On August 8, a concerning incident unfolded in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, as a Tesla Model S was involved in a collision, resulting in a fiery explosion mere moments after impact. The accident occurred on a viaduct where the Tesla Model S collided with a road pile at a fork. The collision triggered an immediate explosion, followed by a series of subsequent outbreaks.
As recounted by witnesses, the incident was marked by the combustion intensity and the forceful sound of the explosions, which sent debris scattering in the vicinity.
Another eyewitness said that he watched for more than ten minutes nearby. The driver of this Tesla failed to leave the detonated car after the accident. The violent nature of the explosion led to injury for individuals near the accident site, primarily due to the force of the blast and the ensuing high temperatures.
As of now, neither local law enforcement nor representatives from Tesla have issued an official statement regarding the incident, leaving many questions unanswered.
This accident is not an exception
This event is, unfortunately, not an isolated occurrence within China. Reports of Tesla vehicles catching fire have surfaced repeatedly in the country. Just 12 days before this incident, on July 27, another Tesla vehicle, a Model Y, collided with an Audi sedan in Guangdong Province, resulting in a subsequent fire. Throughout this summer alone, there have been multiple instances of Tesla vehicles catching fire in China due to collisions.
It is important to note that Tesla is not the only brand encountering such incidents. In recent weeks, electric vehicles from other manufacturers like Volkswagen and Nio have also been involved in collisions that led to fires, resulting in fatalities of drivers and passengers. Given that China hosts a substantial portion of the world’s electric vehicles, the frequency of fire-related incidents involving EVs in the country is notably higher.
An Analyst’s View
Analysts have highlighted the need for a balanced perspective in response to these events. While it is essential to address and scrutinize safety concerns, it is also crucial to recognize that accidents resulting in fires are not exclusive to electric vehicles. Conventional internal combustion engine vehicles also face fire risks after accidents.
However, a distinct issue arises from the speed at which electric vehicle fires can escalate. Unlike traditional vehicles, which may take some time to catch fire after a collision, electric cars—especially those equipped with NMC batteries—can rapidly succumb to flames within seconds of impact. This swift ignition and subsequent blaze can engulf the entire vehicle, leaving occupants with little to no time for escape.
The urgency of addressing this challenge lies within the broader electric vehicle industry, which necessitates concerted efforts from both technical and industrial sectors to enhance safety measures and minimize risks associated with such incidents. While accidents and fires may remain inherent to the automotive realm, a comprehensive approach to safety and risk mitigation is pivotal to fostering consumer confidence in the ongoing evolution of electric vehicles.