Tesla Car Battery Fires

One of the most appealing things about a Tesla is its battery, which allows the car to travel hundreds of miles without a charge. That strength, though, could also be a liability. In November 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a probe into Tesla’s batteries, citing an “alarming number of car fires that have occurred worldwide.” Yes, Teslas have been going up in smoke. Some of these cars caught fire after a crash, but many were sitting in a garage. Some weren’t even plugged in at the time. For many people, the Tesla battery fires call to mind Samsung phones, e-cigarettes, and other electronic devices that have been known to scorch consumers. Thankfully, as with those other products, Tesla owners do have options if they are injured or suffer property damage because of their car’s battery.

Why Tesla Batteries Catch Fire

From February 2018 to April 2019, Business Insider tallied five Tesla fire-related deaths. Speaking to the outlet, auto fire rescue expert Brock Archer said, “There are only a few reasons why a lithium-ion battery catches on fire. Liquid, dead short, or spontaneous combustion.” Archer noted that spontaneous combustion is incredibly rare, occurring in just one in one billion battery cells. But every Tesla has thousands of cells, and there are hundreds of thousands of Teslas. There is also historical precedent for lithium-ion batteries catching fire in cell phones, laptops, and other devices. Tesla founder Elon Musk thinks the battery problem (among other Tesla issues) has been blown out of proportion by the media. But the litany of Tesla fires seem to suggest otherwise.

A Timeline of Tesla’s Battery Fires

Business Insider says there have been at least 20 Tesla fires since 2013. The Drive has compiled several recent instances where the car in question was parked or stopped, as opposed to being involved in a collision:

  • Feb. 12, 2020: In Cerritos, California, a Tesla charging in a garage caught fire, sending a child to the hospital.
  • June 1, 2019: In Antwerp, Belgium, a Model S caught fire while charging. To douse the flames, firefighters had to drop the car in a tank of water and leave it submerged overnight.
  • May 13, 2019: In Hong Kong, China, a Model S parked in a public garage caught fire. (As a result, Tesla issued an Over-the-Air (OTA) update to the model’s thermal management system.)
  • May 3, 2019: In San Francisco, a Model S parked in a residential garage caught fire, filling the garage with smoke. The car was not plugged in at the time.
  • April 21, 2019: In Shanghai, China, a Model S parked in a public parking garage emitted white smoke before being enveloped in flames that destroyed the Model S and the Audi beside it. The car was not running or plugged in.
  • April 17, 2019: In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a Model X with a history of overheating “suddenly erupted into flames and burned for several hours.”
  • Dec. 21, 2018: In San Francisco, a Model S in a mechanic’s garage burst into flames — twice.
  • June 15, 2018: In Los Angeles, “West Wing” actor Mary McCormack tweeted about her husband’s Model S catching fire “out of the blue, in traffic on Santa Monica Blvd.”

Tesla Battery Fire Lawyers

If you or a loved one suffered injuries, economic losses, or property damage because your Tesla’s battery overheated or caught fire, you could be owed money for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Morgan & Morgan is one of the largest personal injury firms in the world, which means we have the resources to take on powerful corporations like Tesla. Our firm specializes in personal injury cases, especially those involving car crashes and defective products. Over the past 30 years, we’ve recovered $7 billion for our clients. It costs nothing upfront to hire us, and we get paid only if you win a jury award or recover a favorable settlement. To learn more, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.


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