not the device itself. A friend had an attic fire that was caused by a hallway smoke detector (AC powered) of all things. The fire investigator determined the smoke detector was wired incorrectly.

Re:Sometimes its the wiring not the device ... (2)

Carnivore (103106) | about 8 months ago | (#45740485)

It may be terminology missing; In actual fact all the charging equipment is onboard the car, but the fire officials may be referring the the exterior power cable as "the charger" especially if it's Tesla's High Power Wall Connector. The abbreviation for that, HPWC, could reasonably be assumed to mean High Power Wall Charger.

clickbait headline (5, Informative)

Chalex (71702) | about 8 months ago | (#45740211)

"garage fire started by improperly installed electrical outlet" just doesn't get you as many clicks.

The garage fire was Nov 15, the Tesla S did not sustain any damage. The damage was all on the wall socket side.

Re:clickbait headline (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740375)

This reminds me of what Jesus said to the Indians when he came to America.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Behold, do men light a a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house.

Gas vs Electric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740423)

While filling up your car with gasoline you *can* just let it fill and walk away to do something else. Most people I see hang around or go sit in their car. If something maybe might go wrong there's plenty of people and support to see it, report it and deal with it.

With an electric car, well there's a bunch of power transfer going on which takes a long time and no one is going to sit around watching and waiting. Extra stress to your house's electrical system,s no one around to keep an eye on it because it's not practical, what could go wrong?

Re:Gas vs Electric (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740489)

While filling up your car with gasoline you *can* just let it fill and walk away to do something else. Most people I see hang around or go sit in their car.

Do not get in your car while fueling. It's a great way to generate a static shock and unlike cell phones, really does start fires.

Re:Gas vs Electric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740491)

While filling up your car with gasoline you *can* just let it fill and walk away to do something else. Most people I see hang around or go sit in their car. If something maybe might go wrong there's plenty of people and support to see it, report it and deal with it.

With an electric car, well there's a bunch of power transfer going on which takes a long time and no one is going to sit around watching and waiting. Extra stress to your house's electrical system,s no one around to keep an eye on it because it's not practical, what could go wrong?

No kidding. Next thing you know, those electrons will be spilling out all over the pavement.

Re:Gas vs Electric (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740527)

Personally I never let electricity be used unless it is under my direct supervision. Whenever I run the A/C, I go outside and watch the compressor unit until it has cooled the house down. Likewise, whenever I need hot water I go out in the garage, manually turn the water heater on, and wait until the water is completely heated. I throw the main breaker and remove the power meter from the side of the house every time before going to work, the store, etc.

You just can't be too safe nowadays.

Re:Gas vs Electric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740733)

Whenever I run the A/C, I go outside and watch

You're SPYING on me???

Confirmation Bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740307)

Cars that contain tanks full of highly flammable liquid fuel with explosive vapors catch on fire all the fucking time and nobody blinks an eye.

Ever instance of a brush fire near an EV and suddenly it's national news.

As the old expression goes... (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 8 months ago | (#45740323)

Where there's smoke there's (Tesla) fires.

The linked article is crap, anyone got the report? (2)

weilawei (897823) | about 8 months ago | (#45740327)

"The fire occurred as a result of an electrical failure in the charging system for an electric vehicle," said a report by the fire authority, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

The report also emphasizes that the cause of the fire is unclear.

Re:The linked article is crap, anyone got the repo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740437)

My car my car my car is on fire,
My car my car my car is on fire,
We don't need no water let the motherfucker burn,
Burn motherfucker, burn.

uh thtats suposed to b news ? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740331)

No. Them (Tesla company) stating/admitting that the fire COULD have been caused by the Battery Charger would have been actual news.

Them blanket declaring it wasnt is standard Lawyers/Management Told Us To stuff.

I talked to a fireman years ago about these issues with electric cars and he said they all were worried about various aspects they would have to deal with when they became more common - electric shock potential, energy density (the stuff is like an explosive), new toxic chemicals in large amounts, etc..

Not to worry Im sure insurance companies will love putting up their rates for these vehicles as their problems become more commonly understood (yet another thing the advocates wont be telling you).

Re:uh thtats suposed to b news ? (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 8 months ago | (#45740595)

The energy density [xtronics.com] of gasoline is higher. Additionally, though it's gasoline vapor that burns, any process producing a large volume of gas in a confined space can be considered explosive. The electric shock potential and dealing with lithium specifically seem to be more relevant concerns.

Re:uh thtats suposed to b news ? (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 8 months ago | (#45740609)

I should say "potentially explosive" because it's not actually exploding until the confinement ruptures--explosively.

Bad Wall Sockets, Wiring & Circuit Breakers (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 8 months ago | (#45740435)

These cause more fires than anything elseExcept gasoline powered vehicles.

Several hundred thousand car fires occur per year, but they don't make the news.

Damage on the wall side (4, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 8 months ago | (#45740503)

If the cable was damaged at the wall side but not the car side, my immediate thought is a problem in the wall socket or wiring. I've run into that with regular outlets, old hardware causes high resistance and a very hot outlet and plug (thermal conduction through the metal parts). The most common cause is age causing corrosion of the connection plates inside the socket or looseness of the plates so the prongs of the plug don't make good tight contact with them. Either way it raises the resistance of the connection inside the socket and creates a lot of heat (it's doing exactly what the heating elements on an electric stove do). My fix is to open up the outlet and replace the socket with a new one, cleaning up and tightening the wires in the process.

The #2 problem is the actual in-wall wiring being old and just not up to gauge for the current draw of modern electronics. In 1970 we didn't have home computers and Xboxes and the like, 14-gauge wiring was common and hooking up a modern home-entertainment center and computer would have the wiring in the wall hot to the touch. Plug a Tesla into older wiring like that and you've got a fire waiting to happen.

Re:Damage on the wall side (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 8 months ago | (#45740563)

Circuit breakers on 14 AWG are supposed to throw at 15A. 12AWG for 20A, 10AWG for 30A. Drawing 15A continuously over 14AWG is fine.

Re:Damage on the wall side (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 8 months ago | (#45740751)

That's in open air [powerstream.com] , where each strand of conductor has proper cooling. Wiring for power transmission, you only want to shove around 5.9A through 14AWG. For 15A, you'd want at least 10AWG and more likely 9AWG to give you a safety factor. Yes, this is by rule of thumb, and doesn't take into account the length (increasing length increases resistance) , type of insulation, etc., but do you really want to take the cheapest possible approach when it can potentially burn your house down?

The Maximum Amps for Power Transmission uses the 700 circular mils per amp rule, which is very very conservative. The Maximum Amps for Chassis Wiring is also a conservative rating, but is meant for wiring in air, and not in a bundle.

Re:Damage on the wall side (1)

AndyMoney (621470) | about 8 months ago | (#45740759)

Circuit breakers on 14 AWG are supposed to throw at 15A. 12AWG for 20A, 10AWG for 30A. Drawing 15A continuously over 14AWG is fine.

12AWG is not always connected to a 15 amp breaker, however. In my house, some idiot used 14AWG wiring for several "20 amp" circuits. The breaker happily allowed 20 amps of current in those 14AWG wires, which could have been a big problem. I promptly swapped those with 15amp breakers until I get around to rewiring...

Re:Damage on the wall side (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740819)

Wrong! The NEC states the maximum continuous amp draw is 80% of the circuit breaker rating. For 15A you must derate to 12 amps.

Re:Damage on the wall side (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 8 months ago | (#45740665)

Our house was built in the 1940's, and we'll have to make a decision, refit everything plumbing and electrical, tearing open every wall; of tear the whole thing down and start fresh.

It'll probably depend more on the legal bullshit (remodel permit vs. new building...)

Fireproof the garage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740519)

Just in case, garages can be made fireproof. Encase the garage interior by screwing on 'Durock' type cement board to the walls. A decent DYI project. Tape the seams with special tape and a cement paste, just like is done with wooden chimney chases. Cars, electric and gas, have ignited in the garage then the house goes. A sizable extra expense, worth the peace of mind.

Re:Fireproof the garage (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 8 months ago | (#45740807)

This doesn't make them fireproof, it makes them fire resistant, due to the high water content contained. This is the same concept as a "fireproof" safe, which is really only fire resistant. Once that water's gone, the temperature spikes rapidly by thermal conduction, even if the fire-resisting material itself doesn't burn directly.

Just like an IPhone (2)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about 8 months ago | (#45740561)

This is why you don't use an aftermarket charger!

Just some advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740635)

Better not bring a Tesla along when you retire on Mars, you ridiculous buffoon. Oh wait, there's no air on Mars to feed a fire anyways. Hm.

"Firemen less sure" (1)

moronikos (595352) | about 8 months ago | (#45740799)

Down in Texas, they put a man to death (Cameron Todd Willingham) because they were sure he committed arson and killed his kids. Forensic scientists later showed the fire marshal to be wrong using....science. I'd rather trust scientists to tell me what happened than some firefighter that just lasted on the job long enough to be the investigator or kissed enough butt.

Re:"Firemen less sure" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45740829)

Because the scientists have never been wrong, right? What an ass you are.

Tesla is fighting a war (4, Interesting)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 8 months ago | (#45740831)

A war over public opinion. I don't know why the struggling U.S. automakers have not embraced electric vehicles. They will make a "zombie" truck [motorauthority.com] which everyone thinks is funny, but nobody actually wants. But tend to be disposed to doing everything in their power to resist that which is (probably) better for the environment and more efficient for a good portion of the population commuting just a few miles every day. Did they learn nothing from the Nissan Leaf sales?

Bring on TeslaGate! (1)

SirSpammenot (1075889) | about 8 months ago | (#45740869)

Thank Goodness Tesla is distracting Fox News. We Volt owners thought their nonsense barrage would never let up. At least Tesla has Musk to fire back pithy retorts.
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