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  • More on Tesla Fires

    Posted on March 14th, 2021 admin No comments

    A few days ago I reported on my perception of anti-Tesla bias at driving.ca. Many of the stories there focused on fires in Tesla vehicles, such as this one, where the story notes a NIO going up in flames, but shows only the Tesla video, while the headline singles out Tesla. As I said, clear bias.

    Nobody denies the fact that Tesla vehicles occasionally catch fire. But the biased reportage makes it seem that more Teslas catch fire than any other vehicle. To sidestep the bias and over-reporting of Tesla fires, let’s look at some data about other vehicles.

    Yes, it’s on fire. No, it’s not a Tesla

    Causes of Vehicle Fires

    There are three likely causes of a vehicle fire: collision, arson, and mechanical/electrical malfunction. According to a law firm concerned with the issue, nearly 75 percent of all vehicle fires result from a mechanical or electrical glitch; roughly 17 percent are due to collisions; the remaining 8 percent are arson, and will be ignored as the vehicle cannot be considered “at fault” in such cases.

    First, some facts from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for fires including arson:

    • Each year, from 2014 to 2016, an estimated 171,500 highway vehicle fires occurred in the United States.
    • A vast majority—more than 142,000—were fires involving passenger vehicles
    • Approximately one in eight fires responded to by fire departments across the nation is a highway vehicle fire. This does not include the tens of thousands of fire department responses to highway vehicle accident sites (my emphasis; these are not fires due to collisions)
    • Mechanical failure was the leading factor contributing to the ignition of highway vehicle fires (45 percent).

    Spontaneous Combustion

    There are also lots of cases of “spontaneous combustion” where a vehicle is sitting at a driveway or curb and bursts into flame.

    Recalls for Risk of Fire

    Likewise, there are many recalls of other vehicles for possible fire danger. Over the years, many brands have faced such recalls.

    And on, and on, and on….

    Why Only Tesla?

    With most major brands bursting into flames from time to time, why is it that only the Tesla fires go viral? While electric vehicles are no more prone to accidents or fires than gasoline-powered carsーand might be less so, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration–EVs, and especially Tesla, seem to get attention far in excess of their share of the vehicle market.

    There are several possible reasons why Tesla gets negative media coverage

    1. The tall daisy – Tesla is very much in the news, to the point where thy don’t need to advertise. This makes them a prime target.
    2. Information vacuum – ” The Tesla investment narrative is starved for meaningful plot points,” as an Insider article put it. Tesla does not release much information on sales figures and profitability, leaving them vulnerable to speculation and rumour.
    3. Misinformation spread by short sellers – As the most-shorted stock in history, Tesla is subject to a deliberate smear campaign intended to drive share prices down. Many negative headlines have been traced to “leaks” by short sellers. It didn’t work; when the squeeze hit, shorters lost some $40 billion. Tough luck, guys.
    4. Misinformation spread by legacy car makers – This was more common early on, when the internal-combustion-engine (ICE) car manufacturers thought EV was a passing fad. Now they’re all trying to find the “Tesla killer” that will give them a larger share of a growing market. But if they think they can increase their share by pissing on Tesla… they will.
    5. Misinformation spread by oil and gas industry stakeholders – I see this often in social media and some blogs, where it is claimed that the energy/resources required to make an EV is far more than for any other vehicle, and that the production of EVs and batteries causes far more pollution than an ICE vehicle. It’s all nonsense and garbage, but there are people who believe it.
    6. Luddites and coal-rollers – some people just resist future trends, and cling to the past. The good old days were always better, even if they weren’t. So they gleefully share anti-Tesla and anti-EV stories and misinformation whenever they can.

    Despite all the nay-sayers, pissers, shorters, bears, and nostalgics, Tesla continues to improve its quality, sales remain high, and bankruptcy keeps being staved off.

    “Rolling coal” — a proud polluter and anti-EV activist
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