Are Tesla Electric Cars Actually Safe?

It's no secret that electric cars are potentially at risk of catching fire. There have been many reports over the years of such incidents taking place. Of course, thanks to being filled with flammable liquid, and having a boat load of electrics themselves, normal combustable engine cars are not immune from catching fire either. It's a regular occurrence.

tesla-car-at-charging_point


No vehicle is 100% safe, regardless of what power source it has. But for a car brand that claims to have the "safest cars in the world", with such low numbers of Tesla cars on the road in comparison to normal cars, and with the manner in which Tesla cars seem to be catching fire, sudden and mostly unpredictable, this is very concerning. And very dangerous.

Seems like if a Tesla does catch fire, its not long before the car is turned into a fireball. There are some serious safety issues and design flaws with the batteries and other aspects of Tesla cars that really need to be addressed before more lives are lost.

Self Driving



In the past year in America alone, there have been 273 known crashes involving self driving Tesla cars. If you want to read some figures, take a look at some of the known Tesla Fire records and a record of some known Tesla accidents resulting in death [fault and not at fault].

Door Handles



The door handles of a Tesla retract into the body of the door when the car is in operation. In the event of an emergency, such as an accident, these handles are meant to pop out automatically, but there have been cases where that did not happen. Needless to say, if such an error occurs, fleeing the vehicle is made much harder, and anyone attempting to rescue people from the car from the outside can not do so in an effective amount of time.


There was one such case where this exact situation happened to named Omar Awan, a doctor who lived in the USA. He was killed in the crash. Basically burned to death. It was discovered that he had been driving under the influence of alcohol, and many people found it hard to sympathise once this was revealed. No one likes a driver who's putting innocent lives at risk.



However, this doesn't remove the serious issue of the door handles not operating as they should in an emergency. If they did Omar Awan may have been saved. There were bystanders [conflicting reports of either bystanders or fire men] outside the car who tried to open the doors from the outside, but were apparently unable to find the handles which had not popped out.

Tesla said it themselves. The handles won't operate if the power is suddenly cut in the vehicle. This means if there is a total loss of power nothing works anymore as the vehicle is entirely electric. This is a huge design flaw and extremely dangerous in the event of an emergency situation.

Laminated / hard to break windows



In the same crash the bystanders also tried to break the windows, but could not do so because the windows are laminated and could not be broken. Sometimes even normal window glass can be hard to break, so laminated glass being fitted in such a potentially volatile environment, where everything is dependant on electric, and if that electric fails , or even worse catches fire, the occupants of that vehicle are sitting on top of Lithium batteries that burn at up to 2,000 degrees Celsius/3632 degrees Fahrenheit.



It doesn't seem like a good idea to fit disappearing door handles that may not pop out and toughened window glass into such a vehicle. I know that the doors can be released manually from inside the car, but for some models the door release lever is fairly well hidden and easily forgotten. And for the back seat passengers the location for the manual door release on most Telsa models would be extremely difficult to locate as its so well hidden.

There is little to no chance that someone would just happen to find it in an emergency if a person has not been told exactly where it was beforehand. Or had not spent time reading the relevant pages of the manual for that specific vehicle model. It gets worse. One model seems to not even have manual back door levers. Tesla's model 3 ERG states that there is no mechanical release for the rear doors.

Going back to the front seat occupants. What if the person inside the vehicle forgets the location, is unconscious, trapped / stuck, or in a state of extreme panic. What options does this leave a potential rescuer who can't open a door or smash a window. Given how fast these cars are swallowed by flames once a fire has started, seconds are vital.

Another incident that springs to mind, where luckily no one was seriously injured or worse. A man was driving his Tesla in Vancouver when it suddenly lost all power and caught fire, trapping the occupant inside. All the doors were locked on the vehicle and the car was filling up with smoke. He literally had to kick the laminated window out. You can watch the video here [embedding not allowed]. Imagine the panic of getting trapped like that, and just think if this was an elderly or disabled person, a woman with kids in the back, or a man who didn't have the strength to kick the window out. This could have easily been another fatality.

Two comments on that video which I think should be quoted:

"If you crash in an EV, the count down for being burnt to death starts right away. You might not even notice it since the fire doesn't come from the engine room in the front like traditional vehicles. Just get out first if you crash. I personally won't buy EVs as long as they're carrying the lithium ion flame buster underneath."
"Wow, this is the most greenest car tech I ever saw for 2035 and beyond, The best way to increase the CO2 emissions along with lithium and other toxic hazardous waste to the environment, it also becomes an excellent death trap for any occupants inside and can act as a rolling coffin for the bonus of autopilot. There´s a real lesson for this, Better to stay with a proven technology of gas/diesel powered cars than sorry tech of electric vehicles, these are rolling failures for sure."

Overall this paints a scary picture. If I owned a Tesla, I would never buy one, but if I did, I certainly wouldn't be driving a Tesla with the window(s) fully up most of the time just incase the worst should happen and a sharp exit is needed.

After reading the data and seeing how many issues can arise that can be life threatening, one of those being how at least one of the lithium batteries can end up damaged from something as simple as driving over a speed bump a bit too quickly. Oh, but the driver shouldn't be speeding or driving fast over speed bumps I hear you say. Well, they might not have been intentionally.

You see, speeding may not be the fault of the driver at all due to the potential for sudden unintended acceleration with Tesla cars [there are many reports of this], and, if this happens going over a speed bump or hitting a pot hole, it may lead to the battery becoming damaged and catching fire.

This one issue doesn't even scratch the surface to be honest. The overall safety of Tesla cars is just too controversial. Lots of data appears to have gone unrecorded / unreported, and there are also suspicions of coverups and bogus claims. But from what is reported, there are too many cars malfunctioning, catching fire and, more worryingly, way too many deaths associated with Tesla cars.

Take a look at this interesting report: Tesla driver fatality rate is more than triple that of other luxury cars. They are not worth all the hassle, and really should not have been available for sale to the public for at least another decade. Or, at least until many of the dangers have been addressed and eliminated. Also, the repair costs and insurance premiums are ridiculously high for a Tesla, and for full electric cars in general.

Furthermore, if an electric car does catch fire it takes much more water to put the fire out [4,500 - 8000 gallons] due to the high voltage lithium-ion batteries, which can stay extremely hot for a long period of time once they go into thermal runaway [out-of-control self-heating]. Compare that to under or around 1,000 gallons, which is what the average petrol powered car takes to extinguish. Kind of ironic given that Tesla's biggest market in America is California, where there is an apparent water shortage.

In my opinion, Tesla cars appear to have many similarities and characteristics to that of a bunch of prototype cars that shouldn't be anywhere near the public at this stage of their design. Sadly, many people have died as a result of fast tracking these prototypes to the market place when they clearly weren't and still aren't ready.

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